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Reports says some BBC staff knew of Savile's "dark side"

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012 - 02:12

Dec. 19 - The BBC did not put pressure on its flagship news show to drop a sex expose into Jimmy Savile but staff emails published by an inquiry showed that some knew about a ''darker side'' to the former star even as they prepared a tribute programme. Andrew Potter reports.

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For months the BBC has been in crisis. Britain's largest broadcaster is accused of killing off a report by its own journalists that alleged entertainer Jimmy Savile was a serial sex offender, so the corporation could broadcast a tribute show about him instead. An independent inquiry into those events was published on Wednesday. Chris Patten is chairman of the BBC Trust, which governs the publicly-funded broadcaster. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRIS PATTEN, CHAIRMAN OF BBC TRUST, SAYING: "That was clearly an extremely serious allegation, which went right to the heart of the BBC's reputation, integrity and the trust which we depend on. We took the allegations exceptionally seriously." Savile was once one of the UK's most popular entertainers. Police suspect him of 199 crimes, mostly involving children, including 31 rapes. He died last year without ever being charged. The report concluded BBC management did not pressure its flagship news programme Newsnight into dropping a story exposing Savile, But it did say some staff knew about a "darker side" to him. Nick Pollard, the former editor of the BBC's rival Sky News, wrote the report. (SOUNDBITE) Nick Pollard, report author, saying (English): "The Newsnight investigators got the story right, they had found clear and compelling evidence that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile. The decision by their editor to drop the investigation was clearly flawed and the way it was taken was wrong. Though I believe it was done in good faith. It was not done to protect Savile tribute programme or for any improper reason." The scandal led to then BBC Director General George Entwistle resigning after less than two months in the job. Other key news management figures have moved into other roles. The report said although confidence in the BBC had suffered, it was still a widely trusted source of news. The BBC Trust accepted the report, and said it would follow its recommendations for a better management structure.

Reports says some BBC staff knew of Savile's "dark side"

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012 - 02:12

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