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We never heard Savile gossip – bosses

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Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile

Top BBC executives denied ever having heard about Jimmy Savile's sex crimes despite Jeremy Paxman's claim they were "common gossip".

Both former director-general Mark Thompson and director of news Helen Boaden told an internal BBC inquiry they had never heard any rumours about the DJ and presenter.

The details were included in thousands of pages of evidence gathered during an inquiry by ex-Sky executive Nick Pollard

It was set up last year to investigate if management failings were behind Newsnight's decision to drop its Savile investigation in December 2011, weeks before a Christmas tribute was broadcast.

ITV's revelations about Savile sparked a major criminal investigation and focused attention on what police described as decades of predatory sexual crimes committed by the star.

Mr Thompson told the inquiry he had been approached about the Newsnight investigation by BBC journalist Caroline Hawley during a Christmas drinks party in 2011.

 

phrase

He said: "I remember seeing Caroline at the party because I had seen her in Tripoli, in Libya some period shortly before. But the phrase that stuck in my mind is, 'You must be worried about the Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile'."

Mr Thompson said the "casual remark" had not worried him because "at this point the name doesn't ring alarm bells".

The emails released yesterday show that a date had been pencilled in for the screening of the Newsnight investigation, until editor Peter Rippon decided the report needed to focus on whether the Crown Prosecution Service had dropped a probe into Savile's activities.

In one email, BBC executive Nick Vaughan-Barratt said he felt uncomfortable preparing a BBC obituary for Savile.

He wrote: "I'd feel v queasy about obit. I saw the real truth."

Acting director-general Tim Davie said: "It is important that the BBC now moves forward with the lessons learned."

hnews@herald.ie


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