BBC radio producers knew of Savile activity
Jimmy Savile’s producer at BBC Radio 1 was aware of his conduct, a report by Dame Janet Smith has said.
The review identified 72 victims, including eight who were raped, and says senior management were not told because of a culture of fear that still exists.
BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead said the BBC “failed” the victims: “It turned a blind eye, where it should have shone a light. And it did not protect those who put their trust in it,” she said of Savile and Stuart Hall, who was jailed in 2013 after admitting indecently assaulting 13 girls.
Dame Janet said Savile and Hall were “serial sexual predators” and the BBC missed a total of five opportunities to stop their misconduct. She said: “Both of these men used their fame and positions as BBC celebrities to abuse the vulnerable. They must be condemned for their monstrous behaviour.”
Savile’s producer Ted Beston was named as one of the people who were aware of his activity, Dame Janet said he “knew that Savile would have casual sex with teenage and slightly older women as and when he could get it.”
The review found that there was “some evidence” that Mr Beston knew some of the girls were under 16 but that he had denied it. Ted Beston is criticised for failing to report Savile’s behaviour to more senior members of staff.
In addition, Canon Colin Semper, head of religious programmes said he clearly thought that Savile had casual sex with a lot of girls, some of whom might have been under age, yet never reported any concerns upwards.
And the late Douglas Muggeridge, controller of Radio 1 and 2 in 1973, became concerned about rumours of sexual impropriety concerning Savile and set in train two separate lines of enquiry. But Savile said there was no truth in the rumours and was believed. No further enquiries were made.
Dame Janet says: “I am surprised that (Mr Muggeridge) closed the book quite as completely as he appears to have done,” noting that she would have expected some “lingering anxiety” about the rumours and their potential damage to the BBC’s reputation.
“Had discreet enquiries of BBC radio staff been made, a number would have come forward with information which would at least have given significant cause for concern about Savile.”
The youngest victim of a sexual assault by Savile was eight years old.
The radio industry radio station, inRadio, discussed the review earlier today. Listen below.