‘Savile-gate’ bungling is yet another example of Auntie’s arrogance

Thanks to the ‘Savile-gate’ scandal, the BBC is on the rack as never before.

And it’s doubtful good, old Auntie – as Brits have affectionately dub the state-owned broadcaster for decades – will ever emerge the same, grand chatelaine of the nation’s image again, when probes into paedophilia, iffy editorial judgement calls and management bungling are over.

Even veteran World Affairs Editor John Simpson admits it is ‘the worst crisis’ to hit the Beeb in the 50 years he’s globe-trotted on its behalf.

That’s even a slight understatement, because the situation Auntie finds herself in – corsets tightening to near asphyxiation – gets acutely more critical by the day.

As the police lift layer after rancid layer off Savile’s reign as ‘probably the worst serial paedophile Britain has seen’ – to quote one senior detective – and question alleged aides (i.e. Gary Glitter) in his obsession with abusing vulnerable, under-age girls, other explosive revelations are primed to detonate.

BAD NEWS BEARER: Veteran World Affairs Editor, John Simpson, says it is the ‘worst crisis’ to hit the BBC

Plods working on Operation Yewtree, codename for the Savile inquiry, say they have up to 400 leads and believe ‘eight to ten BBC insiders’ are in the frame to be grilled. This, I understand, does not necessarily include a host of celebs, who owe their fame to Auntie’s largesse. So, be prepared for further shocks.

It all promises to be a real smack in the eye for the purblind apologists, who castigate the media for posing fair questions why the BBC didn’t investigate Savile (and allegations of a rampant sex-fest in Radio 1’s heyday of the 1970s and 80s) earlier, when the rumour mill was in full grind.

What went on, contend those defending the indefensible, were aberrations that should be put into the context of an era of unfettered debauchery and the BBC’s ethos should remain unchallenged, its output the envy of the world.

Though I agree with the general gist that the BBC is uniquely exceptional – certainly in terms of popular entertainment, the arts, culture, even soaps – perhaps it’s also uniquely haughty.

So to blame the Press as vengefully picking at Aunties bones is not a moral stance. It merely reflects a minority’s dread that any overdue swilling out of the Broadcasting House pigsty will see their right-on self-righteousness replaced by opinion-formers more accurately reflecting mainstream values.

And, hopefully, what will dawn is the realisation that an Orwellian regime far too big for its boots can no longer be trusted to regulate itself and sweep any self-inflicted scandals under its plush carpets.

At least one BBC heavyweight has emerged with credit. Sir Roger Jones, a former governor, heeded the rumours swirling round ‘creepy’ Savile a decade ago and banned the weirdo from appearing on Children In Need.

SAVILE SPOILER: In his BBC days, Sir Roger Jones banned the ‘creepy’ DJ from Children In Need 10 years ago

But who else in management took a principled stand in opening their ears and eyes to the potential dangers lurking within and was brave enough to be proactive? Or, as I’ve queried before, was Savile just too big, too powerful, too bankable an asset to upset?

Aside from the grotesque perv and the controversial axing of a Newsnight probe into him, recently there have been numerous instances of BBC brazen arrogance, like the fork-tongued half-truths about the millions in licence-fee payers moolah paid to top performers.

With a heel-turn worthy of Strictly Come Dancing, the issue was deviously defused. No names, no pack drills were released, just amounts, which amounted to zilch without the public knowing exactly who the humungous fees-earners were.

Then came the scandal of 148 presenters – countless familiar faces – worming their way through tax loopholes, by declaring themselves ‘companies’, thus escaping draconian PAYE, as paid by us plebs, despite the BBC being their main employer.

Ever amenable Auntie turned a blind eye to such ‘creative tax avoidance’ until HM Customs and Revenue threatened to intervene.

And whatever happened to the mysterious Balen Report of 2004, which examined charges of ‘anti-Israel bias’ in BBC coverage of the Middle East? Despite a Freedom of Information request, Michael Balen’s findings were – and still are – kept under padlock, Auntie having coughed up £350,000 to my learned friends to keep them secret.

