‘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?


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

  1. Yes this poses many questions , and somebody is going to have to pay for what happened at the BBC. Like in Tony Blairs regime , he always found somebody else to take the blame so he could move on. He got away with murder literaly. But that’s another story. He was such a convincing , compelling talker .

  2. p.s. I think u were spot on about Nato too. Is the whole world corrupt?

  3. Apple Jack says:

    I don’t think the decision not to show the Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile was ‘seriously flawed’ at all, it was the right decision. Why anyone in their right mind would think to start an investigation like that so soon after the man’s death and expect it to be shown so soon is beyond me.

    They waited until Jimmy Savile was dead to start the Newsnight investigation cos then he wouldn’t be able to fight back and you can’t libel the dead. Meirion Jones saw some woman’s so called ‘autobiography’ on the net and persuaded her it would make a good story for Newsnight. His aunt worked at the approved school she claims Jimmy Savile abused her at, but he never told his bosses that till well late in the game.

    I saw some of the interview of the woman who wrote this ‘autobiography’ on Panorama and thought she came across as a bit disingenuous, the first lie she was caught out on was saying she was 14 when she first met Jimmy Savile at that school, when she would have in fact been a few weeks shy of 16. Newsnight staff were also unable to trace the ‘victim’ she claims she saw Gary Glitter having sex with and she was unable to provide any information about her other than she ‘went to Duncroft and she was 13’. I also felt the way she spoke about/described the alleged abuse and how she felt about it seemed clichéd and a bit shallow and put on.

    Then there was the claim that a 2007 to 2009 police investigation into Savile (again started by ex-pupils of this school) was dropped because he was too ‘old and infirm’ and that they had all been sent letters from Surrey police informing them of this. When the CPS were contacted and contradicted this claim, saying instead that there had been insufficient evidence to charge, one of the main ring leaders was asked to provide proof of her claims that they’d been informed it had been dropped because he was ‘too old and infirm’ by submitting the ‘letter’ she claimed to have been sent by Surrey police, as her claims contradicted that of the CPS. A fair enough request you’d think…? She never supplied them with the letter however and I can hardly blame them for wondering whether they were being told the truth or not by these women at this point.

    All the original complainants (bar perhaps one, though it seems perfectly likely to me that she too had had some sort of contact with someone who knew about the Surrey police investigation, as I find it rather too implausible that a woman from the same part of the country would just all of a sudden decide to go and report an indecent assault that happened 30+ years ago, totally independent of this, during the exact time the investigation was going on – bearing in mind an INI check that was sent to EVERY police force in the country at the start of this investigation returned ‘NO TRACE OF SIMILAR ALLEGATIONS’ at that point) are known to have either attended or have had links to Duncroft approved school. The school where Meirion Jones’s (the journalist from Newsnight, who started the investigation) estranged aunt was head mistress of at the time Savile was there. It was also thought, even by the Newsnight team, that most of them, or perhaps all of them, had been in contact with each other on Friends Reunited and other social networking sites in the years leading up to this (and perhaps even the 2007 to 2009 Surrey police investigation), not to mention the woman who now has a few books out on sale on Amazon, including one about this (this must be great publicity for it, who’d ever heard of her before now? Sales must have increased no end…), was, from about 2010 onwards, writing all about this on a site called ‘FanStory’ using the initials ‘JS’, ‘FS’ and ‘G’ to represent ‘Jimmy Savile’, ‘Freddie Starr’ and ‘Gary Glitter’ (it certainly makes the story a bit more interesting if you throw in a bit of scandal about a few celebrities doesn’t it?). Apart from the fact anyone could have seen this and got ideas, it was the discovery of this blog that prompted Meirion Jones to contact the woman about doing the Newsnight story. How do we know if most of what’s in that story is true? (I seriously hope the police look into it, but they probably won’t as their apparently not actually investigating any allegations against Savile because he’s dead).

    I really don’t blame any of the Newsnight staff for having concerns about showing this piece. Apart from the fact that they only had the testimony of these women (who Meirion himself said in an e-mail to Mark Williams-Thomas on 22 November 2011 that “while ‘most’ were intelligent, ‘most’ were also ’emotionally damaged’ with a ‘criminal background’ as well as being ‘suspicious… extremely manipulative [and] difficult to deal with”) with virtually no other evidence to help support most of their claims (not one of them could even provide Newsnight with a copy the ‘letter’ many of them claimed to have been sent by Surrey police that would have not only supported their claim that the 2007 to 2009 police investigation into Savile had been dropped because he was ‘too old and infirm’, but also helped restore some faith in their honesty by adding credence to their version over that of the CPS, who had by now contradicted their claim), Jimmy Savile’s body had barely turned cold!! Are Newsnight expected to dance all over a recently deceased man’s grave and show zero respect for any of his family and loved ones off the back of stories from ‘suspicious… extremely manipulative’ women with a ‘criminal background’, who’d already been shown to be dishonest as well as having been in contact (colluding) with each other on various social networking sites for years leading up to this, that are uncorroborated by any evidence other than a few Clunk Click videos that may show that some of them were there, and when they were there, but other than that show absolutely bu**er all in the way of proof that any of them were molested?

    It’s also worth mentioning that the woman who was asked to provide a copy of the letter she claimed to have from Surrey police saying the 2007 to 2009 investigation into Savile was dropped because he was ‘too old and infirm’, but didn’t (nor did any of the others), did eventually hand such a letter over to the Daily Mail in October this year claiming (according to the Mail) that it had been sent to her in 2007!?! FOUR YEARS before Newsnight or the BBC got involved with this story!!! The letter was confirmed by Surrey police to have been a FAKE. I have no doubt that this woman herself is responsible for the letter, either faking it herself or getting someone else to do it for her (more evidence of her dishonesty).

    One of Newsnight’s deputy editors, Liz Gibbons, said she wouldn’t have gone near the story and was very supportive of the decision to drop it ‘on grounds of taste’, the programme was put on the BBC’s ‘Managed Risk Programme list’ (MRPL) because the grounds for risk were thought (and said) to be ‘legal/taste’. Well you don’t say…? Showing a programme about a man who’d died so recently rigamortis probably hadn’t set in yet based on nothing more than the word of a bunch of ‘suspicious… extremely manipulative’ fraudsters with ‘criminal’ backgrounds who’ve probably all been in contact for years and at least one of whom could no doubt benefit greatly from the publicity for the new book she was due to release on the subject…? To say that would have been in bad ‘taste’ would have been an understatement. To show that programme so soon after Jimmy Savile’s death based on no evidence whatsoever ever, save the word of a bunch con artists, would have been EXTREMELY STUPID, and that would have been the sort of action that SHOULD result in ‘damage to BBC reputation’.

    I can’t help but wonder what planet the likes of Meirion Jones and his ilk are living on…? It seems to me that Peter Rippon and Liz Gibbons were among the very few people involved in this with any common sense at all AND IT’S THEM THAT HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS OVER THIS!?! The world is mad.

    Anyone prepared to indulge this, when the dishonesty of most of them is already apparent, without checking the facts and not having the guts or common sense to question or look into their stories and be honest enough to admit when they don’t add up or that the evidence contradicts their claims will deserve everything they get when they eventually end up with egg on their face…

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