Esther Rantzen tells police about new abuse allegations naming three BBC figures
TV personality Esther Rantzen has passed emails to police containing allegations about three high profile BBC figures – after her appearance on a documentary exposing Jimmy Savile as a child abuser.
The long-time child protection campaigner and founder of charity ChildLine told the Ham&High that the emails made accusations about three people while they were working at the BBC.
The emails were not from victims of abuse but from others who had information to pass on.
Ms Rantzen confirmed she would assist police with enquiries if asked and that she had received the emails after her appearance on an ITV documentary earlier this month exposing Savile’s years of abuse.
The 72-year-old, who lives in Hampstead, said she personally had been unaware of Savile’s sordid past.
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“Although when I was very junior as a researcher I heard a rumour about Savile’s predilections for very young girls, it was never backed up. I never met anyone who had either witnessed it or experienced it,” she said.
“I was always brought up to believe that most rumours are false, many rumours are malicious, and if you know them to be true you pass them on. But if you don’t, then you have a responsibility only to tell the truth.”
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She only met Savile half a dozen times on TV programmes or at charity events but said she found him “creepy and odd”. But other colleagues had witnessed Savile’s promiscuity.
“I remember actually talking to someone who had worked on Savile’s Travels and who had said that he didn’t turn his radio mic off when he had encounters with “happy nurses” – I mean these were adult women that he was having relationships with, if you can call them relationships,” said Ms Rantzen.
“And my poor friend had to sit through a sound recording of what transpired between them because Jimmy never took his radio mic off.”
She added: “It was consensual sex. He (my friend) was pretty disgusted – but there was no further significance.”
But otherwise she was unaware of the accusations until the recent victims spoke out, saying that ChildLine had never received any calls naming Savile as an abuser.
“For the last 26 years I have been actively involved in tracking paedophiles, in amassing evidence against child abusers, I’ve given evidence in court myself,” said Ms Rantzen. “So this is something I’m very familiar with and there was no reference throughout the years at ChildLine to Savile or any other named celebrity.”
She called for Ofcom to set up a hotline for whistle blowers from the broadcasting industry to report issues in confidence.
“What I want to know is, given that there were rumours and there were people who knew what Savile was doing, how is it that anyone gave him a job like Jim’ll Fix It,” she said. “Who would appoint a paedophile to that role? How blind and deaf.
“Because that was in the entertainment department and it was in that department that there were junior staff perhaps, but staff, who had seen things, had witnessed things. How did he get that job?
“If you can answer that question for me then maybe we’ll be one step closer to ensuring this sort of thing does not happen like this again.”
* The number for ChildLine is 0800 11 11. The number is free, confidential and does not show up on phone bills.