The rise and fall of BBC star Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile, l’un des présentateurs vedette de la BBC, est aujourd’hui accusé d’agressions sexuelles sur des adolescentes. Savile étant décédé, c’est à la BBC de rendre des comptes à la justice et à la population britannique ; or on soupçonne la BBC notamment d’avoir eu connaissance des faits et d’avoir cherché à étouffer l’affaire. Loin de se dissiper, ce scandale ne fait que grossir depuis un mois et écorne de plus en plus l’image de la prestigieuse institution qu’est la BBC en Grande-Bretagne.

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What happened and what are the consequences for the BBC?

The scandal began on October 3rd with the broadcasting by the British private channel ITV of a documentary in which five women explain that Jimmy Savile sexually abused them. Jimmy Savile was a famous BBC anchorman.  This TV programme triggered many new testimonies; about 300 women or teenagers claim to have been sexually aggressed by this man. This story could have broken sooner but the BBC refused to air a similar show about its own anchorman in the TV programme “Newsnight” in December 2011.  Indeed the Beeb argued that it did not have enough evidence to inform Britons.

Jimmy Savile died in October 2011, therefore the scandal isn’t really about Savile’s guilt but concerns the head of the BBC accused of covering it up. After an internal inquiry, the editor of Newsnight, Peter Rippon, had to resign.10 other people may be involved, among whom George Entwistle himself, who took over as BBC director general just a month ago and is now facing embarrassing questions about what the corporation knew and why it did nothing.  One explanation of the decision not to broadcast this programme was the will to preserve the BBC’s reputation. The BBC is seen as the culprit; indeed it was in position to throw light on this scandal since J. Savile’s death and it can’t seem to find the right argument to defend itself. The famous channel which is considered as an example of fairness and is dear to Britons has a lot to lose: some Britons now wonder if they can still trust it and watch it.

Who was Jimmy Savile?

He was an English disc jockey, anchorman, media figure and charity fundraiser. For the BBC, he presented the children programme “Jim’ll Fix it” and the first edition of “Top of the Pops” in 1964 and had broadcast on BBC Radio 1 since 1968. The BBC employed Jimmy Savile for 40 years. He was involved in humanitarian causes and that’s why the Queen even knighted him. He was known for his outlandish costumes, his fancy cars, his bizarre appearance and his peroxide-blond hair.

Today some of his former colleagues concede he had a strange behaviour with very young women and children. He is not only accused of aggressing children in his dressing room but also in a hospital and a boarding school.

Why won’t this scandal end soon?

Other people could be involved: some doctors who work in the hospital where Savile committed his crimes, celebrities such as Gary Glitter who was arrested this Sunday and BBC employees.

 To be continued …

 

Julie FEOLA & Laure FOURNIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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