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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  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 129.

    I'd say that EastEnders, BBC3 and 1Xtra are also stains on the BBC.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 128.

    Blimy! It's quite an eye opener reading many of these comments.

    It's some Murdoch/right wing plot. The victims are probably untruthful. And why blame the BBC? Hope your not on safeguarding boards!!

    Well, I would have thought a full enquiry would be welcome. Get the truth. If there are victims, give them justice. If people have engaged in covering child abuse, they deserve punishment.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 127.

    Whilst I think what Saville did to all those victims is horrendous I don't really understand what anyone will actually gain out of this. Saville is dead & therefore he has got away with it. It is a shame none of the victims had the courage to come forward whilst he was alive. The BBC on the other hand must have been aware of the gossip and must answer why they did nothing, or covered it up

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 126.

    Esther Rantzen heard rumours.....Janet street Porter heard rumours when exec of BBC. What did either of them do at the time....nothing! Both women and neither known to be shrinking violets but now joining the hysterical people out to condemn him. Shame on them and everyone like them. He might have been in a powerful position but so were they and by not acting they were just as abusive standing by

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 125.

    If I hear any more of this pathetic navel-gazing by the BBC, celebrities and police, I'll be sick.

    The man is dead so, beyond acknowledging that he is alleged - no more than that - to have abused some youngsters, for heaven's sake move on. Beyond hearsay and circumstantial evidence, there is absolutely nothing to produce in a court.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 124.

    Why now? The dead man has no defence and it cannot be right to judge him. All the so-called victims had their day to speak but failed to do so. My advise to them is to shut up and stop stirring false otherwise uncontested allegation against a dead man.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 123.

    One thing........ has he been found guilty? While allegations of this and that wrong doing are all well and good, we seem to have entered a trial by media scenario. I've yet to see a jury in action. I'd say the likelihood of any trail ever happening diminishes day by day simply because you wouldn't be able to get a jury together that hadn't heard of this or that. The Police are investigating.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 122.

    Yuk! Dare I say, Savile was a creep? Dare I say, many people at the BBC seem to have been aware of this? Why are so many on this HYS now defending the Beeb? Used to be an institution which I respected, but it has long since ceased to be representative of anything except its own metro-centred, pc, etc. bias. BBC knew what St. Jim was up to, why defend them?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 121.

    While I agree the BBC could have done very little, if anything to have prevented Savile's acts, I bet they wish they were the impartial organisation they are so desperate want to make us believe.

    There a people who would like to see the BBC squirm over this, and I can't say I blame them.

  • rate this
    +33

    Comment number 120.

    As others have stated this flies in the face of claims that the free press is working in the public interest to expose matters such as this. It seems that if you are a 'weirdo' Bristol landlord or an oddball with a Jill Dando obsession, the expense and formalities of a trial can be dispensed with in favour of pitchforks and torches, whilst those with money and influence can buy the hacks' silence.

  • Comment number 119.

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

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 118.

    I'm surprised no one else has mentioned the time Savile had Uri Geller on as a guest. Savile drew a hidden sketch that Geller was to "mind read". "Is it a flower?" asked a confused Geller as the trick progressed. "No, but it's something I think about all the time", said Savile. It was the... err... schematics of a young woman.

    Even as a child, I squirmed, and wondered how he got away with it.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 117.

    Many people have been concerned for a long time about sex and age discrimination at the BBC. What if that problem is part of the management culture which overlooked Savile's shortcomings. For as long as I can remember BBC light entertainment seemed to fixate on some personalities to the detriment of programming-Savile's popularity was built on Hobson's choice for viewers and the BBC basked in it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 116.

    Mr Savile was close to the Windsors and Thatcher, don't MI5 vet people in such circumstances?
    A lot of people using this to bash the BBC but sadly this was the general culture before political correctness 'nothing to do with me I'll look after my own interests'. That said, he must have had some very powerful allies to get away with this for 50 years. Perhaps he knew a lot?

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 115.

    if anyone thinks Auntie Beeb is only guilty of this cover-up then
    LET THEM THINK AGAIN!

    BUT what should be most offensive to license payers is that other institution_ the BBC Trust_ for they are indeed a pusillanimous lot who_ no doubt_ regularly 'dine' with senior management behind closed doors _
    whatever reputation BBC once had is now utterly gone _
    &the license fee should join it ASAP >: (

  • rate this
    +35

    Comment number 114.

    Perhaps if the tabloid press had not spent their time hacking the phones of celebrities and murder victims, these allegations could have been investigated and exposed years ago.

    The same press put him on a pedestal and canonised him.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 113.

    57. armia
    12 MINUTES AGO
    Is this the biggest cover up ever? Discuss!
    --
    The beeb are ever keen to open HYS pages for those who pop this mortal coil, to allow people to pay their respects (or otherwise).
    This honor was not allowed for one of their own.
    You start to wonder, why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 112.

    The word is "exalted" not "exulted".

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 111.

    Another Murdoch press inspired hysteria to bash the BBC. Why not bash Stoke Mandeville hospital, or any of the other organisations that Saville worked for?

    Let's not forget that papers like the Sun have always had no morals of their own while being quick to condemn others.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 110.

    I think it is sad that these accusations which indicate misery suffered by victims are being hijacked by BBC bashers - MPs, other broadcasters and so on.

    The REALITY is that the so-called culture everyone is talking about was cross-industry. Newspapers, broadcasters, music companies...

    Perhaps these others want to keep the focus on the Beeb to avoid their own organisations getting looked at.

 

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