BBC chief pledges investigation into Savile allegations


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The Independent Online

The BBC faced calls last night to begin an immediate inquiry into whether staff covered up knowledge that Jimmy Savile sexually abused young girls.

The corporation made a U-turn yesterday and announced that it would conduct its own investigation, but only once detectives have finished their inquiries.

The Metropolitan Police, with assistance from five other forces, are looking into claims that one of the BBC's biggest personalities was a sex predator who regularly assaulted and raped teenage girls between the 1960s and late-1980s.

The allegations have rocked the BBC and has plunged the corporation's new director-general, George Entwistle, into the middle of a crisis. Multiple allegations against Savile were broadcast in an ITV investigation last week prompting a number of veteran media personalities to come forward and allege that sexual abuse and harassment of young women was frighteningly commonplace across the light entertainment industry at the time. Comedian Sandi Toksvig, former Radio One presenter Liz Kershaw and the columnist Janet Street-Porter have all said that they were groped by men while working in television, or knew that it happened.

Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East, has written to the chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, urging him to ensure the BBC is totally transparent about the allegations. He said there was no reason why the BBC could not proceed with a wider investigation into the culture at the Corporation while the police investigation into the Savile allegations was ongoing.