Paul Gambaccini, Jimmy Savile and BBC Radio 5 Live
This morning Paul Gambaccini, a man who has been employed by the BBC since 1973 (on and off) made a pair of severe accusations regarding Jimmy Savile. I’m not sure what the laws on libel are or of pushing on false information so I won’t repeat the allegations here, but it was truly shocking and a quick search on popular social networks will tell you what they are, I’m sure.
To give a quick outline without getting myself into trouble, the allegations surrounded illegal sexual practices attributed to Savile beyond anything he’d been publicly accused of thus far and police corruption. 5 Live Breakfast, the show in question, is available here and the interview took place in the last half an hour, though I’m not sure if it’s included in the stream.
I think it’s understandable for a lone blogger to be a little unsure when it comes to publishing information like this but for The Guardian, a renowned purveyor of media news, not to report on it at all, I find a little strange.
Ok, it’s a busy day for news what with George Entwistle attending his hearing today but I don’t think I’ve ever heard such absolute and shocking accusations on the radio before (or in any other media, come to think of it). Nicky Campbell was clearly taken aback by what he’d heard, which is unusual for him.
There will be more to come from this, I can guarantee it. Although there was a bit of chat on Twitter, there wasn’t a lot which surprised me. I was half expecting to read comment and reaction almost immediately but… nothing.
I’m wondering it’s a legal thing or if it’s another example of the media lying on a story (another thing Gambaccini said was happening), despite the fact that it has already been broadcast, live, on a show that, in the last quarter of 2011, had listening figures of 2,512,000.
Will the BBC tear itself apart?
Paul Gambaccini has been very vocal since the story broke and was the first person I heard in any media to say that he knew about Savile’s antics, for what of a better word. He seems, to me at least, to feel incredibly guilty about the whole thing and wants to make a point of exposing anything he may know that hasn’t already emerged.
My biggest fear is that the BBC may tear itself to pieces over all this. Ok, if bosses at the BBC knew what Savile was up to at that time, they should be called to account. It seems at first glance to be all old news but, in light of the pulled Newsnight exposé, these things run to the present day. If the knowledge was as widespread as Gambaccini says it is, heads will roll. If it turns out that what Savile did was not isolated and was, in fact, commonplace in the culture of the BBC, I predict it will not survive in its current guise.
The BBC is an incredibly important thing to me, personally. I use their services each and every day without fail. I cannot think of another company (except Google/Android for my phone), corporation or media outlet I use with such regularity. I listen to their radio stations, I watch their television output, I read their website.
It’s good that the BBC themselves are, slowly, taking control of the situation with the Pollard Inquiry and that they’ve appointed an external chairperson is to their credit. They’ve had one hard-hitting current affairs show investigating another on the same channel – this is unique worldwide, surely?
Let’s just hope that the worst case scenario is not the reality. For everyone’s sake.