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.

 

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Jimmy Savile scandal

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 29.

    It gets worse and worse...... It is very little plausibleness that this Dude stayed molesting all these people for this long...at BBC sometimes...and NOBODY knew. These potential witnesses s are as guilty as him for not coming forward...

  • rate this
    +37

    Comment number 28.

    As sickening as the allegations are against Savile, I fail to see how the BBC can be held accountable for everything each & staff member gets up to 24/7. A lot of the work he did was outside the BBC and as one of those involves HMP Broadmoor, no doubt the Prisons' Secretary will be hauled over the coals as well? It's so very easy to bl.ame people in hindsight based on their own political agenda

  • rate this
    +24

    Comment number 27.

    The bandwagon jumping of politicians in relation to the "alleged" behaviour of Jimmy Saville is pathetic. Questions in parliament about the culture of an organisation 50 years ago is an irelevance. The police should focus on is those who were committing serious offences all those years ago and may still actually be working with the BBC . In case they haven't noticed Saville is dead.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 26.

    There are questions to be answered by the NHS, the police, social services, MPs as well as the BBC. It is also important to weed out the truth: the Broadmoor officer made it clear he would not have had the opportunity to do what he has been accused of there. it is important to note when all this happened.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 25.

    1. Painterz
    Absolutely and it appears the BBC were not the only people who appeared to turn a blind eye, the culture of the day was to blame not the BBC. If we believe what we are being told his habits were common knowledge elsewhere, including Stoke Mandeville, where it appears everyone knew but kept their mouths shut.

  • rate this
    -30

    Comment number 24.

    Just what the Tories wanted.
    It's now payback time for the holier than thou BBC.
    The BBC have been very biased at all levels against the Tories and not shown much independence in its reporting. They will now have to pay the piper for their, at least, intransigence, at worst covering up misdemeanours of staff

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 23.

    Nothing as yet has been proven. It did not take long for the "money grabbing, sue them, its-not-the-money brigade" reared its ugly head. of course the ones who will have to pay out will be the taxpayer for the defending hospitals and the licence fee payer for the defending BBC. Corrupt shyster lawyers will see to that

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 22.

    The broadcaster and the entertainment industry as a whole needs to do some soul-searching.
    I have yet to understand how the police failed, where journalists were able to identify so many victims of the abuse.
    What is needed now is an public inquiry and those responsible for the gross errors in allowing Savile from doing this without ever being caught in his lifetime.

  • rate this
    +49

    Comment number 21.

    Absolute nonsense to blame the BBC. Saville had many friends and business contacts outside of the BBC and no-one knew his sordid secrets. He was a criminal that went undetected for years that doesn't mean his employer is responsible for his actions.

    This just look likes a politician using these awful crimes to score popularity points. Sickening act in it's own right.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +26

    Comment number 19.

    If Harriet Harman wishes to retain any credibility whatsoever she'd do well to avoid leaping on this bandwagon.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 18.

    Is there nothing this "shower" of an opposition wont try to twist to gain a couple of headlines?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 17.

    Ester Rantzen has a lot of questions to answer. I thought her bumbling reply in trying to make excuses for her lack of response to the Savile issues were quite telling. It is a shame Savile isnt here today, to answer for his actions. I always thought Savile was a bit weird anyway and defied logic why someone like that was able to front younger generation programme content. Good riddance to him!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 16.

    if the Saville scandal is a stain on anyone it is a satin on all of us. We all are resposible for allowing a certain kind of culture to develop. We cannot just blame the BBC.

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 15.

    The number of reports of people entering Saville's dressing room in the middle of actual abuse and nothing being done about it is worrying. Looking back on his comments, behaviour and actions over the course of his life it's so completely obvious what was going on it's beyond comprehension how it wasn't exposed. Shame on the BBC, NHS and newspapers - well done ITV.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 14.

    Political games again. This has nothing to do with the BBC.
    There was no evidence then and there is no evidence now. Without evidence you can't fire anyone for a start. Rumours are rumours, nothing more. The reason this didn't come out in the past is because there was no proof. You need proof to fire someone or to bring a court case against someone. That we all know he was weird isn't enough.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 13.

    Allegedly very sick.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 12.

    >I'm sick of hearing how sickened people are by this ALLEGED >behaviour.

    Watch 'When Louis met Jimmy', Savile says he tells people he hates children to throw the media off the scent. Sounds a bit fishy to me.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 11.

    In this country, you are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of your peers.

    But the way the media and indeed the police and MPs are carrying on, they have tried and sentenced a dead man, who cannot defend himself.

    And why have all his accusers only now come forward ? Why wait until after his death ? What is to be gained now ? Compensation maybe ?

  • rate this
    +28

    Comment number 10.

    You can't tell me the red top paper's despite all their outcry now didn't know the rumours and not do something about it!!

 

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