In fact, all too often the old girl’s been caught with her knickers down, setting the agenda, rather than complying with the BBC’s Charter to report the world with ‘due accuracy and impartiality’.

Back in the 1990s, for instance, it barely hid its gusto for Britain joining the €uro. And last year, global-warming zealot, Lord Chris Patten – chairman of the BBC Trust, guardians of the corporation’s waning credibility – endorsed a controversial report calling for more bias on climate change, rather than less or even to striking a fair balance.

This, again, is symptomatic of an organisation the Daily Telegraph’s Peter Oborne recently criticised as, ‘colonised and captured by a narrow, greedy, self-interested and self-perpetuating liberal elite, contemptuous of ordinary people and of ordinary morality.’

So the question is: Can the BBC still be trusted with the crown jewels of the nation’s integrity?

According to its own opinion poll last week, the answer is ‘No’.

And if the faceless power-brokers haunting Auntie’s crumbling Ivory Tower don’t get that message, they shouldn’t be there.

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All the presidents’ women…from snarling French she-wolves to mumsy, US power gals

There’s an historic strain of common purpose between France and the USA, not simply because both nations threw off monarchies in the 18th Century and adopted pretty similar presidential styles of government.

There are other parallels, not least in the type of ballsy females who exert immense influence on the guys or hommes who hold the keys to the White House and Elysee Palace, though that where the two nations diverge.

It probably began when Josephine was said to have told Bonaparte, apropos bedroom gymnastics, ‘Not tonight, Nappy!’ (she probably added, ‘I ‘ave zee ‘eadache and, frankly, for a Frenchman you are a beet saggy in ze sack,’ though that’s unconfirmed).

In fact, despite all the hype of Frenchmen claiming the mantle of the world’s greatest ‘loovers’, La Belle France’s politicians have had a pretty dicky time of it, so to speak, from their respective partners.

Francois Mitterrand was said to have been in awe of his mistress Anne Pingeot; neo-fascist Jean Marie Le Pen’s missus, Pierette, ridiculed his multiple infidelities by posing nude for Playboy; and Cecilia Sarkozy got her retaliation in first…by eloping with a lover before the petit but perfectly-formed Nicholas could get his hands on the presidency and Carla Bruni.

Let’s not forget, either, Anne Sinclair, who finally kicked out her adulterous husband, Dominique Strauss Kahn – he of the yo-yoing trouser zipper – notwithstanding unproven allegations he raped a New York hotel chambermaid.

MICHELLE, MY BELLE: President Obama shares a joke with – and appreciation for – his charismatic wife

Now, in the best traditions of French farce  we hear the country’s newest leader, Francois Hollande – whose unassuming facade apparently hides a lusty seducer – is utterly intimidated by his volatile partner, Valeria Trierweiler. According to a new book, The Rebel, by two journalists who claim to know her snarling tantrums well, every time she throws a wobbler (often) he’s banned from her bed.

By contrast, on the other side of Le Pond, where politicians dance to the tune of US Puritanism, such scandals are rare as hen’s teeth (apart from the foibles of Bill Clinton, which were excusable, since he never had sex with Monica Lewinsky, even if she did with him).

Hence, in comparison with France’s political she-wolves, the likes of Michelle Obama and Ann Romney appear dutifully benign. Nonetheless, don’t mistake their mumsiness; the pair are ruthless tigresses, teak-tough power gals, who’ve made a telling impact on the build-up to the November 6th election.

Naturally, after four years exposure as the nation’s ‘Mom In Chief’, as she styles herself, the charismatic Michelle is familiar with the First Wives’ Club battleground, as much of a beauty contest as the one their husband are locked in.

Which is why you can read the indignation in her blazing eyes if ever Barak wilts in a verbal slug-fest, as he did in the first televised debate with Mitt Romney. Some even wonder if Michelle might have made a better boss of her nation than her sometimes ponderous hubby.

