UK & World News
Esther Rantzen: Rumours Followed Jimmy Savile
ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen has said she believes five women who have made sexual abuse allegations against Sir Jimmy Savile and claims there were always rumours about the TV presenter.
The 72-year-old, who took part in an ITV documentary which will claim Sir Jimmy sexually abused schoolgirls, said the allegations involved similar attacks when the alleged victims were young.
She told Sky News: "For the first time there's more than one single child complaining. There are five adult women producing very similar statements about the way they were attacked.
"You see, one child's word against the word of a television icon, one who was renowned for raising money for charity, who knew everyone from the Prime Minister to Princess Diana, who was knighted by the Queen and the Pope, I think no single complainant dared speak out before.
"There were always rumours that he behaved very inappropriately, sexually, with children."
ITV has defended the documentary, despite an angry reaction from the late DJ's family.
Roger Foster, Sir Jimmy's nephew, said he was "disgusted and disappointed" at the allegations in Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile, which include claims that he abused girls in his Rolls-Royce and at BBC Television Centre.
"The guy hasn't been dead for a year yet and they're bringing these stories out. It could affect his legacy, his charity work, everything. I'm very sad and disgusted," he said.
"I just don't understand the motives behind this. I just think it's very, very sad you can say these things after someone's died and the law says you can't defend yourself when you're dead."
But an ITV spokesman said: "This documentary is the result of an in-depth investigation into long-standing allegations of serious and widespread sexual misconduct by Sir Jimmy Savile.
"Because of the very serious nature of the claims made by several interviewees in relation to this, particular care and consideration was of course given to the decision to produce and broadcast this programme.
"The programme takes full account of the fact that Sir Jimmy is not here to defend himself against these claims."
The former BBC Radio 1 DJ, who died in October last year two days before his 85th birthday, was famous for TV shows like Jim'll Fix It and Top Of The Pops.
The ITV programme, presented by former detective Mark Williams-Thomas, features contributions from several women who claim Sir Jimmy was a sexual predator who assaulted them while they were under age.
One woman alleges that she was raped by the DJ and another says she was asked to perform a sex act on him.
The documentary also includes a 2009 recording in which he defends Gary Glitter, who was jailed for four months in the UK in 1999 for downloading child porn and later jailed for child sex offences in Vietnam.
Sir Jimmy's former PA acknowledged that he liked to be photographed with young "bits of crumpet" but said he would never jeopardise his career by taking it any further.
"I never had an inkling of him misbehaving or taking advantage of impressionable young girls," Janet Cope, who worked with the presenter for 40 years, said.
"He was far too savvy, knowing how reputations like his could easily be trashed overnight, and so to my knowledge, he never once stepped out of line.
"Jim often said it only took one girl to blab to the newspapers for money, and a celebrity like him could be wrecked for ever."
ITV said the programme, due to air later this week, will allege he preyed on teenagers whom he invited to appear on his TV shows.
One woman, who was 14 at the time, tells how she met Sir Jimmy at a school in Surrey in 1974 and he assaulted her in his caravan which was parked in the school grounds.
In the recording about Glitter - whose real name is Paul Gadd - Sir Jimmy reportedly says: "Now Gary, all he did was to take his computer into PC World to get it repaired.
"They went into the hard drive, saw all these dodgy pictures and told the police and the police then 'Oh we've got a famous person ... Oh my goodness, yeah we'll have them'.
"But Gary has not sold 'em, has not tried to sell 'em, not tried to show them in public or anything like that. It were for his own gratification. Whether it was right or wrong is, of course, it's up to him as a person. But they didn't do anything wrong but they are then demonised."
The BBC responded to reports that inappropriate behaviour by Sir Jimmy was an "open secret" at the corporation by saying it found no evidence of any misconduct by the broadcaster.
"The BBC has conducted extensive searches of its files to establish whether there is any record of misconduct or allegations of misconduct by Sir Jimmy Savile during his time at the BBC. No such evidence has been found," it said in a statement.
"Whilst the BBC condemns any behaviour of the type alleged in the strongest terms, in the absence of evidence of any kind found at the BBC that corroborates the allegations that have been made, it is simply not possible for the corporation to take any further action."
The BBC also explained why an investigation into Sir Jimmy by BBC2's Newsnight was never broadcast.
Newsnight editor Peter Rippon said: "It is absolutely untrue that the Newsnight investigation was dropped for anything other than editorial reasons."
Surrey Police confirmed it investigated an historic allegation of indecent assault against Sir Jimmy in 2007.
The allegation was said to have occurred at a children's home in Staines in the 1970s and the TV presenter was interviewed under caution.
The matter was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, which advised there was insufficient evidence to take any further action.
Film-maker Louis Theroux, who tried to unravel Sir Jimmy's private life on-screen, said his thoughts were "with the victims".
He said: "What is especially disturbing is the nature of the alleged abuse - the fact that it apparently took place repeatedly, in the workplace and at a school he was visiting, and that it may have been known to his bosses and co-workers.
"My thoughts are with the victims. I hope they find peace."
what do you think?
I knew it
How did you know it? By looking at him?
If he was guilty then its good the truth comes out. . . But why have all these people waited till now? Why not accuse him when he was alive so that some legal redress might have been made? I don't buy the idea that people were "too scared". . He wasn't head of an international crime syndicate was he? The police would have investigated just like with gary glitter. . . Something seems a bit dodgy. .
