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
    +5

    Comment number 89.

    A very sorry business. I don't even work for the BBC but I heard rumours about what he was "supposed to be like" years ago. The Daily Mail seem to be having an absolute ball with this against the BBC, which is very wrong, but not as very wrong as Savile.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 88.

    Assaults on children are wrong,no matter in what decade they occurred.To investigate such allegations requires effort and determination,attributes apparently lacking at the Beeb along with other organisations.JS has said that he was "untouchable" and he was right.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 87.

    JS is dead and beyond punishment unfortunately his living family and friends have to live with his deeds, it must be awful for them if they didn’t know. If these allegations turn out to be correct then those who were not victims but have been sitting on this knowledge for years must now face some serious questions as to why they did not come forward sooner.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 86.

    It was a different world back then. The article mentions the BBC extensively updated its child safety precautions in 2002.

    I think everybody was too trusting back then; I think we've probably got it right now.

    I just hope that examining yesterday's too-trusting-attitudes with today's we-now-know-better won't lead to too-much-suspicion-and-paranoia towards people who work with kids tomorrow.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 85.

    Funny how all this has come to light after Mark Thompson left the BBC.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 84.

    I could never understand Savile's appeal: I found him repellent. The BBC's institutional weakness and ineptitude will be used by those - the Mail, Murdoch - who would do down the corporation by any means possible, and this must be resisted. They are even further away from even the chimera of a moral high ground than the BBC.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 83.

    If only half of these allegations are true a huge number of people have been complicit in keeping this quiet, the BBC can possibly take some blame but many many others chose not to expose even the possibility this could have been happening while he was alive WHY !!!

    These people need to be given the chance to explain THEIR role in the cover ups and WHY because most people will never understand..

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 82.

    Hi Jimmy, Are these rumors about you true?
    No.
    OK, well best you carry on then.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 81.

    Whose values do we judge the BBC's conduct by? I'm quite sure if Savile had been gay, or had been married but caught in a scandal with a mistress, he would have been deemed unsuitable to present childrens' TV. Yet his open lechery towards young girls was in plain view at the time. Different times, different values.

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 80.

    S...A... - VILE : how appropriate boys and girls!

    'It was good while it lasted' : Of course it all really started to go downhill after the introduction of the National Lottery. The strong institutional desire to for denial or to turn a blind eye no longer prevailed; although perhaps age was catching up with paedo's vigour.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 79.

    Why did nobody blow a whistlsay anything wioth absolute proof?

    UK libel laws are a dream charter for the rich and influential with something to hide, Savile being both rich and influential and evidently with something to hide. Wikipedia will not site servers in the uk because of the horrendously unbalanced state of our libel law

  • rate this
    -21

    Comment number 78.

    I am sick at the thought that my licence fee payments have been funding paedophiles. And who can tell us if any of our "esteemed" celebrities are currently involved in the activity?

  • rate this
    -31

    Comment number 77.

    The BBC is a disgrace . The top brass(plural) should be fired.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 76.

    Information from a police source has indicated that contemporary inquiries into Saville were blocked due to his connections with Margaret Thatcher, who he apparently spent at least one Christmas with...surely the ghost of that is not persisting in the views of the current Culture secretary?????

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 74.

    For me the lessons to be learnt R not about the BBC but rather the pitfalls that come with the bandwagons, people get on. Saviles' heyday around the sexual revolution probably helped reinforce the false idea that it was all just a bit of fun and anyone who questioned this such as Mary Whitehouse were prudes. Nowadays its the side effects of PC polices which are the real danger vulnerable groups

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 73.

    If AlanP @29 knew anything of what sexual abuse does to an individual and why they often cannot tell their story, then he would not have bothered making such an ill-informed statement.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 72.

    What must be examined thoroughly is every organisation where Savile and his associates were during that long time so that it is fully understood:
    To prevent this systemic abuse happening
    To ensure culprits are brought to justice
    To encourage whistleblowers to come forward safely in confidence
    To allow those abused to have some recognition and to put the blame where it should be - the abusers

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 71.

    The Jimmy Saville affair is very sad.

    People Using it to promote their anti-BBC agenda is even sadder.

    The phone hacking gossip sheets trying to take the moral high ground is hilarious.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 70.

    9.Eddy from Waring "ask yourself: "what would it take to make a Yorkshireman have a middle-aged ladies hairstyle?"
    Saville's behaviour made him a monster, not the way he looked. If we start believing the witch-hunting tabloid claims that any man who lives alone or dresses / acts a little 'eccentric' must be a slavering paedophile then a lot of innocent people are going to be unfairly accused.

 

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