Meanwhile, Ann has campaigned as the archetypical, all-American wife, though, married to a multi-millionaire businessman and former Governor of Massachusetts, she’s anything but. Nonetheless, the story of her personal courage in overcoming breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, while bringing up five, feisty sons, resonates with the countless undeclared voters.

What both wives are accomplished at is ‘humanising’ their spouses, portraying them as something other than hard-nosed, combative politicos and, in Romney’s case, a robotic plutocrat, more at ease in a boardroom than on the hustings.

PLATFORM QUEEN: Ann Romney gives husband Mitt her total support in his US presidential bid

As new girl on the block, Ann, a vivacious, 63-year-old blonde who belies her years, actually stole the edge over Michelle, whose life story has been chronicled so often – the smart chick from a struggling, yet aspirant Chicago family, who wondered if Barak was good enough for their daughter – the handles have dropped off.

Ann talks of her roots, too; of how her Welsh grandfather worked down the pit from the age of six, until an industrial accident curtailed his career as a hewer of coal. So he emigrated to Detroit in the 1920s, founded the family fortune and realised the Great American Dream.

Michelle tells of how Barak ‘tucks me up in bed each night’ and boasts she’s the family gagster. Ann counters, saying she fell for Mitt at high school, married him at 19, and their early poverty forced them to live off tinned tuna and use the ironing board as a dining table.

Such anecdotes play well in the swing states of Florida, Wisconsin and Colorado, but rustbelt Ohio is the keystone, which is why both women have zeroed in there to use their schmooze and woo the hoverers.

So why Ohio? Because, quirkily, US Presidential jousts are not won by garnering an overall national majority – if so Al Gore would have taken the White House in 2000, not G-Dubya – but by winning individual states, each of which is allocated a number of Electoral College votes according to its population (i.e. Ohio has 18, Florida 29, Wisconsin 10 and Colorado 9).

Hence, out of the 538 Electoral College votes up for grabs, the first man to hit 270 wins.

According to early polls – maybe because of Ann’s influence – women voters tilted in Romney’s favour, men preferring Obama. There’s been a reversal since then, but, as the incumbent, the reigning President is marginally the bookies’ favourite.

There’s only one certainty: whoever wins, much of his success will be down to the power behind the Oval Office throne that wears a skirt.

Oh, how those masters of the French political universe must envy their US counterparts, with spouses who know the value of fidelity and adhere to the tacit American principle of standing by their man.

The UN: So unfit for purpose, it couldn’t sort out a schoolyard scrap

If most folk were asked to name a list of the world’s most influential statesmen, Recep Erdogan’s would hardly trip off the tongue.

Yet, as boss of the religiously orthodox AK Justice & Development Party and Turkish Prime Minister for nine years, he heads one of the world’s few, fully-fledged Islamic democracies (and a NATO member), so his is a siren voice worth listening to every once in a while.

Erdogan’s had his moments of controversy, notably refusing to fess up to Turkey’s genocide of a million Armenians in 1915. And his backing of the misnamed ‘Peace Flotillas’, crewed by the usual, useful idiots – which tried to breach Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza, in situ to stop Iranian munitions reaching the Hamas terrorist-run enclave – went down like a manky kebab with most of his Western friends.

Nonetheless, following Turkey’s long experience of Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, Erdogan knows much about how and why the region has disintegrated into the powder keg it is today and he can read the ominous runes better than most.

Which is why he recently gave the imperiously inept United Nations – especially the blustering, disjointed Security Council – a piece of his mind, singling out Syria in particular and charging, ‘The UN is losing its credibility by turning a blind eye to what is happening [there]. It is a human tragedy.’

With countless refuges escaping the loathsome Assad regime to camps over the Turkish border and Syrian artillery firing into Turkey – five Turks died and 11 were injured in a recent fusillade – Erdogan is articulating what the West has thought of the discredited UN for decades, but has been too timid to say so.

