Jimmy Savile: BBC's George Entwistle appears before MPs

Key points

  • BBC director general George Entwistle appears before MPs on the Commons culture committee, where he is questioned about the Jimmy Savile affair
  • TV presenter Jimmy Savile, who died in 2011 aged 84, is accused of sexually abusing young people over a four-decade period - sometimes on BBC premises
  • The BBC has announced inquiries into why a Newsnight investigation into Savile was dropped and another into whether the corporation's culture allowed sexual abuse to take place

Live text

Reporting:

  • Holly Wallis 
  • Rob Corp 
  • Alexis Akwagyiram 

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Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of this morning's appearance before the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the BBC's director general, George Entwistle. He is expected to be questioned about the BBC's response to the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal after it was alleged the former TV presenter and Radio 1 DJ sexually abused young people over a 40-year period.

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In particular, MPs will want the director general to talk about the decision by Newsnight's editor Peter Rippon to pull the programme's investigation into Savile last December.

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At the time the programme was axed, Mr Entwistle was head of BBC Vision - which oversees TV commissioning and scheduling. It is likely he will also be asked about when and how he found out the Newsnight report into Savile's sexual abuse was being dropped.

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Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee chairman, Conservative MP John Whittingdale, is expected to lead the questioning of Mr Entwistle. He said earlier this week that the BBC had made "a bad situation even worse" with its "lamentable" handling of the shelved Newsnight investigation into the Savile allegations.

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Meanwhile BBC director general George Entwistle has set up two independent inquiries into the Savile abuse claims.

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The first is led by Nick Pollard, a former head of Sky News, which is already looking into why the Newsnight report into Savile was dropped late last year and the BBC's handling of the matter. It is expected to report back by the beginning of December.

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George Entwistle

Fleet Street photographers were outside Mr Entwistle's home first thing on Tuesday morning to catch him as he left for work. He became director general on 17 September this year.

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The second inquiry set up by the BBC will be led by former Court of Appeal judge Dame Janet Smith and will examine the culture of the corporation during the years that Savile worked there. The results are expected in spring 2013.

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A raft of sex abuse claims against Savile started emerging after ITV broadcast an investigation into the allegations - Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile - on 3 October. A Newsnight report - which also examined allegations against the former TV star - had been dropped in December 2011.

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On 19 October, the Metropolitan Police - which is taking the national lead in the Savile probe - formally announced a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual abuse involving the presenter and others. They say they are following 400 lines of inquiry and there could be as many as 200 victims.