Unless you've been in a coma these past two months you will have undoubtedly heard of the numerous allegations surrounding the (now deceased) Sir Jimmy Savile relating to his alleged "misconduct" in regards to his relationships with children, stemming right back from the mid 1950's right up until sometime in 2006.
All of the media furore stems from the program "The other side of Jimmy Savile", broadcast on the 3rd of October 2012 as part of ITVs "Exposure" series of documentaries.
The program itself garnered infamy even before its broadcast simply because unlike the other programs shown thus far in the series (with subjects including mistreatment of the dead and bereaved by funeral directors, unethical payments made by British businesses to foreign governments etc) , it was heavily promoted both on TV and in the newspapers.
In the program, many women who were in their teens during the 1970s recount their stories of how during various encounters with Savile (in the course of his TV or charity work) they were physically or sexually molested, including further allegations naming other famous faces who have at some point been associated with either the BBC or with Savile himself.
The broadcast of the program was followed the next day by an absolute media circus in which nearly all the tabloid newspapers began printing further accusations made by both participants in the program as well as new people who have "come forward" to tell their stories.
as a result, many other accusations have "come to light", such as Saviles alleged molestation of young boys as well as girls, and Savilles alleged molestation of corpses while working as a volunteer at various hospitals, finally culminating in a statement released by the NSPCC today (19/10/2012) in which they state that based on the current evidence, Jimmy Savile could possibly be the most prolific child sex offender in British history.
But lets take a step back here, as thus far, the only evidence that is available has been statements made by people about events that may or may not have happened over a quarter of a century ago, coupled with a lot of hearsay and gossip from both current and former employees of the BBC who were around in some way during Saviles time working on programs such as "Clunk-Click", "Top of the pops" and "Jim'll fix it". None of this evidence can be easilly corroborated, simply due to the amount of time that has passed, and the fact that Savile, as well as many other people involved in what is believed to be a massive BBC "cover up" have in fact died in the mean time.
The furore is so big that the BBC has had to launch its own internal inquiry into whether a cover up does indeed exist and who exactly was involved in it, which has been "helped along" by testimonies from people like Esther Rantzen, who also appeared on the ITV Exposure program stating that she knew that soemthing was going off due to "rumours" that were apparently rife within the BBC, but said there was "no-one whom she could voice her concerns to".
Lets sort this one out now, Esther Rantzens assertion that there was no-one she could talk to about it is rendered questionable due to the fact that from 1969 until they were married in 1977, Rantzen had an eight year affair with Desmond Wilcox, who from 1972 until 1980 was the BBCs head of General features, and thus was in a position to have followed up the allegations back then, but yet for whatever reason, didn't. This also ignores the fact that at any time the suspicions could have been reported anonymously to the police (who always take a dim view of any allegations of child molestation) for them to have investigated, but no, Esther decided to remain quiet until after Savile was dead, despite her huge amount of work on setting up the "Childline" charity in the mid 1980s and generally being an active campaigner for the protection of children and children's rights.
What we are seeing thus far is nothing more than what has become known in recent times as "Trial by media", which very rarely ends in justice for anyone involved but it always helps to sell a few thousand newspapers, it is also helped along in this case by the fact that a bizarre quirk in British law means that anyone wishing to make allegations against someone who is no longer alive can do so completely free from the worry that they may face criminal prosecution if they are found to have lied or distorted the truth.
Although thus far the bulk of allegations have been made against Savile himself, there have been one or two other names crop up in connection with him, for example the former pop star turned convicted paedophile Paul Francis Gadd (aka Gary Glitter) and comedian Frederick Leslie Fowell (aka Freddie Starr).
In relation to the accusations made against Freddie Starr, Karin Ward, the same person whom is also making accusations against both Savile and Gary Glitter, states that at the age of 14, she was invited to London to attend the recording of an edition of Saviles "Clunk-Click" program after which she was invited to a party in Glitters dressing room. She states that while attending this party she "saw Glitter having sex with an underage girl while Savile watched", and she was then later "groped by Starr, who then humilated her by calling her a titless wonder (referring to her small breasts) when she rebuffed his advances".
