Sexual abuse allegations against one-time British television star Jimmy Savile have rocked the BBC. Now the crisis engulfing the broadcaster, who employed him, is deepening further.
It has emerged that a senior producer had warned bosses that the corporation could be accused of a cover-up when it axed a Newsnight programme investigation about Savile last year.
The producer, who has been interviewed for another BBC programme, recalled sending an email to his editor.
“I was sure the story would come out one way or another and that, if it did, the BBC would be accused of a cover-up,” Meirion Jones told the BBC Panorama programme.
“In fact I wrote an email to Peter saying ‘the story is strong enough and the danger of not running it, is substantial damage to BBC reputation.”
The BBC’s new Director General is now under pressure to explain why the Newsnight investigation was dropped.
“I will of course be taking questions at the culture select committee tomorrow (Tuesday),” George Entwistle said.
“And then there are the two independent reviews that we’ve set up, one looking at Jimmy Savile’s activities over the past decades and the Pollard review, looking at exactly what happened on Newsnight and I expect to make a full contribution to those.”
British police investigating alleged abuse by Saville opened a criminal inquiry last week after an investigation by another TV channel claimed he had preyed on children for decades.
More than 200 potential victims are said to have now come forward.