Meanwhile, he’s ordered his army to retaliate, if further provoked, amid fears the Assads, prompted by the Armageddon-seekers of neighbouring Iran, could escalate the conflict into an all-out, Shiite-versus-Sunni clash – not dissimilar to how ‘a little local difficulty’ in the Balkans, in 1914, ignited the Great War.

Syria, though, is only the tip of an explosive sand-dune and there’s no doubt Erdogan has an agenda to reprise Ottoman-style hegemony over the Middle East.

But he’s right in fingering UN culpability – and the botched peace mission of ex-UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to Damascus – in allowing the inter-religious civil war, said to have cost tens of thousands of lives to date, to rage on.

UN KNOCKER: Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan says the organisation is ‘losing credibility’

In reality, the UN General Assembly has become a soapbox for fully paid-up members of the nutters’ club, like Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And the Security Council couldn’t sort out a scrap in a kindergarten schoolyard, while Putin’s Russia supports the indefensible Assads and amoral China couldn’t care a toss, so long as it can continue selling arms to anyone who pays.

Meanwhile, in the odd moments the UN does secure a flimsy degree of unanimity, its ineffectual, ‘Blue Helmet’ peacekeepers too often turn a mess into a downright catastrophe.

Witness the cock-ups they contrived in the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, not forgetting their abject failure to police the Second Congo War or intervene in the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre.

Failure, in fact, seems to be what the UN excels at when it sends in its bovver boys. Because, among other malfunctions, they failed to deliver food to the starving in strife-torn Somalia and prevent mass murder in Darfur.

And the peacekeepers haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory in other ways, having been accused of corruption, black-marketeering, drug-running and multiple sex crimes during missions to the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Sudan, what’s now South Sudan, Burundi and Cote d’Ivoire.

Not that those at the very crest of the UN always set a shining example of probity.

UN FAILURE? As Secretary General, Kofi Annan was rebuked in probe into the 2005 Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal that implicated his son, Kojo

Remember the 2005 probe into the Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal – said to have personally netted Saddam Hussein $1.7-billion in kickbacks – when holier-than-thou Secretary General Annan was rebuked over suspicions he steered lucrative contracts to a Swiss company that coincidentally employed his son, Kojo.

As counterpoints, the UN has sired some outstanding agencies under its umbrella, notably the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Educational Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Shamefully, the same can’t be said of the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Hijacked by West-bashers and harboring a vicious obsession against democratic Israel, it was once chaired by Gaddafi-ruled Libya and even founded a ‘human rights prize’ named in honour of the late, unlamented, homicidal maniac (how daft can the UN get, I hear you ask).

So Erdogan’s accusation that the organisation charged with bolstering world piece ‘is losing its credibility’ is somewhat passé. Because it already has.

Now comprising an unwieldy 193 nations, many with historic animus toward one another, maybe it’s high time the UN reminded itself of its original charter commitments – especially the wee bit which states, ‘Human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear.’

Because if members refuse to adhere to those noble principles, they shouldn’t be in the club in the first place – or the United Nations is a misnomer and not fit for purpose.

Take your pick, as 60s TV quizmaster Michael Miles would say.

There’s nothing Nobel about the pseudo-democratic EU

Congratulations all round! My cup runneth over, because, like all other residents – I hesitate to employ the word ‘citizens’ in this context – of the European Union, I’m a five-hundredth million of $1.2-million better off.

So overflowing are my coffers, I can’t even be bother working out the exact amount, but guess it might buy me a used matchstick if I’m lucky.

It’s all thanks to those generous, if a smidgeon superior, Norwegians – you know, the ones who spawned the mass-murdering, Right-wing fanatic, Anders Breivik, and a rather creepy ‘statist’ society that’s swimming in petro-dollars and educates its kids to be altruistically socialist.

For it is in the gift of the kindly Norwegians to dole out the Nobel Peace Prize, which I’ve always thought a bid odd, since Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and philanthropist extraordinaire, was Swedish.

