All aboard the Jimmy Savile bandwagon!
IS anyone taking responsibility at the BBC for spiking the Jimmy Savile story? The entire organisation is being pilloried for employing a predatory paedophile they thought was gibbering weirdo who just like being with kids and his dead mum. The latest name in the frame is Helen Boaden, head of BBC News. She once met Savile, So, the Times lead with a photo of Savile (medallion, red-tinted specs; sting vest) resting his tatty head on her shoulders. He looks bombed. She looks amused.
Insiders at the BBC tell the Times that Helen Boaden’s intervened, applying pressure on Newnight Peter Rippon to abandon Aunty’s investigation.
George Entwistle, Mr Thompson’s successor, told the Commons Culture Committee yesterday that Ms Boaden reminded Mr Rippon that “just because Jimmy Savile was dead, it didn’t mean that there could be any skimping in journalistic standards, and that the usual BBC standards would apply…BBC journalistic standards are exactly what Helen is there to support.”
But that might not be all. A Newsnight source says:
“Boaden placed an impossibly high barrier to the story. Newsnight was only investigating Savile because he was dead and could not sue. They knew his barrister would have attacked his victims’ credibility because Savile picked on girls with troubled backgrounds in an approved school.”
Newsnight reporter Liz MacKean, who was working on the Savile story, wrote in an e-mail that Mr Rippon had told her and her colleagues:
“When we rebut his points, he resorts to saying, ‘Well, it was 40 years ago… the girls were teenagers, not too young… they weren’t the worst kind of sexual offences etc’.”
If true, does he make fair point? Every touch and arm round a waste is now being presented as evidence of paedophilia. PD James posits the opinion that such ‘victims’ should by now have moved on with their lives. And don’t Rippon’s words sound less like a conspiracy and more like a brisk editorial debate?
MacKean’s email adds:
“Quite a perfect storm brewing this end. My story (Jimmy Savile was investigated for sexual offences — we have spoken to a number of his victims) is terrifying the bosses. Basically BBC1 is preparing a Jim’ll Fix It special for Xmas.”
The Sun quotes Deborah Cogger, “who was just 14 when Savile sexually abused her at an approved school in the ’70s.” She says:
“It’s shocking someone so high up at the BBC would have this opinion. How could he say something like that? Can he imagine his child in that situation, when someone a lot older is forcing themselves on you?” The NSPCC said: “No matter how long ago any alleged abuse of children took place, and regardless of the age of the victims, it must be taken seriously.”
Mrs Cogger, 38, told Kent Online:
“And then he sat himself in the chair next to me, pulled me back onto his lap and assaulted me. He stuck his tongue down into my mouth. It was horrible. Afterwards the other girls said ‘You should have known. If he puts his cigar down that’s when he is making his move.'”
Nasty. But is that news of national importance for the BBC’s analytical news show?
Peter Rippon said the story was spiked for “editorial reasons”. Newsnight, the show that badgers politicians for answers, says the buck stops with the head and that everyone in every Government department must know what goes on throughout the organisation and answer for it, took that as fair enough and moved on. In recents days Newsnight has featured the wording “The BBC has declined to appear”. Newsnight is a dead duck. The show has zero credibility.
Yesterday’s other big Savile news was that George Entwistle, the new BBC Director-General, appeared before the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport. The Indy leads with an impression of fat cats at play:
He revealed that he heard about the Newsnight story while eating at an event in a London hotel. His line will linger: “It was a busy lunch – I didn’t want to show undue interest.”
The Sun calls it a “day of carnage” for the BBC.
Oh, please. Does anyone think the entire organisation is viper’s next of peados? One show, Newsnight, whether by intent or accident stuffed up. Does this mean Radio London is obliterated? What about the Beeb’s football coverage? The BBC weather is now only for Nonces?
Unless you read the Mirror, which reports:
A BBC spokesman said: “As a result of the allegations about Jimmy Savile and subsequent contact from staff, former staff and members of the public, we are currently aware of nine allegations of sexual harassment, assault or inappropriate conduct regarding current staff or contributors. Some of these cases have been passed to the police where appropriate and we are reviewing others within our normal HR procedures.”
Nine other people who have worked for the BBC are under investigation. We don’t know who or where. Might we be curious? There are rumours of people suing the BBC and the NHS over Savile.
But not all can. As the Star reports, DJ Paul Gambaccini tells BBC Radio 5 Live that Savile had sex with the dead:
“The expression I came to associate with Savile’s sexual partners was either one used by production assistants or one I made up to summarise their reports … under-age subnormals. He targeted the institutionalised, the hospitalised, and this was known. Why did Jimmy go to hospitals? That’s where the patients were.”
“Who vetted the knighthood? Coco the clown?”
Honours nominations are handled not by Buckingham Palace but by the Honours and Appointments Secretariat, part of the Cabinet Office. To be a Knight, the Government says:
A major contribution in any activity, usually at national level. Other people working in the nominee’s area will see their contribution as inspirational and significant, requiring commitment over a long period of time.
Nominations, submitted either by government departments or by members of the public, are divided into subject areas and assessed by committees comprising independent experts and senior civil servants. Their assessments are passed to a selection committee that produces the list, independently of government, that is submitted to the Queen through the prime minister.The Queen informally approves the list and letters are sent to each nominee. Once a nominee accepts the proposed honour, the list is formally approved.
No clowns involved.
Photo: Jimmy Savile at Guys Nuffield House – London: Sir Jimmy Savile with 7-year-old Carley Reed at Guy’s Nuffield House. The opening of the private hospital was his first public engagement since his knighthood, 27/06/1990.