The BBC Director-General maintained that he has acted entirely properly over the Jimmy Savile affair despite acknowledging that he was aware that Newsnight had been planning an investigation into the entertainer before it was dropped.
George Entwistle said the allegations against the personality, named by police as a “predatory sex offender”, were “horrifying”.
Last year, Mr Entwistle, along with Helen Boaden, BBC director of news, had been alerted to the Newsnight investigation into Savile.
The proposed report was particularly sensitive since the corporation was planning a series of Christmas tribute shows to the star, who died last October.
Mr Entwistle, who was then head of the BBC’s television channels, said he did not delve further into the details of Newsnight’s planned report. “I had no idea what the nature of the investigation was,” Mr Entwistle said. “We’re setting up an internal investigation and that will establish what did happen.”
Asked whether he thought the BBC response had been correct, he told ITV News: “Yes, we went straight to the police with this as soon as we had a sense of the scale of what had been going on.”
Asked whether he believed he had acted appropriately throughout, he said: “I’m entirely convinced that I’ve done all the right things, yes, yes.”
The BBC faces claims that senior executives knew about the sex abuse claims but failed to act against one of the corporation’s most powerful personalities.
Jim Moir, a BBC entertainment executive who was in charge of Jim’ll Fix It and Top of the Pops in the 1980s, said he never received any complaint or warning about Savile’s behaviour towards under-age girls.
Jonathan Powell, the controller of BBC1 from 1987 to 1993, also said he had never heard of any complaints.
A woman has come forward to tell producers of the ITV documentary which finally exposed Savile that she was abused by a further well-known media figure when she was a child.
The television personality who is still alive has not been named. Singer Gary Glitter, 68, has been connected to the scandal. Comic Freddie Starr, 69, has vigorously denied accusations he molested a girl in Savile’s BBC dressing room when she was 14.