Jimmy Savile - Newsnight Savilegate is the Cause of 'Regret and Embarrassment' to BBC and George Entwhistle
Last night, a Panorama special, based on the rising allegations against Jimmy Savile and the BBC, aired on BBC1 and attempted to shed light on the story, as well as try to uncover why the Jimmy Savile investigation went un-aired on Newsnight late last year.
The program showed before unseen footage and interviews with ex-BBC employees and some of Savile's victims, most notably Karin Ward, who bravely spoke to Newsnight while she was battling cancer during 2011. She was understandably infuriated by the cancellation of the program. “I went through all that stress when I needed to concentrate on getting well” She said “...and then they didn't use it”.
Today in response to all the allegations, as well as the rising heat on the BBC, Director General George Entwhistle was grilled by MPs for a full two hours in further attempts to understand what went wrong. Sky reports him describing Savile as a "skilful and successful sexual predator who covered his tracks”. He said "There's no question that what Jimmy Savile did and the way the BBC behaved ... the culture and practices of the BBC seems to allow Jimmy Savile to do what he did, will raise questions of trust for us and reputation for us. It is a gravely serious matter and one cannot look back at it with anything but horror that his activities went on as long as they did undetected. Of course, that is a matter of grave regret to me. It does go to the heart of the question of the BBC’s own integrity and trust in the BBC."
Entwhistle also concluded that Peter Rippon, Newsnight editor, should never have cancelled the broadcast of this education and put the decision down to a 'breakdown of communication'.