Belfast Telegraph

BBC appoints Savile probe heads

Former High Court judge Dame Janet Smith and ex-Sky News executive Nick Pollard are to lead the BBC's independent reviews stemming from the Jimmy Savile sex abuse allegations.

The corporation last week announced separate inquiries and now the two heads have been appointed by the BBC Executive and agreed by the BBC Trust.

Dame Janet Smith DBE will lead the examination of the "culture and practices of the BBC" during the years Savile worked there.

And Mr Pollard, a former Head of Sky News, will look into whether there were any "failings" in the way a Newsnight report into claims against Savile was handled.

The planned news report was dropped late last year and there have been repeated suggestions the decision was made because the BBC was already planning to do more favourable programmes, claims which the BBC has repeatedly denied.

BBC director-general George Entwistle said last week that he was launching the Newsnight inquiry to shake off the "clouds of suspicion".

The Pollard review will also look into the handling of material that may have been of interest to the police or other authorities and will begin "as a matter of urgency". He will be given legal support independent of BBC management.

In addition to looking at the BBC during the Savile years, the Smith Review will examine if the corporation's child protection and "whistleblowing" policies are up to the job.

Dame Janet - whose inquiry will not begin until police indicate they are happy for it to proceed - will be assisted by an expert in child safeguards.

Police believe the DJ and television presenter's alleged catalogue of sex abuse could have spanned six decades and included about 60 victims.

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