Anyway, that’s a by the by. What’s important is they’ve given the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU, presumably because they scraped the bottom of the barrel of potential candidates, couldn’t find an outstandingly goodly person to bestow it upon, and all that was left among the dregs was us (well, by us, of course, I mean the EU as an institution).

NOBEL BIG NOB: Barosso, the Commision President, receives the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the EU

If it wasn’t so bizarrely farcical, it might be funny – a snide jape from a patronising country that’s semi-detached from the unelected Brussels Europrat elite (an even snottier lot than the Norwegians) at a time when the Eurozone is imploding financially and dragging the rest of the world down Skid Row with it.

Nevertheless, exalting the EU, the Nobel citation reads, ‘for [having] over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe’.

Fine sentiments, if only they were accurate.

So let’s deal with the ‘peace’ bit first: the EU didn’t sort out the vicious, internecine punch-up on its own doorstep in the former Yugoslavia (remember a contingent of 400 Dutch EU/UN peacekeeper looking the other way when around 8,000 Muslims were massacred in Srebrenitca?); NATO did the dirty work, with massive US help.

Nor did the EU patch up the long-standing animus between Germany and France. They achieved peace themselves in the 1950s, initially via the European Coal & Steel Community, the Common Market’s forerunner.

Now to ‘reconciliation’: not much sign of that within the massed ranks of demonstrators in Greece, raging with indignation over EU bean-counters forever twisting the screw of austerity tighter. Certainly German Chancellor Angela Merkel deserved to be ashamed on her recent visit to Athens and not merely at seeing her face superimposed on a Nazi uniform in a forest of placards hoisted by the hungry and homeless.

INVITATION TO A RIOT: Anti-austerity demonstrators vent their anger on the EU in Athens

And watch this space when Spain is forced to proffer the begging bowl, as it must surely do with unemployment running at around 25% and over 50% of its youth – the nation’s glorious future – jobless and hopeless. So if you imagine the riots in Madrid were just worth a ribbon of tickertape at the foot of a 24-hour news channel screen, as they say in Hollywood, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Next, let’s examine ‘harmony’: Scottish and Catalan nationalists want to break away from their respective countries, though I firmly believe Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, is living in a tartan Cloud Cuckooland if he thinks the Scots are that gullible.

As regards Catalonia, already one of Spain’s most autonomous regions, they’ll be breaking the country’s constitution if they rush for a unilateral declaration of independence and, as even King Juan Carlos warned, the consequences could be dire.

Then there’s‘ democracy’. Or, more precise, the veneer passing for it – one, incidentally that’s likely to be shattered totally after the award of the Peace Prize, because that will be seen as a green light by power-crazed Europhiles to forge further ahead with their lust for a centralised, single nation state of Euroland.

If so, to paraphrase a hotly-contested expression said to have been used against a policeman by the British government’s (now ex) Chief Whip recently, it’ll be ‘sod the plebs’, only more so.

Because the unpalatable reality is we have an anti-democracy in the EU. What exists, instead, is a bunch of appointees – one per member state – ruling as satraps…like the UK’s Baroness Cathy Ashton, the anonymous Foreign Minister, a Belgian hologram named Herman Van Rompuy as President of the European Council and Portugal’s unctious ex-Prime Minster, Jose Manuel Barroso, as President of the European Commission.

Did you vote for any of Europe’s ringmasters? No, neither did I. And, such is democracy in the EU, a great many residents of its member countries never had a say in the many complex treaties binding the gravy train tighter together.

As a sop to the hallowed name of democracy, however, we have Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), who are elected every five years. Can you name yours, by the way? No, neither can I.

It doesn’t actually matter if you could, because the 736 of them are practically powerless, yet extremely adept at piling up immense personal expenses and voting for inflation-busting rises to their annual stipends, currently a basic €92,000.

What does matter, though, is that no independent auditors have been prepared to sign off the EU’s books for 15 years and it’s highly unlikely one will do when the budget rises to an estimated €150.9-billion for 2013.

