Exaro News Archive

BBC staff to Janet Smith: we heard of Jimmy Savile’s exploits

More than 100 corporation employees were aware of star’s predatory sexual conduct

By David Hencke, Alex Varley-Winter, Mark Watts and Tim Wood | 20 January 2016

BBC staff to Janet Smith: we heard of Jimmy Savile’s exploitsBBC staff to Janet Smith: we heard of Jimmy Savile’s exploitsMore than 100 BBC employees told Dame Janet Smith’s inquiry that they had heard about Sir Jimmy Savile’s predatory sexual conduct, Exaro can reveal.

In a draft of Smith’s report on her “review”, which condemns BBC culture over the paedophile scandal and has been leaked to Exaro, the retired judge says that many at the broadcaster heard “rumours and stories” about its late star presenter although, she adds, “a lot did not.”

Smith writes: “The rumour most generally heard in the BBC was that Savile was sexually attracted to young girls. Only a few heard that he was attracted to young boys.”

“Roughly 18 per cent understood him to be interested in pre-pubertal girls, under the age of 13. About 30 per cent thought that he was interested in pubertal but underage girls in the 13-15 age range, about 23 per cent thought he was interested in the 16-17 age group.”

Some thought that he was interested in young women over the age of 18, while others assumed that he was gay, she says. Some thought that he was asexual.

“Most of those who heard rumours about Savile’s sexual life did not appear to have been shocked by them. Many seem to have regarded them as amusing.

“No one to whom we spoke ever thought that he or she ought to report such a rumour to a person in authority. Most people who had heard the rumours assumed that other people had also heard them. Some also assumed that the BBC management must be aware of Savile’s reputation and did not think it was for them to do anything about it.”

Some rumours among BBC staff were very specific. “Perhaps the most surprising was that several people (about five or six) heard that Savile was a necrophiliac.

“Some heard that he was a paedophile. Others heard that he liked to have sex with disabled people. Some heard that he took girls to his caravan for sex. Others heard that he took girls to his flat near Regent’s Park. One thought that the police were interested in him as a paedophile.”

Peter Scott-Morgan, a BBC consultant in 2003, spoke to many staff members while trying to establish what the unwritten rules of behaviour were at the broadcaster. Smith writes: “Dr Scott-Morgan would use Savile as an example of a member of the talent who, in the past, had been able to get away with unacceptable behaviour – in his case sexual conduct with young girls.

“He had been previously unaware of rumours about Savile but had picked them up during the course of his interviews with BBC staff. Dr Scott-Morgan found that a significant proportion of people to whom he mentioned Savile immediately knew what he was talking about. In other words, the suggestion that Savile had got away with inappropriate sexual behaviour was not news to them.

“Some would respond by mentioning their own awareness of rumours about Savile, such as that he was thought to be a necrophiliac.”

In this second package of pieces, Exaro today reveals how Smith’s draft report:

We also publish the key extracts from the Smith report’s chapters on perceptions of Savile in the BBC, his sexual activities linked to the broadcaster, awareness within Jim’ll Fix It of Savile’s predatory behaviour, and the public warnings signs that went unheeded.

In three more packages of pieces today, Exaro’s disturbing disclosures from Smith’s draft report include evidence of sexual abuse of children at Top of the Pops.

The BBC failed to spot public warning signs even though these initially blocked a knighthood for Savile.

The BBC has known of Smith’s devastating criticisms for over a year.

Many of Jimmy Savile’s sexual attacks linked directly to BBC

Related Stories : Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread

By Exaro News

Exaro News investigates matters of public interest and seeks to uncover the truth.