A passage in the long awaited report into Jimmy Savile’s sexual abuse of underaged children whilst employed by the BBC stated that one of the former disc jockey’s victims had been told to “Keep your mouth shut, he’s a V.I.P.” Comments like this one appear throughout the 1220 page review undertaken by retired judge, Dame Janet Smith who accuses the BBC of enabling the monstrous behaviour of its’ star presenter, Sir Jimmy Savile for decades! The fact that suspicions about Savile’s sexual predilictions had been aired repeatedly since the late 1960s and had first been reported in the most popular Sunday newspaper at that time, the News of the World in 1971 raises the question, why was the BBC protecting Savile? Why was it deemed okay for a V.I.P. [ very important person ] to indulge in behaviour that many of his associates and employers knew about and would otherwise have viewed as being both criminal and sexually corrupt had the perpetrator not been a V.I.P.? It’s a difficult question to answer and it’s not made any easier by the fact that Savile’s behaviour was allowed to go unchallenged for so long. In fact, had the V.I.P. in question not died in 2011 , it would probably still be going on which is a horrible thought however, all evidence suggests that paedophiles do not retire at sixty-five or even later.
I briefly mentioned in my previous blog, the role of “The Establishment” in Britain. How it controls everything from our political system to the price of bread and whilst, it is often near impossible to hold the Establishment to account, the BBC is, arguably, perceived to be a fully paid-up member of that elite club. The broadcaster is therefore, responsible to both the Establishment and to the general public who pay for the privilege of watching or listening to programmes broadcast by the BBC. The general public are not V.I.P.s though and are unlikely to be given the same consideration as say, one of the corporation’s popular broadcasters. Now, I’m not suggesting that Jimmy Savile was a member of The Establishment, or was he? He was given a knighthood for his charitable work, after all and he certainly had influential friends he could call upon. However, Sir James Savile came from a very humble background. He was born just outside Leeds into a poor, working-class family but rather than go down ‘pit like his brothers, he chose to manage dance-halls and he was good at it. I used to see him around Leeds all the time before he joined the BBC and I thought he was a great guy but not now, obviously. Andy Kershaw, another BBC Radio presenter who has had his own share of problems over the years although none involving underage girls or boys, said yesterday that Savile had no interest in music which is certainly not true. Jimmy introduced me to a lot of great music including Tamla Motown, The Beatles and The Stones long before people such as Kershaw appeared.
The case against Savile however, became overwhelming. He was a voracious sexual predator who considered himself to be untouchable. The disc jockey, despite being almost universally cited as being “a bit weird” by his former colleagues in the media, made friends in very high places indeed including the former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, Church and Business leaders, The NHS, The Tory Party and ironically, the late Elvis Presley who was also fond of under-age girls. Canon Colin Semper, a producer in the BBC’s religious broadcasting department has recently claimed that Savile was having casual sex with a large number of women, some of whom might have been underage. The canon appears to have kept this knowledge to himself for the past thirty years or so however, to be fair to the clergyman, he wasn’t the only one covering up his friend’s “misdemeanours”. There are so many examples of BBC employees being aware of Savile’s sexual appetite for young girls. One of the production assistants on the popular Jim’ll Fix It Show, claimed that whenever a young participant on the show was described as being “just sixteen years of age”, Savile’s eyes would light up and he would be heard to shout out “legal, legal”! Dame Janet Smith, not surprisingly, said that it was amazing that it never occurred to them [the producers] that Savile was not a suitable role model for the young audiences of the television show. I am not aware of how she feels about the hospital managers, care home staff, church leaders etc. who also allowed Sir Jimmy close access to vulnerable young women and girls but I would hope that it’s a little more than simply being amazed.
The Director-General of the BBC, Lord Hall [The Establishment again] has responded to Dame Janet’s report with a full and heartfelt apology for something that had been going on for decades. Not all of it under his watch of course but, a significant amount. One thing that puzzles me however, is why Lord Hall feels the need to call upon the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children [ NSPCC] to provide advice on how it can improve its’ child protection policies. Surely, such a body would have been involved with the broadcaster for years, or, at least since they began making programmes designed specifically for children? I’ve been involved in organisations that require a child protection policy and they are always highly scrutinised regardless of how small the organisation might be so why should the BBC be any different? Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC said that Dame Janet’s report showed how “disturbingly easy” it was for Savile to “get away, unchallenged, with despicable acts against children at the BBC”. I wonder just how many more Saviles remain out there however, I was taken aback by a suggestion in Dame Janet’s report/review that not only was Sir Jimmy a predatory paedophile but he was also lazy! Yes, as if it wasn’t bad enough for Savile to be a serial abuser of young girls and children, the man was also an idle git! Apparently, he hardly ever visited the television studio, did not personally select the”Fixes” and only recorded the spoken links for his Radio One programmes, leaving the producer to link the words and music together. Dame Janet might be surprised to learn that this is how most presenters operate however, I’m not saying that Savile wasn’t lazy, just that he was obviously busy doing other things.