BBC faces calls for immediate inquiry into whether staff covered up Jimmy Savile's alleged sexual abuse of young girls

 

The BBC faces calls to begin an immediate inquiry into whether staff covered up knowledge that Jimmy Savile sexually abused young girls, instead of waiting for the police investigation to conclude.

The corporation made a U-turn today and announced that it would conduct its own investigation but only once detectives have finished their own inquiries. The Metropolitan Police, with assistance from five other forces, are looking into claims that one of the BBC’s most endearing pop personalities was a sex predator who regularly assaulted and raped teenage girls between the sixties and late eighties.

The allegations have rocked the BBC and has plunged the corporation’s new director general George Entwhistle into the midst of a crisis over concerns that a macho culture which accepted day to day sexism was once pervasive at the corporation.

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 – both within the BBC and its commercial competitors.

Television comedian Sandi Toksvig, former Radio One presenter Liz Kershaw and the columnist Janet Street-Porter have all said that they were physically groped by men while working in television or knew it happened.

“There was a culture in light entertainment that made me feel uncomfortable,” said Street-Porter, who began in commcercial television in the 1980s before moving to the BBS and later newspapers. “I was in my late 20s and there wasn’t much I could do or say about it. But I was aware of it of things going on is dressing rooms. So it’s not just a BBC thing. I think you’ll find it’s across commercial television as well.”

In a clear indication that the allegations against the now-deceased DJ were causing reputational damage to the BBC, George Entwistle yesterday made a public apology to his victims and said his organisation would conduct its own investigation into the “broad question of what was going on and whether anybody around Jimmy Savile knew what was going on.”

But he stressed that such an investigation could only go ahead once the police had finished their own inquiries.

“When the police have finished everything they have to do and when they give me an assurance that there is no danger of us in any way compromising or contaminating an investigation, I will take it further and ensure that any outstanding questions are answered properly,” he said.

He also added that modern day child protection policies at the BBC would make it impossible for someone like Savile to get away with abusing teenagers now. “It's very important that people don't think the BBC of today is anything like in character managed the way it was at the time,” he said.

However others have called for the BBC to begin an immediate investigation into whether it did enough to combat sexual harassment and assault at the time of these allegations.

Rob Wilson, a Conservative MP for Reading East, has written to has written to the chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, urging him to ensure the BBC is totally transparent in all the allegations being made.

Speaking to The Independent yesterday, he said there was no reason why the BBC couldn’t proceed with a wider investigation into the culture at the corporation while the police investigation into the Savile allegations is ongoing.

“There are two different issues one criminal the other cultural or managerial,” he said. “I want the BBC to look at the second that shouldn't interfere with the first.”

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam