The Not So Damning Dame


Dame Janet Smith spent three years investigating the BBC and Savile and then allowed what, half an hour or so for journalists to quiz her on her conclusions limiting each one to one question and a supplementary question?  Ridiculous as she strictly regulated what they asked and how long they had to ask it.  Surprised at the journalists who deferred to her and allowed her to get away with it.  She was there to answer questions not to get away with revealing as little as possible whilst strenuously defending her own reputation..

Her conclusion that the BBC, as a corporate body, was blameless as senior managers had no knowledge of Savile’s activities is complete nonsense.  She claims that the hierarchical nature of the BBC meant that such discussions never happened but anyone who has ever worked in any organisation knows that there is huge amounts of contact between the different levels and that ‘gossip’ of such a salacious nature concerning someone as famous as Savile, a person who was a major and important celebrity for the BBC, would have flown around the organisation at speed.

DJS even admits that in 1971 the allegations were in the newspapers but the BBC top brass were so concerned with the reputation of the BBC that they covered them up…how then does she conclude that management knew nothing?

She states that knowledge about Savile was limited to producer level and producers did not have the authority to tackle them…OK say that was true….Savile was carrying out his abuses over many decades so when those producers got promotion and rose up the ranks were they not then in a position to take things further and to take preventative action as they saw he was still employed by the BBC?

DJS said that there was a culture of fear that meant staff would not report Savile’s behaviour for fear of the consequences for their careers.  Surely then that is the responsibility of senior management?  There have been plenty of similar enquiries about other organisations, such as the Police, where the BBC has been happy to point the finger of blame at senior management for not managing such a culture.

As the lawyer for the victims said, this is an expensive whitewash that gives BBC management a clean bill of health when in reality it beggars belief that they could not have known anything.

Liz Dux, from Slater and Gordon, says:

‘All the Savile and Hall victims have ever wanted from this report is truth and accountability. Despite millions having been spent on the inquiry, my clients will feel let down that the truth has still not been unearthed and many will feel it is nothing more than an expensive whitewash’.

On the basis of reading through parts of the report, it’s difficult to disagree with her assessment.


Having said all that the BBC itself, at least on the shape of BBC Trust headshed Rona Fairhead, took the blame as she said that ‘No one can doubt the BBC failed the victims and it turned a blind eye.’



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12 Responses to The Not So Damning Dame

  1. John Standley says:

    “She states that knowledge about Savile was limited to producer level and producers did not have the authority to tackle them”

    Authority to report sex crimes to their superiors? What about contacting the Police?


  2. RJ says:

    The BBC uses a very simple procedure to discredit any report it doesn’t like. It asks a single question – who paid for it? If it was paid for by an organisation that will like the conclusion the explicit BBC line is that the conclusion (whatever it may be) has no credibility – the commissioning organisation bought the conclusion it wanted.

    In this instance we can use the BBC own method to assess Dame Janet’s report:
    Who commissioned her? The BBC
    Who was found blameless? The BBC.
    How could anyone possibly doubt the correctness of the findings? Sarc.


    • wronged says:

      ‘He who pays the piper plays the tune’


    • chrisH says:

      Wonder how many BBC Asian Correspondents will carry that Smith Report around with them ,NEXT time they`re up in Otley or Durham, Lancaster or Garstang?-because-believe you me, lots of new northern place names will need to get phonetic advice for the Oxbridge plums on fetid sentry duty up there.
      I say that because it IS bulky…so i`d have thought would make a handy step up for the taller paedo..and a positive travelling boon for the smaller trussed-up,drugged-up bairn in need of Islamic enrichment…opening up the dialogue as the BBC might say.
      AND-when the kids are grown up, I reckon there`s 4000 pieces of left handed paper to wipe botty and wrap a kuffar kebab inside….
      That said, Savile was a Catholic…so something from Pope Francis might be nice…maybe his vicar up in Sedgefield until 2007 might speak…the Catholic Church here died when Blair was made one.
      And no chance of its resurrection, unless it`s Saviles scrapbook that they`re reading on the day.
      Savile TOLD them on his shows, he WROTE it in his book and he ADMITTED much of it to the licensed BBC gumshoes like Theroux and Clare ,….but NOBODY important KNEW of Sir James and his Caravan of Love? Nor of his Loveshacks both ends of the M62?
      Doctor “Don`t Know”?…more like “Doctor Who don`t give a fuck, we`re all at it”…with Harriet and Patricia on call if the Tories cut up rough…


  3. chrisH says:

