The BBC could face a full public inquiry into the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal if the corporation's investigations fail to "get to the bottom" of the accusations, Culture Secretary Maria Miller has warned.
The national broadcaster has launched an inquiry into the culture and practices at the corporation in the era of the late TV and radio presenter's alleged sexual abuse.
It is also investigating the decision-making process which saw a Newsnight investigation into the Jim'll Fix it star's activities shelved.
Speaking about the double probe, Mrs Miller told The Sunday Telegraph: "The real challenge for the BBC is to make sure that the outcome of these reviews really gets to the bottom of these accusations.
"If the investigations are considered not to suffice because of issues around transparency, process or other such things, then a public inquiry remains an option."
Mrs Miller has already written to Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, to say it was vital that the inquiries are "able to follow the evidence wherever it takes them".
She told the Telegraph it was "particularly" important that the corporation publishes all evidence to the investigations, which so far it has refused to do.
Her comments came after veteran presenter Jonathan Dimbleby said there has been a "disturbing relish" in the way critics have laid into the BBC over the Savile scandal.
The Radio 4 presenter said there has been a "witchhunt" against the corporation since allegations the celebrity abused hundreds of young girls and women - some on BBC premises - emerged.
Savile, who died last year at the age of 84, is now believed to have been one of the UK's most prolific abusers, with about 300 possible victims. Scotland Yard is leading a national investigation into the television and radio star's activities, with detectives following 400 lines of inquiry.