BBC crisis: Jimmy Savile cover-up, Alan Yentob’s ‘omerta’ and the Kids Company troughers
Jimmy Savile’s rotting corpse continues to bob around the news. Today the Sun has news of “BBC boss Yentob and the Savile cover-up.”
We know the BBC failed to investigate claims their favourite uncle was a paedophile. Liz MacKean, the excellent reporter who wanted to reveal the story on Newsnight, was quashed. She is no longer on the hard-hitting (it says here) news show, which somehow managed to survive the scandal.
But what else? The Sun’s Harry Cole writes in what the Sun calls an “Exclusive“:
BEEB boss Alan Yentob said the journalists who exposed the cover- up of the Jimmy Savile scandal were “traitors to the BBC”, one of them has sensationally claimed.
Respected former producer Meirion Jones claims the remark about him was made to another employee after he contributed to Panorama’s exposé “Savile — What The BBC Knew”.
Jones worked with MacKean on Newsnight. He no longer works on the show.
Mr Yentob, 68, strongly denies making the comment. The film by Mr Jones and colleague Liz MacKean revealed the corporation’s bids to stop Newsnight exposing Savile as a predatory paedophile who struck on BBC premises.
They can’t both be right. Maybe one them has misspoken or mis-remebered or whatever modish PR-made word covers this wort of thing?
In an article for Spectator Life magazine, Mr Jones said: “A BBC colleague abused as a child wrote to Tony Hall [director general] to complain about the Savile affair. In his email he says he approached Yentob just after Panorama broadcast a film about whether or not there had been a cover-up at the BBC. He claims that Yentob denounced us. ‘Liz MacKean and Meirion Jones are traitors to the BBC,’ Yentob told him.”
So much for Cole’s “exclusive”.
The story in The Spectator’s new offshoot is called “The Pasha of Portland Place“.
…I heard Alan Yentob had been seen prowling the corridors, leaning on Newsnight, haranguing the reporter Lucy Manning and escorting Camila Batmanghelidjh into the Today studio. After Savile, it should have been abundantly clear that managers shouldn’t interfere with investigations close to home, but here was Yentob trying to influence the Batmangate probe into the charity he chaired. It also felt a bit like the Panorama investigation in 2013 into Comic Relief’s dodgy investments. That was delayed after celebrities appealed to the great and the good in the BBC.
A BBC colleague of mine who had been abused as a child wrote to Tony Hall to complain about the Savile affair. In his email (copied to me) he says he approached Yentob just after Panorama broadcast a film about whether or not there had been a cover-up at the BBC (the film included clips of Liz MacKean and me talking about what the BBC knew). He claims that Yentob denounced us. ‘Liz MacKean and Meirion Jones are traitors to the BBC,’ Yentob told him. He strongly denies saying this, but it wouldn’t be the first time he had complained about people breaking the BBC’s code of omertà.
The BBC will eat itself.