The BBC has offered its “full support” to police investigating allegations that Sir Jimmy Savile sexually abused teenage girls.
The corporation said it was “horrified” that the accusations levelled at the former Top of the Pops presenter could have occurred on its premises by someone on its books.
Following the news earlier today that the Metropolitan police are looking into an allegation of rape against Savile, the BBC said it would open its books to investigators.
In a statement, a spokesman said: “A number of serious and disturbing allegations have been made over the past few days about the sexual abuse of teenage girls by Jimmy Savile.
“Some of these allegations relate to activity on BBC premises in the 1960s and 70s. We are horrified by allegations that anything of this sort could have happened at the BBC – or have been carried out by anyone working for the BBC.”
He added: “We have today asked the BBC Investigations Unit to make direct contact with all the police forces in receipt of allegations and offer to help them investigate these matters and provide full support to any lines of inquiry they wish to pursue.”
It is understood the decision to cooperate with police was taken by BBC director general George Entwistle.
The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile
The allegations have surfaced in the run up to ITV1 documentary The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile, which has interviewed 10 women who claim that they were assaulted by the Jim’ll Fix It star, who died last year.
BBC2’s Newsnight was working on a similar investigation into the Savile accusations last year, but decided not to run the story for “editorial reasons”.
Responding to recent criticism of the decision to spike the package, Newsnight editor Peter Rippon has denied that it was part of a “cover-up” and that the BBC withheld evidence from the police.
He said the story was dropped because Newsnight journalists were unable to prove allegations from a key witness that the police case against Savile was dropped “on the grounds he was too old”.
If this fact had been stood up, Rippon said it would have pointed to “institutional failure” at the police, which would have been in the public interest.
“I took the decision not to publish. There were some of my team who disagreed strongly with my judgement, and others who agreed equally strongly,” Rippon said in a BBC blog.
“However, those who disagreed accepted my decision. There were no rows of any kind as has been reported.”