Coffee House

Censor’s black pencil hovers over BBC’s Jimmy Savile review transcripts

22 February 2013

12:12 PM

22 February 2013

12:12 PM

The BBC has released its (redacted) transcripts and other evidence from the Pollard Review, which examined the decision to drop Newsnight’s Jimmy Savile investigation. There are thousands of pages of evidence, which you can read here, some with large sections which have fallen foul to the censor’s black pencil, even though Jeremy Paxman in particular had made clear that he wanted his interview transcript published in full.

We’ll bring you further details of the key transcripts throughout the afternoon, but one of the interesting observations from Paxman’s transcript is this on the effect of pared-down resources on Newsnight:

‘Newsnight, particularly in view of the – of the huge resource cuts that have gone on, it is a particularly grinding, gruelling job, because it is every day, and every day, you are making judgements which are either for that night’s transmission or for next week’s transmission, if it is the case of a film, for example, or the week after or the week after that. And resources have been pared so much that editors who previously had perhaps a bit of latitude or leisure to make considered judgments very often do not have that space any longer.’


Paxman also told his interviewers that it was ‘common gossip that Jimmy Savile liked, you know, young – it was always assumed to be girls’.

On p69, Paxman is recorded as dismissing the programme’s ‘successful year’ in 2011, when it won the ‘programme of the year’ at the RTS awards:

‘Oh come along! You of all people in this – you should know how those things are worked out. I mean we didn’t – I did not feel…

‘It was a really unhelpful thing to have happened to the programme, that actually, to be able to boast – even if it is a rather pointless sort of award, to be able to boast that you have won some award for programme of the year [REDACTED] a feeling – I mean when I say ‘universal’, I do mean universal too. To have been given such a gong was not really terribly helpful, nor did it seem to be based upon any particularly informed judgement.’

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Show comments
  • PitPony
  • Joseph Alan Jones

    It is well over due for the BBC to be separated into Public Service and other Broadcasting


    me again – why has DC frozen budget for 6 years and pick up significant infrastructure costs? Naughtie should have been sacked for saying in 2005 to Labour minister ‘Are we going to win?’ Remember in clearly scripted interview with newscaster Marr rubbished a Hague policy – there was a methodological point but had nowhere near significance attached to it. Can remember Douglas Stewart in 70s impartial but unthinking patriot as most people were before BBC and others established left/centre intellectual hegemony.
    Where did they come from?
    Marr – the Observer
    Lustig – the Observer
    Rawnsley – the Observer
    They think that they are entitled to use other people’s money to tell them what to think. When Huw Edwards went to Afghanistan he referred to ‘Taliban forces’ – nothing to stop them entering elections – clearly not mainstream.(Incidentally it looked as if he never took a step outside Fort Bastion; Praise for Lyse Doucet who certainly had the courage and to the best of my recollection the impartiality that are required.)


    Any redaction other than on cogent legal advice is SCANDALOUS – we pay £160 per TV, the criterion is PRESENCE of set not USE & you can go to prison for not paying it
    Radio Times is 2 pages BBC prog. to 6 pages of SELECTED other – licence fee set up when TV let alone cable did not exist
    Given some of the stuff that has happened I assume that Lord Reith has rotated all through planet – China syndrome

  • Stroudy

    Time for some investigative journalism. Before the LibDems and Labour use Leveson to gag the press.

  • In2minds

    What is needed is a licence strike if millions of people refused to pay
    for crap TV the BBC could be brought down very quickly.

  • ben corde

    It’s high time the BBC was itself redacted and split up into its component parts with a reduced licence fee for public service broadcasting (optional) and subscription for the rest. It might cost us more for the full package but at least we’d be able to make our own choices

  • Fergus Pickering

    What is this word ‘redacted’. Censored is a word I understand

  • David Ossitt

    Oh I do hope that someone who has a none redacted (what deplorable f*cking word) copy spreads it all over the internet.

    Anyone involved in this censorship should be fired.

  • Daniel Maris

    I must agree the BBC are arrogant. This morning on Today they had a diversionary programme on “Do other organisations suffer from similar backbiting?” Such a transparent attempt to deflect attention from the BBC and its role in covering up Savile’s abuse over several decades.

  • Andy

    There should be NO Question whatsoever of one word being ‘redacted’ – in plain words Censorship. The BBC are arrogant and think they are unaccountable. Well in that case they can survive in the real world without the license fee.

  • HooksLaw

    Resources were tough for Newsnight because of the salaries paid to Paxman and his ilk.
    Salaries which the BBC went out of their way to help them ovoid paying tax on.

    The BBC and its reporters hammer away at MPs and expenses yet go out of their way to invent scams to let their staff avoid paying millions in legitimate taxes.
    The BBC should be closed down

  • Austin Barry

    The Ministry of Truth should be kicked into the private sector and quickly.

  • kyalami

    Anyone done an FOI request?

    • realfish

      Good luck with that.
      The BBC don’t do FOI requests, they claim that the release of such information compromises their editorial independence. Your request will go in the WPB, the same way as;
      – Balen
      – Hutton
      – Names of the attendees at the global warming strategy meeting (subsequently leaked)
      – The number of complaints of political bias received
      – The number of fig rolls consumed in management meetings

  • Hexhamgeezer

    The Balen Report would be nice.

    • HooksLaw

      We know the result as the conclusions leaked out. In 2004 the BBC were biased against Israel. The BBC is as we know institutionally left wing.

      They claim its different now (the BBC refused to televise a Gaza humanitarian appeal) and some now claim the BBC are leaning over backwards not to offend Israel. I cannot say i could comment one way or the other, but some behaviour of the Israelis makes it hard I imagine.

  • Jebediah

    Now is not the time to be redacting data. The BBC seems to feel it can do what it likes. Well I guess it can, £3 billion in tax payers money and no accountability. How quaint. How old fashioned. How corrupt.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The Left are in a high state of triumphalism now. They have largely escaped the consequences of their 1997-2010 crimes, managed to pin the blame on everyone else – including, rather unbelievingly, the Tories – and think 2015 is now in the bag. Expect more blatant and shameless behaviour from the Borg collective.

      • HooksLaw

        All you have to do to stuff them is vote tory in 2015

        • ben corde

          Or UKIP. They hate them even more

  • Chris lancashire

    Who cares?

  • Bluesman

    Once More With Feeling:

    It is because of the unique way the BBC is funded that they can tell us to go screw ourselves.

  • madlands

    Paxo needs to just release it in full.