Savile scandal: BBC paedophile ring claim in 'grim' Panorama

Documentary reports claims that Top of the Pops was a centre of abuse and Savile targeted both boys and girls

LAST UPDATED AT 09:23 ON Tue 23 Oct 2012

A PANORAMA investigation into the Jimmy Savile scandal has aired allegations that Top of the Pops was a centre of child abuse.

The hour-long special made "gripping television", according to The Daily Telegraph, as it investigated why Newsnight had dropped an expose of Savile shortly after his death. Panorama came up with what the Daily Mail called more "damning allegations" against the late presenter.

The most startling claim in the programme appeared to come from lawyer Liz Dux, who represents some of Savile's victims. She said that Savile had targeted both boys and girls and that when victims came forward no action was taken.

She even hinted that something darker might have been happening at the BBC.

"There are some quite serious allegations that a paedophile ring was operating," she said.

"The programme reported allegations that the Top of the Pops programme was a centre of abuse - and that Savile was not the only one involved," explained the BBC itself in its news report about the documentary.

Panorama spoke to former BBC staff who confirmed that rumours about Savile's behaviour were rife, but little was done.

DJ Paul Gambaccini was one person who explained why he never took action. "I, a junior DJ, am supposed to get up there and say my senior is a perv? They are going to laugh at me. It never occurred to me."

The programme also heard from victims of Savile, who told how he abused them. One boy, who was nine at the time, told how he was taken into a dressing room by Savile and abused in return for a Jim'll Fix It badge.

Also on the show, two Newsnight reporters, Meirion Jones and Liz MacKean, spoke out about their investigation into Savile, which ended up being canned. They claimed that Peter Rippon, the Newsnight editor who stood down over allegations of a cover up earlier this week, suddenly went cold on the story.

MacKean disputed later claims about the reason for the report being pulled. "The story we were investigating was very clear cut. It was about Jimmy Savile being a paedophile," she said. While Jones insisted that Rippon was told several times that the report was not about a police investigation into Savile, but into the presenter himself.

"We still weren't given a convincing explanation as to why Rippon decided to pull the Newsnight investigation," said the Telegraph. "But this Panorama was nonetheless a game-changing piece of journalism – and all the more compelling, in a car-crash kind of way, because it was made by one bit of the BBC about another."

The Independent agreed. "Last night's film was grim and depressing – but it was also very difficult to think of any other organisation, media or otherwise, that would have exposed itself to such a painful self-laceration. It's not over by a long stretch but Panorama may have started to restore some trust." · 

Disqus - noscript

That episode of Panorama was exactly like the investigation that the Sunday Times conducted into phone-hacking by The News of the World, wasn't it? Ah... oh.

Paul Gambaccini seems confused. Even if he was a 'junior DJ' he should have reported, as he claims, that Savile was a serial abuser.
Yet he cheerfully says his career was more important. It seems of no concern to Gambaccini (and many others) that his silence led to more abuse.
In the meantime he blames the BBC as though he had no part in keeping the secret.
Did it never occur to Gambaccini that he, Rantzen and all the others who claim knowledge of Savile's abuse to come together and discuss the matter and raise their concerns with the proper authorities-the police ?
Or where their careers more important than the children.?

I'm sure that there will be many footsoldiers at the BBC who are absolutely mortified at what's been happening, but the Corporation is carrying out a classic exercise in managing bad news by breaking it itself. I suspect there's much worse to come.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.