Jimmy Savile - Panorama, What the BBC Knew. in The News Where You Are - Page 1
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Jimmy Savile - Panorama, What the BBC Knew.
« on: October 21, 2012, 10:11:25 PM »
It's on tomorrow at 10.35pm, the day before George Entwistle appears before the DCMS.

The excellent Steve Hewlett outlines some of the facts the BBC need to fess up about in this piece http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/oct/21/jimmy-savile-bbc

Whilst Dan Sabbagh celebrates the wonder of 'the BBC' being able to criticise 'itself' in public, in this piece http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/oct/21/bbc-able-to-criticise

And in another piece gives glimpses of what we can expect in the programme.


Newsnight journalists were worried the programme's editor, Peter Rippon, was feeling under pressure from his bosses to axe an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by the one-time BBC star Jimmy Savile.

As barely hidden internal tensions at the BBC burst into the open, a Newsnight reporter, Liz MacKean, told a BBC Panorama programme due to be broadcast on Monday that she believed Rippon would not support the nearly prepared film. Writing in an email to a friend at the time, on 30 November of last year, MacKean said what she thought was really going on: "PR [Peter Rippon] says if the bosses aren't happy [he] can't go to the wall on this one."

The programme, which will air at 10.35pm, details how much information the Newsnight team had on Savile in which one woman, Karin Ward, had been filmed saying she had been abused by the Jim'll Fix It presenter in the 1970s.

A script had been prepared by Newsnight last November, in which three unnamed former pupils at Duncroft Approved School in Staines said they also had been abused by Savile. There was also a report of sexual abuse of a teenager at Stoke Mandeville hospital.

Had the Newsnight film run, the BBC2 programme would have been the first to reveal that Savile was linked to sexual abuse. Instead, earlier this month, an ITV documentary was first to expose Savile whose teenage victims, the Met police said earlier this week, may number in excess of 200.

Speaking on the Panorama programme, the veteran BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson says: "This is the worst crisis that I can remember in my nearly 50 years at the BBC. I don't think the BBC has handled it terribly well.

"I mean I think it's better to just come out right at the start and say we're going to open everything up and then we're going to show everybody everything.

"All we have as an organisation is the trust of the people the people that watch us and listen to us and if we don't have that, if we start to lose that, that's very dangerous I think for the BBC." Panorama also reports that Helen Boaden, the BBC's head of news, knew enough about Newsnight's Savile investigation at the beginning of December 2011 to warn George Entwistle, who is now the BBC's director general.

She told Entwistle who was responsible for the BBC's TV channels that if the Savile film aired, he would probably have to drop planned Christmas tributes to the BBC star, who had died the previous October. That conversation is said to have lasted no more than a few seconds, with Entwistle apparently asking no further questions.

Entwistle, a former editor of Newsnight himself, has consistently said that he was "aware" of the programme's Savile investigation but asked no questions about its detail, believing it was not his place to interfere in the work of another department of the BBC.

Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, were consulted by Rippon as the Newsnight investigation developed rapidly during November of 2011. The investigation was run by the producer Meirion Jones and MacKean, both of whom have co-operated with the Panorama's programme on the BBC's inner workings.

Neither the current director general, Entwistle, nor Boaden or Mitchell have given evidence to Panorama, with the BBC saying they must co-operate with an independent inquiry being run by Nick Pollard, a former head of Sky News. But Entwistle is appearing before MPs on the culture select committee on Tuesday morning, hours after Panorama airs, with the programme placing a spotlight on what, if anything, he knew about Savile and the Newsnight film.

Rippon has always maintained that he decided to drop the Savile film for "editorial reasons". Panorama says it has found "no evidence" to contradict that statement, but the Monday programme details an abrupt change of heart by Rippon, using emails sent by him to Jones and MacKean.

On 25 November 2011, the Newsnight editor was so pleased with progress that he emailed: "Excellent, we can then pull together the tx [transmission or broadcast] plan". But on 30 November, Rippon suddenly asked that the journalists demonstrate that the Crown Prosecution Service had chosen not to charge Savile after a Surrey police inquiry in 2007 because of his age, when he would have been 80.

Unable to get such a confirmation from the CPS, Rippon decided to axe the programme, telling the team on the next day, 1 December, that "we don't really have a strong enough story without it. I'll pull editing now" in an email sent to Jones. An intense behind the scenes argument followed, but the film was halted. Jones told Panorama that he believed the Savile abuse story would emerge and that by surpressing it, "the BBC would be accused of a cover-up. In fact I wrote an email to Peter saying 'the story is strong enough' and the danger of not running it is 'substantial damage to BBC reputation'."

There are also allegations from Jones that Rippon was not accurate when he explained why he pulled the Newsnight film in a blog post written on the BBC website. Rippon said that Newsnight had found "no new evidence" that would have helped the police in their inquiries about Savile.

But Newsnight's key interviewee, Ward, had told Newsnight in November 2011 that she'd also seen Gary Glitter having sex with an underage girl in Savile's BBC dressing room. Ward told Newsnight at the time that she had not gone to the police with what she knew, and according to Jones, Rippon was "reminded many times" that was the case. The argument left a bitter taste within Newsnight at the time, but the programme is now being torn apart by the dispute as each side engages in what appears to be hostile briefing. There was further unhappiness when two Sunday newspapers reported that Jones was unwilling to air evidence that could have incriminated his aunt, who worked at Duncroft school when Savile visited. Jones denies the allegation, saying that he would not have begun the investigation if he was not prepared to be honest about his aunt.



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Re: Jimmy Savile - Panorama, What the BBC Knew.
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2012, 10:37:16 PM »

However, the facts are these.

1, Newsnight were in receipt of serious allegations about Saville .

2, The top of senior management at the BBC were informed.

3, Tributes to Saville were then aired.

4,No action was taken by the BBC for 11 months, and then only because the allegations were aired by ITV.

5, Because of the ITV broadcast there is now a very serious criminal investigation by the police.

These are the facts.

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