Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dame Janet Smith on Jimmy Savile and the BBC

If the subject matter of Dame Janet Smith's report into Jimmy Savile and the BBC were not so serious, he conclusions would be funny.

Exaro, which has a leaked draft copy of her report, tells us:
In this second package of pieces, Exaro today reveals how Smith's report:
  • reveals that Savile carried out far more sexual assaults on BBC premises than previously realised; 
  • says that the BBC continued to use Savile to present Jim'll Fix It, a BBC1 programme aimed at children, despite "danger signals" about him; 
  • exposes a failure by BBC bosses to notice even public warning signs about Savile's dark side; 
  • recounts the damning private views of Savile from several well-known BBC colleagues; 
  • shows how a BBC programme by Louis Theroux in 2000 exposed Savile as "deeply unattractive" and even raised the issue of his paedophilia. 
We also publish the key extracts from the Smith report's chapters of perceptions of Savile in the BBC, his sexual activities linked to the broadcaster, awareness within Jim'll Fix It of Savile's predatory behaviour, and the public warning signs that went unheeded.
And what does Dame Janet conclude?

Over to the Guardian:
In her final afterword, Smith insists no senior staff could have been made aware of Savile’s misconduct. 
“There is no evidence that any report of physical sexual misconduct or inappropriate behaviour ever reached the ears or the desk of a senior producer or an executive producer let alone a head of department or other senior executive.”
Many will find that inpossible to believe. But if this is true, it reinforces something I blogged about in October 2012.

Large organsations are too complex and too centralised for the people at the top of the hierarchy to have any idea what is really going on.

And it all those highly paid managers at the BBC have no idea what is going, how much would they be missed?

Do not, incidentally, fall for the argument that Savile was a long time ago and things have changed since then.

Nick Cohen reminds us of what happened to the people who exposed finally Savile on Panorama:
Liz MacKean: Resigned. ‘When the Savile scandal broke,’ she told me, ‘the BBC tried to smear my reputation. They said they had banned the film because Meirion and I had produced shoddy journalism. I stayed to fight them, but I knew they would make me leave in the end. Managers would look through me as if I wasn’t there. I went because I knew I was never going to appear on screen again.’ 
Meirion Jones: Took redundancy after his job on Newsnight mysteriously vanished. ‘People said they won’t sack you after Savile but they will make your life hell,’ he told Press Gazette. ‘Everyone involved on the right side of the Savile argument has been forced out of the BBC.’ 
Panorama: After its admirably rigorous documentary on the BBC’s failings, which did so much to restore the BBC’s reputation, BBC managers shifted Tom Giles, the editor of Panorama, out of news. Peter Horrocks, an executive who insisted throughout the scandal that the BBC must behave ethically, resigned to ‘find new challenges’. Clive Edwards, who as commissioning editor for current affairs oversaw the Panorama documentary, was demoted. 
As for Peter Rippon and all the other managers who parroted the corporate line, well, naturally, not one of them has suffered.

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