UK & World News

  • 19 December 2012, 3:39

Newsnight Savile Report: Inquiry Findings Due

The findings of an inquiry into Newsnight's shelving of a report into sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile are due to be published.

Top BBC executives and journalists on the flagship current affairs show have given evidence, some under questioning from a QC, into why a planned news report on the DJ did not go ahead.

It has been claimed the show was axed because it clashed with planned tributes to Savile - who died in 2011 - an allegation the BBC has repeatedly denied.

Witnesses including director of news Helen Boaden, Newsnight editor Peter Rippon and former director-general Mark Thompson are reported to have been questioned for the review, which is overseen by ex-Sky News executive Nick Pollard.

Mr Rippon stepped aside from his role after the BBC said his explanation as to why the show dropped its investigation into the late DJ and TV presenter was "inaccurate or incomplete in some respects" and corrected his statement.

The publication of the review - accompanied by a separate report by Ken MacQuarrie into how Newsnight reported an incorrect story implicating Lord McAlpine in child abuse allegations - caps a bad end to a year for the BBC.

The corporation managed to shake off criticism over how it covered the Diamond Jubilee and was widely praised for its coverage of the Olympics and Paralympics.

But it has paid out 185,000 in damages to Lord McAlpine this week and lost two director generals in the space of less than two months.

George Entwistle, who was head of BBC television at the time the investigation was dropped, took the top job in September only to resign after just over 50 days in charge as the Savile scandal developed.

Another review led by Dame Janet Smith, looking at the culture and practices of the BBC during the years in which Savile worked there, is expected next year.