BBC releases Savile review evidence

The decision by Newsnight to shelve its probe into sexual abuse claims against Jimmy Savile was 'seriously flawed', a report found

The decision by Newsnight to shelve its probe into sexual abuse claims against Jimmy Savile was 'seriously flawed', a report found

First published in National News © by

Thousands of pages of evidence gathered during an inquiry into Newsnight's decision to drop its Jimmy Savile investigation have been published by the BBC in a bid to be "open and transparent".

It follows the publication of the Pollard Review in December which concluded the decision to shelve its probe into sexual abuse claims against the television star was "seriously flawed".

Some 3,000 pages of emails, interviews and submissions from BBC executives and journalists, including Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, were made available online.

Acting 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 Trust chairman Lord Patten pledged at the time of the report's publication that all the evidence would be released, apart from some redactions for "legal reasons". Legal teams are said to have been sorting through the evidence for several weeks, deciding what should be made public.

The BBC said that roughly 3% had been redacted.

Mr Pollard - a former Sky News executive - was appointed to head the review late last year to look into whether management failings were behind the decision to cancel a six-week investigation into abuse claims against Savile in December 2011, weeks before a Christmas tribute was broadcast. The scandal last year claimed the scalp of new director-general George Entwistle little over 50 days into the job.

A separate Newsnight investigation last summer led to Lord McAlpine being wrongly accused of child abuse.

Among the revelations published are details of comments left by viewers on a BBC tribute webpage to Savile which were removed by moderators employed by the corporation.

A transcript of the interview between Mr Pollard and Mr 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."

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