BBC director general to meet MPs over Savile next week

 

Harriet Harman: "What has deepened the revulsion is that this happened at the BBC"

BBC director general George Entwistle has offered to appear before MPs next week over the Sir Jimmy Savile scandal.

Mr Entwistle's decision to bring forward his appearance surfaced as MPs criticised the BBC.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said the Savile abuse claims "cast a stain" on the corporation, but Culture Secretary Maria Miller dismissed calls for an independent inquiry.

Police believe Savile may have sexually abused 60 people since 1959.

Mr Entwistle had been due to appear in front of MPs later this year, but he offered to bring it forward to 23 October, said culture committee chairman John Whittingdale.

Mr Whittingdale said he was "sure" MPs would take Mr Entwistle up on his offer.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman told MPs that Savile's "exalted" status within the corporation allowed him to act with impunity.

She said: "Everyone has been sickened by the vile abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile. It's impossible to overstate the suffering he caused to those he abused.

"What has deepened the revulsion is that this happened at the BBC, an institution so loved and trusted it is known as Auntie. This has cast a stain on the BBC."

Mrs Miller told the Commons she was satisfied the corporation was taking the allegations "very seriously," saying the BBC had launched three reviews.

"The first will look particularly at the allegations with regard to the item on Savile which was inappropriately pulled from Newsnight," she said.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport later clarified that Ms Miller had misread her statement and meant the inquiry would look into allegations the Savile investigation was inappropriately pulled.

Mrs Miller added that the BBC's second review - undertaken when the police advised it was appropriate to do so - would focus on Savile himself.

"And although the BBC's child protection policy was overhauled in 2002, the review will also focus on whether its policy is fit for purpose and what lessons can be learnt. That will be assisted by an independent expert," she added

Revulsion

A third review would look at wider allegations of sexual harassment at the corporation, Mrs Miller said.

"These are undoubtedly very serious matters that have wide-ranging implications for a number of public institutions, not just the BBC. It is now crucial we understand what went wrong and how it can be put right."

A man has claimed in The Sun newspaper that he was assaulted by Savile as a nine-year-old boy scout

Mrs Miller was speaking in response to a question from Tory MP Rob Wilson, who said he had a "number of major concerns that the investigations announced by the BBC will not be sufficiently independent, transparent and robust to give the public confidence."

Mrs Miller said there was no need for a wider inquiry while the police investigation was going on. It was crucial detectives were allowed to continue their investigation "unfettered" by other inquiries, she said.

Meanwhile, Savile's youngest-known victim has spoken, a man who said he was abused after he appeared on his TV show Jim'll Fix It aged nine.

Kevin Cook told the BBC: "He led me off, we went down some corridors, through some doors, we went off to a really dingy dressing room.

"He took me in there and again asked me if I wanted my badge, which I said yes, and that's where it took place. He sat me down in a chair, he stood in front of me, and that's where he assaulted me."

In other developments on Monday:

  • A former chairman of the branch of the Prison Officers Association at Broadmoor Special Hospital, Frank Mone, said Savile would not have been left alone with patients there. It follows a claim from a former patient that Savile sexually assaulted him in the early 1970s
  • Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis has denied claims he groped two women in BBC studios

Scotland Yard, which is co-ordinating the investigation, said it was following up 340 lines of inquiry on Savile and was in contact with 14 other police forces.

Police said the allegations spanned six decades, with reports up to and including 2006.

Savile, who presented Top of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It in the 1970s and 80s, died in October 2011, aged 84.

 

More on This Story

Jimmy Savile and the NHS

Comments

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  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 9.

    When you look back, and ask yourself: "what would it take to make a Yorkshireman have a middle-aged ladies hairstyle?" you have to say, we should all have realised something was a bit dodgy way back...

  • rate this
    +26

    Comment number 8.

    as bad as the JS business may be - why did nobody from the great British press ever reveal this story? if the press did not know or did not have the evidence then refocus away from the BBC and look at all the media involved - or rather distanced.

  • rate this
    -18

    Comment number 7.

    Savile's dead, but how many others are still alive and being sheltered by the BBC? The whole thing stinks.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 6.

    Still cannot understand 'why now' ..? Much prefer to have seen any guilty party punished for a crime.
    This will only bring heartache to the living....

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 5.

    I heard rumours in the early 80's about the dubious activities of Saville.
    I was a teenager with no connections to the BBC.

    If I had wind of this, then people in the BBC would surely have known.

    No smoke without fire and all that.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 4.

    An independent enquiry is essential. This investigation must not be a whitewash or attract allegations of being so.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 3.

    I'd take everything Harriet Harperson says with a pinch of salt. She has her own agendas here.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    I'm sick of hearing how sickened people are by this ALLEGED behaviour. There has been no trial and never will be now that Jimmy Savile is safely dead. I would not be surprised to find out that many of these accusers are out to see what they can gain financially from either Savile's estate or from the BBC, who will no doubt make generous payouts of OUR money to try to retain its credibility.

  • rate this
    +59

    Comment number 1.

    How does this reflect as a stain on the BBC? The people in power at the BBC now are not the same as the ones who turned a blind eye to Savile's predations back in the day, they're hardly responsible for it.

    If we want to blame anybody, lets find out who the people in power at the time were, and ask them why they didn't do anything about it. Leave the BBC as it is today alone.

 

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