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McCartney: 'There was always something suspect about Savile'

Sir Paul McCartney has become one of the first rock stars to speak about Jimmy Savile and the sexual climate of the 1960s and 1970s.

Few rock stars have said anything about their behaviour at the time, and the Savile revelations. Now the pop icon has given his thoughts, and spoken about The Beatles' friendship with Savile, in an interview with i, to be published in full tomorrow.

Sir Paul told the paper that in The Beatles' early days they were close to Savile, and travelled with him. Later at the height of Beatlemania, Savile compered their Christmas shows, but the band members "always thought there was something a little bit suspect" about him.

"It's very difficult to talk about it," Sir Paul said. "We knew Jimmy... We were coming back from a gig and he came in our van over the Pennines, we gave him a lift. We dropped him off at his place outside his house and we said, 'Can we come in for a coffee?' and he said, 'Oh no, not tonight lads'.

"When he'd gone w e thought 'Why doesn't he let us in, what is it?' because most people would have let us in that we gave a lift to. So we always thought there was something a little bit suspect."

Sir Paul also spoke about the sexual mores of the period: "It was a much more open scene – you know free love. The other aspect of course is that we, though not quite Jimmy, we were of the age of the girls, we were all young...

"The closer we were in age of course the less it seemed to matter. We knew with under-16s it was illegal, so we didn't do it."

Sir Paul said that for The Beatles: "There was a definite no-no involved in under-age kids. Hey listen, we didn't have to worry. There were plenty of over-16-year-olds."