ITV News Entertainment Reporter Rishi Davda explains why an independent review is being launched by the BBC to investigate Tim Westwood's conduct while at the corporation
The BBC has appointed an independent barrister to lead a broad review to “fully examine” Tim Westwood's conduct during the two decades he spent working there, as new allegations continue to emerge.
In July, the BBC said it received six complaints against the veteran DJ, including one that was referred to police.
Director-general Tim Davie then launched an internal audit, reporting to the BBC board’s senior independent director, Sir Nicholas Serota, which said the BBC should have further explored issues raised about the DJ.
Following the report’s publication on Thursday, the corporation has now appointed an independent reviewer to lead a broader review into what was known about concerns raised about Westwood.
Barrister Gemma White, supported by the law firm Linklaters, will aim to complete her investigation in six months.
The BBC has said it is willing to work with Westwood’s other employers, which include MTV and Capital Xtra-owner Global, to fully establish what happened.
The new independent inquiry would be the first the BBC has undertaken since 2021's investigation by Lord Dyson into the manner in which Martin Bashir obtained his infamous 1995 Princess Diana interview.
“I am grateful to the BBC’s investigations team for the work they have done," Sir Nicholas said.
“It is an important piece of work, but I see it as a first step. New allegations and issues are emerging as time passes and more people are prepared to come forward. For this reason the work must continue.
“In light of the issues identified by the internal review, I have asked, on behalf of the BBC board, that a broader review is now conducted and a full report is produced.
“It is vital that this work is able to command the full confidence of those who have, or may wish, to come forward, as well as the wider public, and it is for that reason the BBC board believes there should be independent oversight."
Sir Nicholas went on to describe Gemma White QC as a "hugely respected" barrister who has the relevant experience to conduct a thorough investigation.
Even though six months has been given as a timeframe for completion of the investigation, he added that the deadline can be extended if "new issues" call for more time to explore them.
The corporation also said it is in contact with the Metropolitan Police, and that as part of the “ongoing work any relevant information will be passed to them”.
The Met said they are investigating four claims of sexual offences, one of which dates back four decades, but the force did not name Westwood in relation to the allegations.
In a statement given on Thursday the Met Police said: "Detectives from the Met’s Central Specialist Crime continue to investigate four reports relating to allegations of non-recent sexual offences allegedly committed by a man.
"The offences are alleged to have occurred in London in 1982, 1985, 2010 and 2016. There have been no arrests, enquiries continue.
"We would appeal to anyone who has been the victim of sexual crime to contact police, your complaint will be thoroughly investigated and you will be supported by specialist officers."
Westwood has denied any wrongdoing.
The BBC’s broader review of Westwood’s conduct will look at whether concerns about his behaviour affected the decision not to renew his contract past September 2013.
Westwood, who left the BBC in 2013, stepped down from his show on Capital Xtra in April following accusations by several women of misconduct and predatory behaviour.
In allegations made to the BBC and the Guardian, the former BBC Radio 1 DJ, is alleged to have misused his position in the music industry to take advantage of seven women who were in their late teens or early 20s at the time.
Tim Davie initially said in April the BBC had "no evidence of complaints" about Westwood after the joint investigation revealed allegations of predatory sexual behaviour.
But after a challenge over the broadcaster’s initial handling of a Freedom Of Information request, the corporation later confirmed it received six complaints, including one referred to police.
In July, ten women claimed they were victims of sexual misconduct by the DJ, with one alleging he had sex with her when she was 14.
The teenager, who uses the pseudonym Esther, said Westwood, now 64, was in his 30s when they had sex for the first time, the BBC and Guardian, who have been investigating the ex-Radio 1 presenter, reported.
Four of the women say they were under 18 when the alleged incidents happened, with six saying they were young adults.
The ten, all of whom are black, have come forward since an initial investigation by the two outlets in April.
Westwood “strongly” denies any wrongdoing.
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A statement from a representative of Westwood to the PA news agency in April said: “Tim Westwood strongly denies all allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
“In a career that has spanned 40 years, there have never been any complaints made against him officially or unofficially. Tim Westwood strongly rejects all allegations of wrongdoing.”
His representatives have been contacted for further comment.
The DJ, who is the son of Bill Westwood, the former Anglican bishop of Peterborough, who died in 1999, began his career on local radio before joining Capital Radio in London.
He was later given his own show by BBC Radio 1.
He left Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra in 2013 after nearly 20 years and returned to Capital Xtra to host a regular show on Saturday nights, where he was referred to as “The Big Dawg”.