Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Margaret Thatcher and Jimmy Savile

An interesting story from this morning's Independent:
Senior Whitehall mandarins repeatedly warned former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher against knighting Jimmy Savile because of long-standing concerns over his private life. 
Previously unseen Cabinet Office papers reveal that suspicions about the DJ’s “strange and complex” personality were known at the highest level for decades. 
Lady Thatcher – who invited the presenter to Chequers – made four attempts to appoint Savile to the knighthood before eventually succeeding in the final year of office in 1990.
This supports the impression that Mrs Thatcher was never very good at spotting a wrong 'un.

Like many people, I had heard rumours about Jimmy Savile in the last years of his life. But the idea that 'everyone knew' about him back in the 1970s is, as Simon Titley pointed out on Liberator's blog, contradicted by the fact that the government and British Rail were happy to use him in major advertising campaigns.

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Simon Titley said...

The Liberator blog post to which you refer is here:

Jonathan Calder said...


I have edited the post to include that link, but I was really thinking of a conversation we once had - "Personal communication" as it would say in an academic reference.

Frank Little said...

Gary Glitter also fronted a BR campaign: One would have to see evidence of Stuart Hall doing the same, though, to suspect this was more than coincidence.

Jonathan Calder said...

Found it! (Warning: nasty pictures.)