Michael Buerk, the former BBC News reader and current Crusoe-esque I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here contestant, made a startling confession to his campmates on Wednesday.
In a particularly surreal moment with Irish model Nadia Forde, the 69-year-old broadcaster recalled missing a golden opportunity to rid the world of notorious paedophile and serial abuser Jimmy Savile when it presented itself to him.
“My other regret is standing at the rail of the QE2 with Jimmy Savile who I personally disliked intensely before everyone else did, and my regret is not tipping him over the rail while I had the chance,” he said.
Savile died in October 2011 and evaded justice for an “unprecedented” scale of sexual abuse, which led to the Metropolitan Police Service launching the formal criminal investigation Operation Yewtree into historic allegations in 2012.
It has pursued thousands of separate lines of inquiry since then, based on claims made by hundreds witnesses – from children to the mentally vulnerable – to 14 separate police forces across the UK.
Of the 589 alleged victims that came forward, 450 are believed to have been abused by Savile.
Buerk’s biggest regret in life, aside from not bumping off the TV presenter by throwing him overboard a ship, was not talking to his mother about his bigamist father before she passed away when he was a teenager.
“It was a complicated situation, really,” he continued. “He was a Canadian army officer during the Second World War and he met my mother towards the end of the war… and he married her and I was born but he neglected to point out he was already married and had a wife in Vancouver.”
His father eventually divorced his first wife, and he lived in the Canadian city until he was three.
His first memory, he said, was coming back on a ship with his mother in 1949.
Buerk also spoke movingly about meeting up with his father years later, who was dying of cancer.
“Bad decision I think,” he said. “Because I felt nothing. It was all heavy stuff.”