Stevie. Agree with you. Theer is something not quite right about this.
d and d Phillips
Well, that'll fix it for someone.
now then now then, what's the point on an expose on somebody who is dead? as for esther rantzen, she is the one who should be investigated. she admits hearing the rumours and not doing anything about them. it's all very good being a name behind the foundation of childline, it does the career loads of good. i guess speaking out against another celebrity doesn't do the career so much good!
He is not here to defend himself so the TV programme is, I feel, wrong. I will not be at all surprised when these women's 'stories' are splashed all over 'The Sun' and they will be paid large sums of money.
trial by hairstyle again.like the guy who was Joanna Yates landlord... why wait til he died-too scared to say is only a valid argument if the alleged victims are still kids now surely? i'm not saying they are making it up, but more credibility if they have actually reported it a while ago and he happened to pop his clogs during the investigation...
Emma. I think you are right. If some one is an eccentric or an odd ball and doesn't fit in with societies image of normal then it isn't long before someone starts pointing the finger because they are aren't like us us
The truth will out.
Somehow, I doubt that...............
It's funny that this came's out now,why not say same thing when he was still alive.
Dead men can't fight back, why didn't they make this documentary when Mr Savile was alive?
John. Because dead men can't sue if the supposed proof turns out to be just one persons word against another
Can't say I surprised! Although did I really need to know? NO! Will I be watching the programme? NO! Jimmy did a lot of good things in his life, lets remember him for that!
Why are you not suprised?
I expect the allegations are true, its just a pity he's not her now to get punished for child abuse, its such a shame people are afraid of saying anything about someone who is in the limelight, they are just people the same as anyone. else, born the same, die the same. bleed the same , so they can be punished and jailed the same, and Ester Rannzan at the time encouraged youngsters to phone child line for help, its a pity more didn't, and why on earth didn't someone who was suspicious speak up and say something, and save the abuse of another young victim. disgusting
Why do you expect the allegations to be true? Do you know him personally?
Marilyn. On what grounds? Instead of slagging him off on the basis of unproven allegations get over to Rochdale and point the finger at those who have been proven to be negligent where child abuse is concerned
Paedophiles should be castrated ! ? okay so what should be done to female paedophiles ? Its a belief that all paedos are men. They arent. Children should be protected by their families ? Dont paedos live in family units and abuse their own families children ? Yes they do because they are evil. The point of this ramble is that SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN IS CARRIED OUT BY ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE and no one should be assumed to be innocent because of their sexual gender or position in a family or position in society. The topic is vile and disgusting and my initial reponse was why should this come out now when he cant defend himself ? but having given it thought it IS right to show that paedophiles have nowhere to hide even after death and openess should hopefully bring others who consider themselves above the law to justice and show children that they will be protected and not ignored
Most child abuse is from someone in the victims family. So to assume guilt before any evidence or trial has actually occured is simply wrong.
Tracey. All noble sentiments which by and large I go along with.Six words spring to mind however.Lancashire police and Rochdale Social Servies
Shocked at this, used to watch him all the time. Got friends in the Met who say that there is one person they just can't touch because of his status. The law's not stupid and they have a lot of information and evidence. But people would be that shocked, but then would you be surprised!!!!
Though I would not defend JS I am disappointed that they should target a dead man when the allegations supposedly were floating around during his life. One questions the likes of Ester Rantzen who as a campaigner against child abuse I would have expected to take matters further at the time. Have zero tolerance for pedophiles where proven but am also uneasy with a program like this which amounts to a Star Chamber hearing. I can not see its purpose other than perhaps making profit for someone.
All a bit late and pointless. The man is dead and cannot defend himself.
I was never a fan of Jimmy Saville, for me, he had too high an opinion of himself. However, one has to ask why has ITV chosen to raise this matter now??. Could it be perhaps, that they knew they would find themselves in court facing a law suit for Defamation of Character had they done so whilst Mr Saville was still alive??. Additionally, where have all his accusers been all these years ??, I do not believe for one minute that they were "afraid" to speak out, we are talking about a media star here, not a member of some criminal organisation. I would not set too much store by Esther Rantzen's opinion either. She never could see a conclusion without jumping to it..........
Your premise has a hole in it - if, as you say, ITV (a big rich media organisation) were, according to you, afraid of a defamation lawsuit, then does it not follow that individual women themselves would not have stood a chance? So do you support Savile, even though he flimsily defends the likes of Gary Glitter? Phew.
Chris, No matter how large an organisation is, it does not like to lose large sums of money through court actions. Given the size of the organisation (ITV), I would imagine the amount demanded by Mr Saville (had he won the case would have been very large indeed). As for the witnesses, they did not stand to lose any money and one instead claimed "she was frightened to speak out". Do you honestly believe that Jimmy Saville would have tried to harm her in any way if she gave evidence (as an adult) whilst he was still alive??. Surely he would know that he (Saville) would be the first person police would come to in such an instance??. No my friend, I fear your argument is the one with large holes in it.
Further to my last Chris No , I do not endorse his support of Gary Glitter, it was extremely misguided and wrong. That does not however alter the fact that attacking someone who is no longer able to defend himself is also very wrong.
My my my
give the girls a lie detector test if they pass , well go with the show, if they start looking for money you have to wonder,because this is happening a lot, e.g joe soap goes to a disco pats a girls behind se says beat it, but if she turns round and its a high profile footballer help he assaulted me give me cash (FACT)