Jimmy Savile ‘was banned from Children In Need’

Jimmy Savile was banned from taking part in the BBC’s Children In Need appeals over a decade ago because the charity’s executives found him “creepy” and wanted to prevent him having contact with youngsters.

Jimmy Savile and the BBC's Children in Need mascot, Pudsey

Jimmy Savile and the BBC’s Children in Need mascot, Pudsey Photo: REX/Getty Images
The disgraced late TV presenter, who has been accused of sexually abusing hundreds of young girls over 40 years, made at least three appearances in the 1980s on the Corporation’s high-profile televised fundraiser for disadvantaged children.
However, when Sir Roger Jones was chairman of Children in Need from 1999 to 2002, he ensured that Savile, who used his extensive charity work as a mask for his abuse, was not allowed to become involved.
“He was a creepy sort of character – we didn’t want him anywhere near the charity,” he said.
Sir Roger, who was also a BBC governor from 1996 to 2002, said he had no evidence that the Jim’ll Fix It star was doing anything wrong but felt uncomfortable about his “very strange” behaviour.
“I couldn’t tell that he was a practicing paedophile – but I didn’t have to. On my watch, Children In Need was properly covered. There were no incidents, we did everything we could to protect the children,” he told the BBC.
He said he would have stepped down from Children In Need if Savile had become involved with the charity, but admitted he did not bring his concerns to the attention of BBC management because he lacked proof.
“If you’re going to go on the attack and make claims against him then you’d need evidence, hard evidence that simply wasn’t there. But if you’re protecting yourself you can do that without evidence,” he said.
Savile’s victims have alleged that he carried out some of his sex attacks on BBC premises, including in his dressing room at Television Centre.
Sir Roger said Children In Need was always on “red alert” for child abusers wanting to become involved in the charity.
“We knew that the biggest thing to guard against was the paedophiles. They were just like flies around the honeypot. Not just in the fundraising but also in the distribution of funds,” he said.
“I mean, if we had given money to a paedophile group, the sky would have fallen on the BBC.”
Sir Roger spoke out on Monday as Dame Janet Smith, a former High Court judge, began the BBC’s internal inquiry into whether its culture and practices allowed Savile’s abuse to go unchecked.
Children In Need raised a record £26.3 million for good causes in 2011, but there are fears that the Savile scandal will put many people off donating money this year.
The National Association for People Abused in Childhood has proposed that the BBC could broadcast an apology for the TV personality’s abuse during the next Children In Need appeal night on November 16.
Peter Saunders, the charity’s chief executive, said: “I suggested that Children In Need might be an appropriate time [for the apology] given that that annual appeal will be severely hit, I would suggest, by what is going on.”
A Children In Need spokesman said: “Since its inception, BBC Children in Need has raised over £650 million to support projects working to change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the UK aged 18 and under. The charity is constituted to support children and young people aged 18 and under.
“We are currently supporting 2,665 organisations which are addressing a range of needs. We have a strong track record of funding projects that support children and young people who are at risk of or have experienced some form of sexual abuse. We are currently funding 27 projects to the value of £1.9 million in this area.”
Meanwhile, Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has said that sexual allegations made against the star while he was alive could have been linked to show a “pattern of behaviour”.
Seven potential victims contacted four different police forces with complaints against Savile between the 1980s and his death last year at the age of 84, but no charges were ever brought.
Mr Hogan-Howe said it appeared that people had not intervened despite having suspicions about the TV presenter and radio DJ’s behaviour.
He added: “Then of course other organisations, including the police, have had individual allegations that have not been put together to actually show that this person may well have shown a pattern of behaviour that’s been pretty awful.”
Scotland Yard has a team of 30 officers investigating allegations against Savile and a number of other people, most of them figures in the entertainment industry.
A former police officer who worked on Surrey Police’s investigation into Savile in 2007 to 2009 said his team did not know that a further three complaints against the TV presenter had been made to other forces, including the Met.
“It may have caused warning bells to ring a bit more if intelligence of previous incidents was known, it may have changed things,” he told ITV News.
The former officer defended Surrey Police’s “thorough” investigation into allegations against Savile but added: “The problem was we didn’t know then what we know now.”


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