Did BBC bosses know about Jimmy Savile allegations?
UNFOUNDED they may be, but people have long assumed the worst about Jimmy Savile, which of course, in our perpetual state of being in a coiled gossip spring, sees everyone jumping to certain conclusions after allegations were made against the infamous DJ recently.
And adding fuel to this particularly awful fire is that the former head of Radio 1 was aware of the allegations of sexual abuse involving Sir Savile as long ago as the ’70s, according to an ex-press officer for the station.
Rodney Collins said on Wednesday that an ex-Radio 1 controller, the late Douglas Muggeridge, asked him to find out whether the press were looking into sex abuse claims about Savile as far back as ’73.
Collins is now urging the BBC to launch a full internal inquiry:
“The BBC should now – having first of all said they knew nothing about this – there should be a full inquiry, they should co-operate with the police. If anyone working there at the time had some knowledge of this they should put their hands up”
“Douglas Muggeridge was an incredibly honourable man and had he thought there was legs to it then I think he would not have left it with me making inquiries. What happened was very clear. He [Muggeridge] picked something up, I don’t know where from, and asked me to look into it. I did. There was nothing known [that was proven].”
So what’s the implication here then? It seems that Collins is saying ‘someone must know something!’, without saying it explicitly. What is being said is that Muggeridge told him that he’d heard rumours involving young girls relating to ‘Savile’s Travels’ and wanted to know whether any newspapers were looking into it.
“What I don’t know is where he [Muggeridge] got the information from. He was obviously told something. He said: ‘Can you find out what Fleet Street knows?’ I went to two tabloid papers and two London evening papers and I got from everybody the same story: ‘Yes we’d heard rumours, but no we won’t print anything.'”
“Here was a man raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity and that makes newspapers think twice before frankly blowing a hole in someone’s image,” Collins said.
One woman who has claimed to have witnessed sexual abuse by Savile has criticised the BBC for dropping its Newsnight investigation about the whole thing, claiming that she believes that BBC execs were “appalled” by what was found and pulled the plug.
“The producer of that programme was really into exposing Jimmy Savile and I think he got quite a lot, in fact I think he ended up getting far more than they [BBC executives] wanted. I think that they saw what he got and were absolutely appalled. So they just pulled it. He [the producer] was genuine, he really really wanted to expose Jimmy Savile.“
A BBC spokesman said:
“The comments made by the former press officer reflect a conversation that he says he had during this time. The BBC has conducted searches of the BBC’s files and has not found any written record of misconduct or allegations of misconduct by Jimmy Savile during his time at the BBC. We are of course keeping our searches for information under review as and when new information comes to light.”
Such are the facts.