Entwistle was warned about Jimmy Savile's 'darker side'

Lucy Manning

Former UK Editor

The former BBC director general was "unnecessarily cautious" over the Savile story. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Pollard Report is a very sobering read for the BBC, with damning criticism of the way it dealt with the Savile investigation and its aftermath and strong criticism of key BBC executives.

It says the decision to drop the Savile story "was to prove disastrous for the BBC."

It calls this decision "flawed and the way it was taken wrong", but Nick Pollard says he believes it was done in good faith, not to protect any Savile tribute programmes or for any improper reason.

It says the BBC's response to the Savile affair was a "level of chaos and confusion" even greater than apparent at the time and "leadership and organisation seemed to be in short supply."

There is criticism made of former Director-General George Entwistle, Head of News Helen Boaden, her deputy Stephen Mitchell and Newsnight Editor Peter Rippon.

There is criticism of Mr Entwistle for an "unnecessarily cautious" approach when Helen Boaden told him at a lunch of the Savile investigation.

She is criticised for raising this in an inappropriate way, too casual and too fleeting.

She is also criticised for not taking a more active role when the crisis hit the BBC.

Ms Boaden we learn offered to resign if necessary, this wasn't accepted.

The Pollard report finds the Newsnight Editor's decision to drop the Savile story was "seriously flawed: he made a bad mistake in not examining the evidence properly."

But that there was no pressure on Mr Rippon by bosses to drop it.

Peter Rippon's decision to drop the Savile story was judged to be "seriously flawed" Credit: REX FEATURES

Perhaps the most startling information are emails sent to Mr Entwistle when he was BBC Director of Vision warning him before the Savile tribute programmes were commissioned and aired that there was "a darker side of the story" about the presenter.

There was another email from a colleague in 2010, before Savile had died, telling Mr Entwistle: "I'd feel v queasy about an obit. I saw the real truth!!!"

The Pollard Report says this clearly raises questions for Mr Entwistle.

The email about the "darker side" of Savile shows "there was knowledge, not just rumour, within BBC Vision about the unsavoury side of Savile's character at the time the Christmas tribute programmes were planned."

And it says there were four opportunities for the BBC to look at whether the tribute programmes should have been commissioned and broadcast and they were all missed.

BBC director of news Helen Boaden offered to resign over her role in the crisis. Credit: BBC

On the blog that Mr Rippon wrote that turned out to be inaccurate, the report says its preparation was chaotic, that there we're significant failings in the managerial oversight and "when clear leadership was required, it was not provided."

There is more criticism of Mr Entwistle who took a long time to take control of the issues. Mr Mitchell signed off the blog. And Ms Boaden texted Mr Rippon at the time saying "Excellent blog. You are a terrific writer x'."

The Pollard Report is also critical of the failure to go to the police with the evidence Newsnight got. When I doorstepped Mr Entwistle and Lord Patten both insisted the BBC had gone straight to the police. Pollard says he believes information should have been provided to the police.

The BBC says there will be a new editor for Newsnight and that they will strengthen the editorial and managerial systems.

Three people have been disciplined on the Newsnight McAlpine report but it is unclear what happens to others in the Pollard Report.