So who knew about Jimmy Savile? Dame Janet Smith discloses that no fewer than 107 staff had heard rumours about his predatory behaviour. Some thought he was a paedophile; some even believed that Savile was a necrophiliac. But whilst ‘rumours and stories’ within the BBC about Savile were rife, the Dame Janet Smith inquiry found that many within the corporation were simply content with laughing them off.
A leaked extract from the inquiry report found:
Most of those who heard rumours about Savile’s sexual life did not appear to have been shocked by them. Many seem to have regarded them as amusing…The rumour most generally heard in the BBC was that Savile was sexually attracted to young girls. Only a few heard that he was attracted to young boys. Roughly 18 per cent understood him to be interested in pre-pubertal girls, under the age of 13. About 30 per cent thought he was interested in pubertal but underage girls in the age of 13-15 age range, about 23 per cent thought he was interested in the 16-17 age group.
Those behind the report are already going some way to dismiss the leaked documents as outdated and only a draft version. A statement from the inquiry said:
That document is out of date and significant changes have been made to its content and conclusions. The document should not have been made public and cannot be relied upon in any circumstances
But premature or not, the interviews with staff speak for themselves: dozens of people within the BBC appeared to know about Savile. And with the report going on to say that the culture of whistleblowing within the BBC has got worse, could another Savile strike again?