Starr himself originally denied having been on the Clunk-Click program, but then was later found to be wrong as a short video excerpt from the show came to light showing Starr and Karin Ward on the program which was originally transmitted in 1974.
Starr countered this by stating that he had simply forgotten he had appeared on the program, as he has been rather prolific on TV and radio since the early 1970s, and simply couldn't remember a single appearance on a show made nearly 38 years ago. In an interview on ITVs "This Morning" program, he requested that the police contact him in order for him to answer any questions they have, and pointed out the fact that Karin Ward had made several contradictory, and in some cases, untrue statements about him in the interim period, such as changing the story concerning their meeting, and also stating that Starr "reeked of booze", despite being teetotal, this was later changed to state that he "reeked of the same cologne that [Wards] stepfather wore, and she hated her stepfather. He also highlighted how easy it was for people who work in TV to forget people they had met briefly by pointing out to presenter Phillip Schofield how he himself had famously denied ever having met racing driver James Hunt, but then was found to have met him during the course of his career.
So anyways, as Savile died in October 2011, it is hardly likely that any kind of inquiry into his alleged escapades will ever find out what really went off, due to the fact that he cant be questioned due to him being dead and buried for nearly a year, it is my belief that yes, there is something in the allegations of child molestation, but the majority of them may not be true, for example, he is alleged to have molested teenage girls in his various visits to the Duncroft Approved School for girls (basically, a kind of prison for "wayward" teenage girls, in the same way as troubled males were sent to a "Borstal"), and at the Haut de la Garenne childrens home in Guernsey during the 1970s, but yet after investigations carried out by both Surrey police (in 2007) and Guernsey police (in 2008) he was released without charge under the grounds of insufficient evidence.
Police are currently following over 300 lines of enquiry and state that there is a potential for there to be over 200 associated victims, but on a daily basis more and more people are "coming forward" with stories linked to Savile AND others.
The majority of the accusations against him have this bizarre feeling of untruth, and seem mainly to be based on peoples opinion of him as being rather "creepy" or "weird" in some way. This is certainly understandable, for example, by the time he began presenting "Top of the pops" in 1964, he was already 38 years old, but yet dressed and behaved a lot "younger", its akin to the embarrassing feeling of having your dad turn up at a party and then attempting to dance and talk with your friends.
Throughout the 70's and 80's he was regularly ridiculed by both the general populace and the press for wearing tracksuits during the majority of his appearances (which one of his current accusers states he did so that he could quickly drop his trousers in order to facilitate sexual encounters, and not because he was generally associated with advocating exersize and a healthy lifestyle, as well as the fact that he had stated he wore them because he found them comfortable) , as well as having his eccentricisms mocked by impressionists, comedians and satirists, and yet while all this was going on, he was still one of the most respected TV personalities in Britain, and remained so until after his death, despite the fact that over the years people made various accusations about him in one way or another.
Another thing I note is that, as I stated earlier, anyone with concerns could report them anonymously to the police, It seems rather odd that all of a sudden people are "giving up their right to anonymity" and coming out of the woodwork to say things, all of them no doubt receiving generous fees from the various newspapers, TV news companies and documentary makers for their various appearances.
The other questions that need to be asked of them are "why now?" and "what do you hope to get out of it?", although I'd wager that deep down, the answer probably lies in the millions of pounds sat in the bank accounts of the various charities associated with Savile, which recently received a boon thanks to the sale of many of Saviles personal possessions at a widely publicised charity auction, which raised an additional £320,000 for their coffers. I mean, after all, no legal action can be taken against Savile himself, on the account of him being deceased, so if money isn't the object, what use will smearing the name of a dead man have?, other than to discredit the various charities associated with him.
Sure, it'd be nice if the truth, if it even exists, comes out, but along the way, I'm sure there will be many cheques and envelopes filled with cash change hands, and if it turns out there was no cover up, or indeed anything for Savile to be held accountable for, at least the newspapers will have no reason to worry about any impending legal action, well, unless that is they continue publishing names of people who are still alive and end up having to explain it away in court.