Finally, allow me to sum up the EU’s quirky vision of ‘human rights’ in one rhetorical question: Where were the people of Britain’s human rights as European courts rode roughshod over UK law for eight years on whether evil, hook-handed, preacher of hate, Abu Hamza, could be deported to face terrorist charges in America?

So much, then for ‘reconciliation’, ‘harmony’, ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ in the Nobel laureate-anointed European Union, a wannabe superstate few signed up to when they voted in favour of a free-trade Common Market.

Meanwhile, I’m off to spend my entire five-millionth of the Peace Prize moolah. Anyone got a used match they want to flog?

‘Savile-gate’ – how Jim has left BBC bosses in a right, old fix

As the midnight oil burns at the BBC, are Auntie’s spinmeisters – their customary, right-on smugness rattled as never before – trying to put an angle on ‘Savile-gate’ that’s acceptable to a skeptical outside world they’d normally disdain?

And elsewhere, are veteran DJs from Radio 1’s heyday of the 1970s and 80s, wigs askew and jowls aquiver, seeking out the best briefs to hold their clammy hands if and when the plods come knocking?

Whatever the answers to those questions, it’s a fair bet that the outcome of a Scotland Yard probe into allegedly serial perverted crimes by the late Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile OBE, who died a year ago, aged 84, will see a savage indictment of BBC mismanagement and the deconstruction of many a haughty reputation.

In fact, the Metropolitan Police, who were quick to label the publicity vulture as a ‘predatory sex offender’ on a ‘national scale’, is following up 120, separate lines of enquiry dating back to 1959.

I’m sure, too, my learned friends will be clearing their diaries in anticipation of a deluge of new clients. Some will be household names from pop’s bygone era; others will be seeking retribution, saying they were victims of Savile’s depraved lust for young flesh.

George Entwistle, still warming up his chair as BBC Director General (DG), has already conceded the whacky weirdo was a wrong ‘un and apologised to any who may have been molested by him on BBC turf.

Entwistle’s also flip-flopped on demands for an in-house inquiry, first refusing one, but then performing a pirouette Darcey Bussell would envy. Yes, he says now, we’ll hold one (and preferably by a Leveson-style, independent judge, I hope), once the police have finished theirs.

However, an immediate problem for the DG – a veteran BBC stalwart, but only weeks into the top job – is to get all his ducks in a row over an axed Newsnight exposé of Savile, before ITV went ahead with its documentary, Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, aired earlier this month.

LOOKING FOR A FIX: New BBC Director General, George Entwistle, wrestles to deal with the fall-out over the Savile scandal

That rumours of the deceased DJ’s penchant for under-aged girls (and boys, apparently) echoed for decades round Broadcasting House, it seems odd in extremis that the BBC flagship news prog ditched its take on the Jim’ll Fix It crank after a six-week investigation.

Then there’s some iffy chronology about who at the top of the Corporation know what and when about it. According to the Sunday Times, Entwistle was said to be first aware of the Newsnight story being canned ‘when it was reported in the Press in December.’

Yet it didn’t make headlines until January 7 (though, naturally – as in the fog of war – facts can become clouded and memories blurred).

But these discrepancies following the no-show of the Newsnight inquiry – a decision made for ‘editorial reasons’ by its editor, Peter Rippon, insists the Beeb – only fuel speculation that there was a conspiracy of silence within Auntie’s hierarchy to covered up any abhorrent crimes Savile may have committed, because he was one of their most bankable assets.

Over 40 people now say they were his victims, while more are emerging daily. And, as I’ve posted here before (see: The strange case of Jimmy Savile, harmless oddball or devious pervert – Oct 5, 2012), some allegations made against him are so beyond repugnant, I won’t insult you by repeating them.

ABUSED ON AIR: Ex-Radio 1 jockette, Liz Kershaw, claims she was persistently groped by a colleague while presenting her show

Meanwhile, in the wake of ‘Savile-gate’, a can of potentially explosive worms is opening up concerning the entire Radio 1 ethos of his day. And surprisingly perhaps, some normally lippy, famous ‘voices’ appear to have been overcome by collective amnesia about events of 30 and 40 years ago, though not plucky Liz Kershaw.

