'Serious failings' at BBC allowed Savile to abuse 72 people

“Serious failings” at the BBC allowed Jimmy Savile to rape and sexually assault 72 people, a damning report has found.

Dame Janet Smith's review found there was a culture of "reverence and fear" towards celebrities at the corporation.

One employee who complained about Savile was told: "Keep your mouth shut, he is a VIP."

After the report's publication, BBC director-general Lord Hall apologised to the victims, saying: "The BBC failed you when it should have protected you."

Follow ITV News for the latest reaction to the report.

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Savile producer 'sorry' he didn't report paedophile

A report found the BBC allowed Savile to abuse 72 people. Credit: PA

A TV producer who worked with Jimmy Savile has said he is sorry he did not report the paedophile.

Canon Colin Semper, who helped produce Speakeasy, a teenage radio show on the BBC in the 1960s and 1970s, said he should have taken "greater care".

He told Sky News: "I didn't tell anybody of, what you might call, authority.

"I'm very, very sorry that I was so obsessed with my programme and with getting it - as best I could - on to the air waves. I should have had greater care.

"I am sorry if I had any responsibility for what has happened over the subsequent time."

A report into Savile by Dame Janet Smith found the canon "ought to have discussed his concerns with a manager".

It added: "I accept that Canon Semper did not 'know' that Savile had sex with underage girls in the sense of ever seeing it happen.

"But he clearly did 'think' that Savile had casual sex with a lot of girls, some of whom might have been underage."


Rantzen heard rumours about 'very peculiar' Savile

Esther Rantzen said she heard a rumour about Savile early in her career at the BBC Credit: PA

Jimmy Savile was a "very peculiar man" but a lack of evidence at the time meant allegations of sexual abuse remained only rumours, Dame Esther Rantzen has said.

The veteran BBC presenter said that she had heard a rumour from a journalist about Savile early on in her career at the BBC but "as Dame Janet said, there is a real difference between rumour and gossip [compared to] evidence".

Rantzen, who helped found Childline in 1986, was referring to Dame Janet Smith who today published a report on the BBC's handling of complaints about Savile.

"Throughout my career at the BBC I never heard anyone disclosing that Jimmy had abused them," she said.

But she said: "He was a very, very peculiar man. He wore a mask all the time ... and now we know what he was hiding."

BBC director general apologises to Savile and Hall victims

Lord Hall apologised to the victims.

The director general of the BBC has apologised to the victims of Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall.

Lord Hall said: "The BBC failed you when it should have protected you.

"I'm deeply sorry for the hurt caused to each and every one of you."

He added: "Savile committed his crimes in many places but it was the BBC that made him famous.

"What this terrible episode tells us is that fame is power, a very strong form of power.

"And like all power it must be held to account, it must be challenged and it must be scrutinised, and it wasn't."


'Disturbingly easy' for Savile to get away with abuse

Credit: PA

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: "This report demonstrates just how disturbingly easy at the time it was for Savile to get away, unchallenged, with despicable acts against children at the BBC. The impact on his victims has been profound - as we have already witnessed from calls to our helpline.

"It is tragic that a culture existed at the BBC in which Savile became too powerful to confront, so allowing him to use his celebrity status to abuse at will, leaving a trail of devastation in his wake.

"The BBC must ensure staff can easily raise concerns and that robust safeguarding procedures are in place to effectively act on these so that a scandal of this kind, never mind this magnitude, is never repeated."

Victims' lawyer: Savile report 'an expensive whitewash'

Liz Dux represents 168 victims. Credit: PA

The report into the abuse of Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall is "nothing more than an expensive whitewash", a lawyer representing victims has said.

Liz Dux, who represents 168 victims, said "the truth has still not been unearthed".

"All the Savile and Hall victims have ever wanted from this report is truth and accountability," she said.

"Despite millions having been spent on the inquiry, my clients will feel let down that the truth has still not been unearthed and many will feel it is nothing more than an expensive whitewash.

"It is unfortunate that Dame Janet had no power to compel senior managers to give evidence, giving the impression that the whole picture of who knew what has not been revealed."

Society owes Savile and Hall's victims a 'great debt'

Dame Janet Smith carried out the investigation.

Society owes a "great debt" to the victims of Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall, Dame Janet Smith said.

She thanked them for "your contribution and your courage" during the investigation.

"You are not to blame and your reasons for not reporting it are wholly understandable," said Dame Janet.

"Society owes you a great debt. Your legacy is that you have helped to convince us all of the importance of ensuring that young and vulnerable people have the confidence to report abuse, and when they do so their voices will be heard and treated with the same respect as those with power in our society.

"I think that is a legacy of which you can be justifiably proud."

Dame Janet: 'Talent' was more valuable to BBC than values

Jimmy Savile died in 2011. Credit: PA

BBC "talent" such as Jimmy Savile were more important to the corporation than its values, one witness told Dame Janet Smith during her investigation into abuse by the star.

Dame Janet said celebrities like Savile and Stuart Hall were "treated with kids gloves" and were "virtually untouchable".

She said the failure to properly investigate alleged abuse of young girls on Top of the Pops in the 1970s showed the BBC was more concerned about its reputation than the welfare of the youngsters.

"One witness told me that the talent were more valuable to the BBC than their own values," Dame Janet said.

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