Radio 1 boss knew about Jimmy Savile rumours in 1970s


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The BBC boss who oversaw Sir Jimmy Savile's popular Radio 1 shows in the early 1970s knew of allegations of sexual abuse involving the Top of The Pops presenter, it has emerged.

The late Douglas Muggeridge, a former Radio 1 controller, asked BBC staff to find out whether newspapers were following up sexual assault claims against the star in 1973, according to former press officer Rodney Collins.

"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," said Mr Collins, adding that nothing could be proven.

New abuse claims have emerged in the run-up to the ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, which aired last night. In the hour-long show, Sue Thompson, who was a newsroom assistant at BBC Leeds, said she walked in on Jimmy Saville indecently assaulting a teenage girl in his dressing room in the mid-1970s. The footage prompted Esther Rantzen to admit her guilt over ignoring "gossip" about Savile.

Having previously issued a statement that the BBC was "horrified" by the emerging allegations, a spokesman for the broadcaster said in response to Mr Collins's new claims: "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 its files and has not found any written record of misconduct or allegations of misconduct by Jimmy Savile during his time at the BBC."

On Tuesday, a historic rape allegation made against Sir Jimmy was referred to Scotland Yard by police in Surrey. Yesterday, Sussex Police confirmed that a complaint of sexual assault against Savile by a 59-year-old woman in 2008 was dropped because she was "unwilling to co-operate in any investigation". The attack allegedly took place in Worthing in 1970.

As the onslaught of concerns from former colleagues and the stories of alleged victims continued, the public backlash began.

A memorial gold plaque in Scarborough, where the presenter had a home, was adorned with graffiti. Now, underneath the words "entertainer and philanthropist", it reads: "rapist" and "paedophile".

A statue of the star has also been taken down in Glasgow.

Former singer Coleen Nolan has claimed Savile asked her to join him at a hotel after a Top Of The Pops recording when she was 14.