One of the station’s first jockettes, she claims she was persistently groped while on air by a colleague and, on complaining, was told, ‘Don’t you like it? Are you a lesbian?’

Of Savile, Kershaw, now 54 – who described the macho culture of Radio 1 in the 80s as like a ‘rugby club locker-room’– told the Today Programme, ‘The rumours were there, the jokes were there. It was an open secret, Everyone joked about Jimmy Savile and young girls.’

And he wasn’t alone. The late John Peel, lauded as an icon of pop culture, made no secret of his fondness for teenyboppers and actually married a 15-year-old named Shirley Anne Milburn, when he was 26 and working in Texas. Some years later, after their divorce in 1973,  the former Mrs. P committed suicide.

It’s my belief, then, that any BBC investigation must not be limited to Savile alone, but should probe deeply into the off-air antics of any Radio 1 presenter about whom there is a whiff of salacious scandal.

A thorough, transparent cleansing of Auntie’s Augean Stables is required if Britain’s premier pop-music radio station is to retain a shred of credibility.

Because an increasingly vocal public is demanding to know that if the BBC ignored all the warning signs that it was sheltering a sex monster in its midst in Savile, were others overlooked who were similarly culpable?

The strange case of Jimmy Savile – harmless oddball or devious pervert?

As a shy, retiring 14-year-old, occasionally I’d be goaded by bigger, older kids into wagging off school at lunchtimes and bussing it down to the Plaza dancehall, in city-centre Manchester, for a jive and the chance to chat up real, live girls (ours was an all-boys school, by the way).

Frankly, haunted by adolescent insecurities, I wasn’t much good at either. Manfully, though, I tried to appear hip – ‘cool’ still meant ‘a tad on the cold side’ in those days – but confess I was mainly a wallflower, hiding behind a carton of Kiora orange squash and chain-smoking Woodbines.

One day the manager/DJ spotted me and said, ‘Go on, get stuck in there, kid, and pick yerself a bird. They’re all crying out to drop their knickers, ‘cos I know that’s why they there ‘ere.’

It was probably sage advice from this mature, outrageous extrovert, a legend in his own ballroom. So I grabbed my school blazer from the cloakroom and ran like the wind.

That was the only time I met Jimmy Savile. But I was unsurprised he went on to forge a unique showbiz niche, hosting Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It.

Years on, as a Fleet Street journalist, as much as Savile was feted – especially for an overarching compulsion to do good works – we hacks often pondered what lay behind the clownish veneer of lank, blond tresses, Churchillian cigar, garish tracksuits and loony, yodelling Savile-speak, immortalised by such catchphrases as: ‘How about that, then, guys and gals’, ‘as it ‘appens’ and ‘goodness gracious’.

That he was a conundrum, an exceedingly private man, a confirmed bachelor living with his ailing, devoutly-Catholic mother  – ‘The Duchess’, as he unfailing referred to her – in Leeds, only honed media appetites to peel away the mask.

JIM’LL FIX IT: But did he do more than that to vulnerable, under-age girls?

Unless it was in his rapacious quest for publicity, he rarely appeared with women, though he claimed in his autobiography he made many conquests…‘on trains and, with apologies to the Hit Parade, boats and planes (I am a member of the 40,000 ft club) and bushes and fields, corridors, doorways, floors, chairs, slag heaps, desks and probably everything except the celebrated chandelier and ironing board.’

It punctured speculation he was a closet gay. But still we mused if not that, was there some darker secret lurking beneath that made him shun in-depth interviews?

In his 84 years he probably gave only two of any merit. One, with Dr. Anthony Clare, as part of the In the Psychiatrist’s Chair series, revealed Savile to be ‘a man without feelings’.

