BBC boss knew Jimmy Savile was a paedophile two years ago, report reveals
A REPORT looking into the shelved Newsnight expose into child sex abuse by Jimmy Savile has revealed emails were sent to the director general warning him of the TV presenter’s infatuation with children.
BBC chiefs told director general George Entwistle of Jimmy Savile’s sordid past before the pervert died, a damning report revealed yesterday.
But the corporation chief claims he never read the warning sent in a 2010 email by then head of events Nick Vaughan-Barratt.
And he insisted he missed one from commissioning editor Jan Younghusband after Savile died, telling him of the DJ’s “darker side” as they prepared an obituary.
The report also told how executives hatched a plot to defend Entwistle over the decision to shelve a Newsnight investigation of Savile.
And it branded the Beeb’s handling of the scandal as “one of the worst management crises in its history”.
The report, by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard, led to a string of bosses being sidelined yesterday. But no one was sacked.
It said the BBC’s management system had “proved completely incapable” of dealing with the scandal and the decision to axe the Savile story was “flawed”.
The report said Vaughan-Barratt sent an email in May 2010 to Entwistle about Savile that read: “My first job in TV was on a JS show.
“I saw the complex and sometimes conflicting nature of the man at first hand. I’d feel v queasy about an obit. I saw the real truth.”
And on the day after Savile’s death in October 2011, Younghusband wrote: “I gather we didn’t prepare the obit because of the darker side of the story.”
Pollard said the emails were a “missed opportunity” and that they raised serious questions for Entwistle, who was controller of knowledge commissioning at the time.
But the former boss, who quit after 54 days in the job with a £450,000 pay-off, maintained to Pollard he had never read the emails.
A forensic examination of email accounts controlled by Entwistle found details from Younghusband appeared as “read”. But it was not possible to tell if they were read by Entwistle or an assistant.
Entwistle last night claimed the report made it clear he “played no part in determining the fate of the Newsnight expose on Savile”.
Damning evidence also came in texts sent between BBC press officers designed to save Entwistle after Newsnight editor Peter Rippon wrote a blog on why the Savile story was ditched.
The exchange came weeks after ITV exposed the presenter as a paedophile.
Pollard said: “It is clear to me that by October 22 the blog had been transformed into a document regarded by some as a means of insulating the director general.”
Savile’s ex-producer Ted Beston, 76, was arrested yesterday and quizzed on suspicion of sex offences.