as a retired member of BBC staff I received a letter today from the "acting Director-General", Tim Davie, (the letter is dated 15th November) apologising in "profound and heartfelt" fashion to every victim of abuse by Jimmy Savile, and asking me to give evidence to a review set up under the chairmanship of Dame Janet Smith if I have any information in connection with Savile's activities. The appeal for witnesses makes reference to people "familiar with the culture or practices of the BBC during that time" (from 1964 to about 2007, essentially). Well, yes I am, as I worked for the Beeb from 1984 to 1997, with one short break. And I don't think anything I could report would be of interest to this review. I never met Savile. I was 30 when I started working at the BBC, so not a vulnerable young person. But what are they going to do? Dig him up and hang him? Genuine paedophiles who have worked on children's programmes at the BBC over the years must be breathing a sigh of relief at this. There must have been, and must still be, paedophiles working in children's broadcasting - because that is what paedophiles do. They seek to have contact with children. Savile was not a paedophile. He liked girls who had reached puberty, but he liked them young and unprotected, so he cleverly found ways to be allowed to hang around hospitals and children's homes as well as TV studios. He was a strange and creepy individual. Everyone knew that. People who watched him on television knew that. And best of all, he's dead, so no-one has to go to prison, no-one has to give evidence in court - which might implicate others. We can't have that.
I wish Dame Janet well with her review. But all we need to know really is that in the 1960s and 1970s young girls got felt up, and worse, quite routinely, and it was not much disapproved of. Now, it is disapproved of. Good. There has never been a time when it was thought OK to interfere with children. So "culture and practices" are a red herring.