I normally reserve this blog for formal research reference points, but today I’m going to break my rules slightly because I’m incensed by the findings of the Smith Review and so angry on behalf of the victims who have been wronged… again. Yet again the BBC has been absolved of any real responsibility for abuse that took place on their premises/elsewhere and by their staff, although they have come in for some damning criticism. You only have to search Google to be “rewarded” with a lengthy list of articles that embroil different people from BBC in abuse of all sorts.
Secondly I apologise for the length of this blog. The review is extensive as is my own research and I want to include as much as I can. As always, if there is anything omitted or wrong, please contact me so that I can include it or put the record straight.
The Dame Janet Smith Review
The Review can be read here: Dame Janet Smith Review
Here are the main findings of the review:
- Dame Janet was given no formal powers to insist on senior managers to give evidence. Therefore there was unheard evidence.
- Some BBC staff were aware of Savile’s inappropriate sexual conduct.
- Savile would satisfy himself sexually on BBC premises whenever the opportunity arose.
- There was a culture of fear at the BBC that still exists today.
- Complaints by girls were ignored and the girls were regarded as a “nuisance”.
- A junior female employee was told to “keep your mouth shut, he’s a VIP” when she alerted her supervisor that she had been sexually assaulted by Savile.
- BBC staff missed a number of opportunities dating back to 1960s to stop Savile’s sexual offending.
- Dame Janet states that although certain junior and middle-ranking staff at BBC were aware of Savile’s abuse, she found no evidence to suggest that the BBC as a corporate body were made aware.
- Savile sexually assaulted 72 people (male and female) in connection with his work for BBC dating back to 1959.
- Stuart Hall had 21 victims, whose offending dates back to 1960s, Dame Linda Dobbs found.
- Eight rapes on BBC premises.
- Dame Janet heard evidence that Savile offended in virtually every one of the BBC premises at which he worked.
- Eight complaints were made against Savile to the BBC by the late 1960s but were either brushed off or not escalated.
- Savile abused a girl in front of tv cameras on Top of the Pops in 1976. Her complaint was “shrugged off”.
- Ian Hampton attempted to alert staff after appearing on TOTP and not only hearing rumours about Savile abusing young girls, but he also spotted Savile leaving the studio with a young girl. He was told not to be silly. He also reported it to Robert Nash (producer) but was told not be “so ridiculous”.
- There was a culture of not reporting complaints from 1970s-1990s.
- There is a particular fear of whistleblowing at BBC.
- ‘Members of the Talent’ were almost exempt and protected from complaint due to feelings of reverence and fear of losing their jobs.
- Found no evidence that senior management were alerted to the offending.
- If some people had acted on their concerns, Savile could have been stopped sooner.
- In 1970s, Canon Semper appeared on a programme with Savile, was subsequently promoted to Head of Religious Programming. Although he didn’t know Savile was a prolific abuser, he admitted that he did “think” that Savile was having casual sex with underage girls (abuse, then!) yet failed to report those concerns.
- In 1973 Douglas Muggeridge (Controller of Radio 1 & 2) heard rumours about Savile and set up a meeting that included Savile amongst others. Savile denied any truth to the rumours and was believed. However, the Inquiry has found that Muggeridge’s concerns were for the reputation of the BBC rather than welfare of children.
- BBC radio publicity officer, Rodney Collins, also investigated but could find no evidence.
- The BBC were alerted by news articles in 1969 and 1971 (Payola scandal).
- It cannot be ruled out that a prolific sex abuser could be lurking within the BBC even today.
- Most importantly, both Dame Janet and Dame Linda formally acknowledge that victims must not blame themselves for what happened or for not reporting it.
Savile Cover Up
I knew about Savile’s depravity back in the 1990s, when a lone person had a website outing him as a pervert. It was removed from the internet twice. After the first time, the person concerned stated that they had been warned off. So if little ol’ me and others knew in the 1990s about allegations against Savile, I absolutely refuse to be believe that staff at managerial level and above at the BBC were oblivious to his repugnant sexual proclivities. The reporting and admissions are relentless:
- Terry Wogan knew: Daily Mirror
- Esther Rantzen, head of Childline, knew: Video explanation by Esther Rantzen
- Jill Dando knew: Daily Express 2014
- Savile’s connection to the Islington care home scandal: Daily Telegraph 2014
- Meic Stevens knew: Wales Online – 2012
- First BBC compensation payment to victim: Daily Express 2015
- Jim’ll Fix It and paedophile Keith Harding’s appearance: Huffington Post: 2014
- Savile’s satanic abuse: Daily Express: 2013
- Savile’s nephew speaks out: Daily Mail: 2012
- Was there a paedophile ring at BBC?: Daily Mail: 2012
- Police probe possible links between Heath, Savile & Jaconelli: ITV News: 2015
- Savile’s police protectors & the Friday Morning Club: Daily Mirror: 2013
- Stuart Hall’s victim was raped 30 times: Independent: 2014
- MP says that TV chiefs knew about Savile: Daily Express: 2013
- Crucial victim not interviewed by Dame Janet: RT: 2015
- More Savile drivers linked: Daily Mirror: 2015
What about others?
- Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman: Daily Mail: 2013
- Payola and BBC DJs and producers: Montreal Gazette 1973
- Kenny Lynch’s ‘heavies’: Glasgow Herald: 1973
- BBC executive ‘filmed Dutch abuse movies’: Daily Express: 2014
The Payola Scandal
Here is a selection of old newspaper articles concerning the Payola scandal which embroiled BBC DJs and producers: Payola, Janie Jones, Savile & BBC
Here is my previous blog entry all about Payola from last year: Scepticpeg Payola November 2015
Last night it was confirmed that veteran DJ Tony Blackburn has been sacked by the BBC. The papers state it was because he was DJ referred to within the Smith Review as DJ A7 who was implicated in the suicide of 15 year old Clair McAlpine: Clair McAlpine’s diary of abuse at the hands of BBC ‘stars’
However, Tony Blackburn has released a statement claiming he was sacked because of the evidence he gave to Dame Janet, which contradicted the BBC’s evidence. Blackburn’s denial
Stuart Hall, on the other hand, has vowed to take revenge on his victims: Daily Mirror – February 2016
Variety Club of Great Britain