The other was a ghastly insight by Louis Theroux, in 2000, later voted one of the top 50 documentaries of all time.  When Louis Met Jimmy scratched deep below the surface and what emerged was a grotesque portrait of an ageing, obsessive weirdo – Savile was 73 at the time – who rarely socialised and kept his late mum’s clothes impeccably clean and hung in the wardrobe of her bedroom that was his shrine to her.

Savile, though, was nothing if not clever. He rarely raised his head over the parapet of controversy and protected his image ruthlessly.

But – in ITV’s documentary, Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, aired earlier this month – the veteran DJ defended paedophile pop star Gary Glitter, saying. ‘He just watched a few dodgy films and was only vilified because he was a celebrity. It were [sic] for his own gratification. Whether it was right or wrong is up to him as a person.’

Glitter was jailed for four months in 1999 for downloading 4,000 images of children and then deported from Vietnam for assaulting two girls aged 10 and 11 in 2008.

The programme also featured several women who claim they were molested – in one case raped – by Savile. Another was said to have been raped at the age of 14 by the star in his dressing room at BBC Television Centre in 1974, while others said he rewarded them with cigarettes and tickets to his shows if they performed sex acts on him in his Rolls-Royce.

OBSESSIVE WEIRDO: But questions are surfacing, asking was he more than that

In 2007 Savile was interviewed by police investigating an allegation of indecent assault in the 1970s at the now-defunct Duncroft Approved School for Girls, near Staines, Surrey, where he was a regular visitor. The case was dropped for insufficient evidence.

Then, in March 2008, Savile started legal proceedings against The Sun for linking him to the child abuse scandal at the notorious Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey.

Initially, Savile denied ever visiting the place, but later admitted it, following the publication of a photograph showing him at the home surrounded by children. The local police said in 2008 an allegation of an indecent assault by Savile there in the 1970s had been investigated, but again there’d been insufficient evidence to proceed.

There were also media claims Savile carried out indecent assaults on a nine-year-old girl and her sister, aged 11, in 1971 at Haut de la Garenne, but no prosecutions followed.

However, the questions many now ask are: Even given his laudable support for worthy causes, what was Savile doing visiting homes for vulnerable children and were his paymasters at the BBC, where he was one of their most bankable stars, taking allegations of his potential child abuse seriously? They claim they did.

But Esther Rantzen, the former BBC presenter and founder of the ChildLine child-protection charity, notes, ‘Maybe it was just the fact that Jimmy knew everybody. We made him into the Jimmy Savile who was untouchable, who nobody could criticize.’

After Savile’s death, aged 84, in October, 2011, more women – now middle-aged and former children’s home residents – have found the courage to come forward and insist that, as under-aged girls, they’d been sexually abused by the veteran DJ and some had been ‘shared’ amongst a small coterie of his showbiz friends.

A common denominator in paedophile rings (like the one involving nine, jailed Asian men in Heywood) is that they groom susceptible teenage girls as sex slaves and pass them round, knowing the kids will be too intimidated to talk or the authorities won’t take their complaints seriously.

So was Savile following a similar pattern in manipulating and sexually abusing juvenile females over a long period of time, confident his power and status at the BBC would protect him?

One claimed she’d been to an orgy in Savile’s Broadcasting House dressing-room, where Glitter allegedly raped one girl and a star, who cannot be named for legal reasons, molested another.

What further places the Beeb in the eye of the gathering Savile sex-abuse storm is that a Newsnight investigation of him, after his death, was shelved for ‘editorial reasons’. This seems entirely out of character for the channel’s flagship news show, though a spokesman insists the story couldn’t be substantiated.

Naturally, there are those who say it is a gross injustice to denigrate a man, famed for his charitable deeds, posthumously, when he’s no longer here to defend himself.

Conversely, a growing number of women are crying out that Sir Jimmy Savile OBE – and others in his circle – did them incalculable, psychological and sexual harm when they were defenseless, vulnerable children in local authority care.

And their plaintive voices deserved to be heard.