Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Hall 'had lady friends in BBC room'

Veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall leaves Preston Crown Court

Stuart Hall had a room set aside at the BBC where he could entertain "lady friends" while waiting to appear on screen, a former colleague has said.

Linda McDougall, who worked as a producer at BBC Manchester in late 1960s and 1970s, said the former presenter's activities were widely known about within the organisation. She said he had an "amazing set-up" at the BBC building at Piccadilly where the old medical room was reserved for his use.

"Stuart occupied this during the afternoons while we were rehearsing for Look North and he had lady friends who came and went happily on to the BBC premises and kept him occupied during the afternoons," she told BBC Radio 4's The World At One.

"I can't say that he was having sex with them there because I wasn't ever in the medical room at the same time but I always thought that they weren't coming for cups of tea at the BBC in the afternoons. But of course everyone else knew. We all made jokes about it. You would have had to have your eyes shut and not been at work at all to not know what was going on."

Ms McDougall said she had found Hall "a complete nuisance" but that she had been "shocked "to discover that his offences related to children.

BBC human resources director Lucy Adams said: "Any allegation like the one that came out this morning with Stuart Hall is absolutely sickening and it shakes the BBC to its core. There are thousands of people who work with the BBC, whether they be presenters or whether they be staff, who do a fantastic job. But these historical allegations are clearly very, very damaging and are very saddening, primarily for the victims."

Meanwhile, one of Hall's victims has spoken of her relief at the broadcaster's guilty pleas to a string of indecent assaults, saying: "He's going to be given what he deserves."

The woman, who spoke to ITV News under the name Amy, was 17 when Hall sexually assaulted her at the hotel where she worked. She had been chosen to be a cheerleader on It's a Knockout, which was being filmed in her town, and was at the hotel with Hall when he grabbed hold of her, pushing her up against a wall.

Asked for her reaction to Hall's guilty pleas, she said: "Relief now. Relief. That other people, their pain is going to ease. I know mine is."

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