Broadcaster Nicky Campbell reveals he was victim of abuse at Edinburgh school

Nicky Campbell arrives for the Pride of Scotland awards in South Queensferry. Credit: PA

Broadcaster Nicky Campbell has revealed for the first time he was the victim of abuse at a Scottish private school during the 1970s.

The BBC presenter, 61, said witnessing incidents of both sexual and physical abuse at the Edinburgh Academy had had a “profound effect on my life”.

Campbell made the claims for the first time on an episode of his podcast Different on BBC Sounds, released on Wednesday.

During the episode he discusses his experiences with journalist Alex Renton, creator of the radio programme In Dark Corners, which exposed systemic abuse in public schools in Britain.

Campbell tells listeners: “I was badly beaten up at school by a teacher who was a leading light in the scripture union.

“My mother took it as far as she could and got a grovelling apology from (the man involved), but was essentially stonewalled and it was hushed up by the school.

“Those were different times and that has stayed with me all my life.”

The former host of Watchdog and Top of the Pops also discussed witnessing more serious sexual abuse, allegedly enacted on his school-mates at the hands of another man at the institution.

Campbell said he witnessed and experienced sexual and violent physical abuse at the Edinburgh Academy. Credit: PA

“I cannot describe it here and I can never un-see it,” he said.

“This man was known to us all as a predator and a sadist but we never told anyone.

“My school friends and I talk about it now with each other with again – contempt, disbelief and incomprehension that sort of thing happened in plain sight and nothing was done.

“And why didn’t we as little boys tell anyone in power what was happening? I don’t know.”

It was also revealed to Campbell by Renton the alleged abuser is still alive, but has not been named for legal reasons.

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Speaking on his own podcast, Campbell says the reason he has chosen to come forward is to bring the man to justice over the alleged abuse.

In a statement provided to the BBC, Edinburgh Academy said it “deeply regrets” the alleged incidents and “wholeheartedly” apologised to those involved.

“We have worked closely with the relevant authorities including Police Scotland with their inquiries and would like to provide reassurance that things have dramatically changed since the 1970s,” the statement read.

“The Academy has robust measures in place to safeguard children at the school with child protection training now core to the ethos of the Academy.”

Different With Nicky Campbell is available on BBC Sounds.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised you can find details of organisations able to provide help below:

  • NAPAC offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse.

  • Victim Support offers free and confidential services to anyone in England and Wales who has experienced sexual assault or rape now or in the past. You can call the Victim Supportline, which operates 24/7, on 0808 168 9111.