Key extracts: setting up Jimmy Savile review, BBC’s culture and summary of report
By David Hencke, Alex Varley-Winter and Mark Watts | 20 January 2016
Exaro publishes key extracts from Dame Janet Smith’s conclusions and indictment of BBC culture in her inquiry report on Sir Jimmy Savile’s paedophile activities.
In this first of five packages of pieces, Exaro reports on the conclusions of Smith’s inquiry. With this piece, we publish the key extracts from chapter 1 on setting up the “review”; chapter 2 on the BBC’s management culture; the summary, conclusions, and afterword.
“Savile was ‘as crafty as a cartload of monkeys’” – Jim Moir, head of variety, BBC television, cited in Smith report
Click on the links below to download PDFs of extracts from Smith’s draft report.
Chapter 2 points out that, a few days after ordering the Savile review in October 2012, the BBC also commissioned Dinah Rose to investigate sexual harassment at the broadcaster.
Smith says that passages of Rose’s report, which also covered the handling of complaints and concerns, bullying and whistleblowing “correlate closely” with evidence that she had also received.
In her concluding chapter, Smith criticises the failure at the BBC to share concerns across different departments or sections of the broadcaster. She writes: “The sense of separation could be coupled with a sense of superiority among one group over another group. The most obvious example of this was the separation between radio and television.”
“Even within each of those two main arms of the organisation, feelings of separation from and superiority to other departments were quite common. At the bottom of the scale, there was the sense of loyalty to a single programme.”
“All this would be fairly harmless save that it seems to have led to a reluctance to share information. An example of this was that, in 1973, when Douglas Muggeridge (then controller of BBC Radios 1 and 2) was concerned about rumours of Savile’s bad behaviour with young girls, it appears that he did not mention this to anyone in television.
“I am not saying that the outcome would have been any different if he had done so, but who knows? There might have been someone senior in television who had similar concerns and discussing the problem might have resulted in a different outcome.”
Muggeridge was controller of Radio 1 and 2 from 1969 to 1976. He went on to other senior positions in BBC radio before he died at the age of 56 in 1985.
Smith continues: “I am quite satisfied that interviewing Savile about the BBC’s concerns would have been fruitless.”
She refers to comments by Jim Moir, head of variety and then light entertainment for BBC television from 1982 to 1993: “As Mr Moir said to the review when discussing the possibility of an interview, he said that Savile was ‘as crafty as a cartload of monkeys’ and he would have got nowhere.”
Derek Chinnery, as head of programmes for Radio 1 in 1973, asked Savile about rumours of inappropriate behaviour with girls. She says: “Mr Chinnery got nowhere when he asked Savile about the rumours in 1973.” Chinnery died in March 2015.
If an investigation had taken place in Radio 1 then or at BBC1 10 years later, says Smith, “nothing would have emerged that could have warranted a report to the police.”
She continues: “It would, however, have provided information that would have increased rather than allayed any BBC concerns about Savile’s potential for causing reputational damage.
“What should the BBC have done in light of that information?”
“The BBC can and sometimes does allow people’s profile to be gradually reduced and then to disappear. This happened to Savile’s position in BBC Radio 1 in the mid-1980’s, although not on the grounds of concern about his conduct, only because he was losing his audience appeal.”
Exaro also today publishes a series of other revelations from Smith’s report, including:
- devastating details of the sheer scale of awareness within the BBC of Savile’s activities;
- disturbing disclosures about sexual abuse of children at Radio 1 and Top of the Pops;
- and questions about why Lady Thatcher, as prime minister, persisted with proposing a knighthood for him.
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