Paxman slammed Savile inquiry

The BBC has published witness statements from the inquiry into why a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile was shelved. The documents reveal presenter Jeremy Paxman's criticisms of the decision to drop the story and of the inquiry.

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Paxman expressed sympathy for treatment of Rippon

A now discredited blog posted by Newsnight editor Peter Rippon to clarify the decisions behind the Newsnight decision-making over its Savile investigation, prompted an exchange of emails with the show's presenter Jeremy Paxman, who pointed out it failed to address may of the issues.

The emails were released, as part of the BBC documents from the Pollard review made public today. But Mr Paxman went on to express his sympathies for the way the programme editor seemed to be carrying the can.

He wrote: "Just for the record I think it is very unfair (and sadly not at all untypical) that the BBC has dumped all this on one individual. It will pass. But I think the BBC's behaviour now is almost as contemptible as it was then."

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Savile investigation suggested hours after his death

In one email headed "Jimmy Savile - paedophile", BBC producer Meirion Jones, who was involved in establishing the axed Newsnight report, flagged up the idea of an investigation just hours after the presenter's death was announced.

BBC producer Meirion Jones. Credit: Press Association

He proposed the suggestion, possibly for Panorama, because he said some of the girls who had been molested by Savile were ready to talk about their experiences.

He wrote: "Some of the girls are now prepared to talk about this which might make a core to a film about what Jimmy Savile really got up to - and of course he's dead so he can't sue."

His emails also contain vivid transcripts of the sexual activities in which girls at Duncroft approved school - where Savile was a regular visitor - were encouraged to take part.

Patten: BBC transcripts paint a very unhappy picture

Chairman of the BBC Trust Lord Patten has said the Pollard review transcripts made public today by the corporation paint a "very unhappy picture".

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten. Credit: Press Association

He said in statement: "These documents paint a very unhappy picture, but theBBC needs to be open - more open than others would be - in confronting thefacts that lie behind Nick Pollard's report.

"A limited amount of text has been blacked out for legal reasons, but no one could say that the effect has been to sanitise this material, which again puts a spotlight on some of our failings. We need to acknowledge these shortcomings and learn from them."

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Paxman 'struck' by explanation for shelving progamme

Jeremy Paxman told the Pollard review he was "struck" by the words Newsnight editor Peter Rippon used when he told him the Savile report would not be running.

He said: "...What struck me about it was his reply when I mentioned the reasons. He said: 'I'm sorry, I just can't do this'. And I thought that was a very, very unusual word to use, 'can't'...I didn't say 'what do you mean can't?' Someone has told you that you can't or you physically can't face it?

"Now I think there - my suspicion is that there may well have been an element of both."

Acting director-general: BBC 'open and transparent'

Acting BBC director-general Tim Davie. Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

Acting BBC director-general Tim Davie said: "The BBC has been open and transparent in its handling of this unhappy chapter in our history. It has not been an entirely comfortable process for us to go through but it is right that we did it this way.

"It is important that the BBC now moves forward with the lessons learned and continues to regain the public's trust."

BBC Savile tribute page comments were removed

A BBC tribute page to Jimmy Savile had comments left by viewers removed by moderators, the revelations published today showed.

Jimmy Savile pictured in 2000. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

A transcript of the interview between Pollard and the former director-general George Entwistle refers to examples of the comments including one person who wrote: "One of my best friends in 1972 was molested by this creep Savile. He was never the same again.

"Killed himself in 1985. How's About That Then?"

Another person wrote: "He was a paedophile. You may not like the truth but he was. It will all tumble out now."

Paxman: We made a problem 'running away' from Savile story

The BBC has released 19 witness statements into the Jimmy Savile investigation, including Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman who said: "I have to say, I think we make a problem for ourselves by running away from this story."

Jeremy Paxman. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive

He added: "We wouldn't even tackle a b***** story that was about our own programme. This is pathetic."

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