    Channel 4 showed us in profile the extend and the bulk of Dame Janet Fooks report”…for that`s what she`s done in that Bulter Sloss/Laming way…she`s screwed us over, enjoying the parade of trashy victims on diazepam and Matrix Chambers 24 hour hotline contact in their purses, on a card.
    800 pages so it was…”well thank you and thank you again”!
    A sporting cast of the same old victims paraded before the great and good for their research,their impact statements and blood tests if they get close to a cheque-up from Persaud, Harry Hill or Lee Nelson-and then Holby Citys scriptwriters if it gets REALLY close to a case for Judge Deeds…Mantalbano even if it goes to European Courts later?
    Trouble with being actors, script writers and commissioners etc is that you really THINK that Adele thanking a spacemen is news, that pushing a black bloke off the Metro in Paris is akin to shooting the Romanovs.
    A few chavs from Saviles era…and a load more chavs soon to come, who sadly missed Sir James at Top of the Pops, so now get live appearances at the council homes up north instead. Lots of Puff Daddies to replace Top Pop Jimmy!
    Ah well-Dame Janet and Lord Tony will have the next generations of judges. lawyers , counsellors and TV therapists ready and willing to get THEIR livings sine die over the spent knickers of northern girls…and if these kids ever become grannies, they TOO might do the can-can for Childline 2040…albeit in full burqas.
    Michael Fookin Burqa….so euro supermarket eh!….


  4. nofanofpoliticians says:

    Two points to make:

    The “lack of curiosity” referred to when Entwistle was fired ( seems to be prevalent among BBC senior management and makes it easy for those same people to say they didn’t know anything, and

    Presumably at least some of those middle managers who were dumped on in the report were promoted into senior managers in the last 40 years, and so would still have known.

    Maybe I’m just a cynic, but I’m still not getting how no-one knew. Did they not talk to each other?


  5. Beltane says:

    The clues are in the titles, really. Directors direct and managers manage – so how much dereliction of duty at all levels within the BBC does it take for their jobs to come under scrutiny? What it needs is an in-depth investigation conducted by some Dame or other. Esther Rantzen springs to mind.


  6. cockneyboy says:

    I remember watching Saville on TV in the early seventies with a friend and we both looked at Saville and reached the same conclusion i.e. why is this talentless weirdo being fostered on us? Later on stories (or if you like rumours) came from people that knew members of certain pop groups who mentioned that young girls were often seen in and out of his caravan. In other words ordinary members of the public (like me) had heard about Saville but apparently not the BBC?
    Saville obviously had something on certain powerful members of the establishment and was subsequently protected (if it had been in somewhere like say Russia he probably would have got a visit from a man with a sharp umbrella)
    What we have witnessed is a classic case of the establishment closing ranks. We might find out more at a much later date when certain people have died and others wish to earn a bob or two by way of books or newspaper articles.


    • Geoff says:

      I remember one Saturday evening in the 70’s ‘Fix It’ was on, we didn’t watch it as a habit but my Dad, who was a sales rep for a very famous food company selling catering supplies to hostelries, said something like ‘the guy’s evil’ to my Mum, she said how do you know? He replied that on his travels he had met a chap who had worked in one of Savile’s clubs and was now working in a restaurant in Wiltshire saying ‘you wouldn’t want to know what I heard’

      I guess he might have elaborated later to my Mum, the story obviously not fit for young ears, but he would never never me allow to watch TOTP until I was older and Savile was appearing less.

      Never thought much about it but regardless I had always found Savile somewhat of the night and I have to admit wasn’t surprised when the revelations appeared.

      Something that bothers me was a quote from Terry Wogan when he was interviewed by Jean Rook, she asked him when was he going to expose Savile? he replied ‘that’s your job’

      Its impossible to believe that Wogan didn’t have the top BBC hierarchy’s ear, so again to say the BBC bosses knew nothing is hard to swallow and sadly Wogan’s is no longer with us, now there’s a conspiracy for you….!

      Why did people like Wogan and Rancid who obviously knew not do anything, what were they afraid of?


  7. The BBC should never have been allowed to investigate itself – from that moment on the outcome was obvious.


  8. The General says:

    Another pompous self opinionated Blair appointee who can hardly address an audience she is so wrapped up in her own self importance. As with Leverson she wrongly considers herself highly intelligent.
    So the BBC hierarchy did not know she claims. Just one example of the double standards this demonstrates :- yesterday The owners of Olton Towers are to be prosecuted as they are deemed liable for the shortcomings of their maintenance staff. They should have known that someone did not tighten up a nut somewhere on a huge fairground ride, yet SHE tries to convince us her friends at the top of the BBC were ignorant and were not expected to be aware of the actions of Saville et al even though there were complaints of a very serious nature throughout the sixties and seventies…Beggars belief.
    How has she managed to spend over 6 million ? Is it possible to get a breakdown through freedom of information?