Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Parkinson speaks out on Savile

Michael Parkinson says he cannot understand why Jimmy Savile was given access to schools and hospitals

Chat show host Michael Parkinson has said the BBC made "mistakes" over the Jimmy Savile abuse case, but the real question is why the DJ was given access to schools and hospitals.

Parkinson, who worked for the corporation for many years, said he was looking at the BBC "with despair" after the revelations about Savile.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on Classic FM, he said: "I knew Savile. I didn't much like him. That's not hindsight. I couldn't understand why he became so popular.

"But I'll make one observation about the BBC. The BBC got a kicking on that. But at least he had a reason for being at the BBC. He was employed by the BBC and he had to work there.

"What on earth was he doing, what was his reason to be at Broadmoor? What was his reason to be at Stoke Mandeville? What was his reason to be at the hospital in Leeds and, particularly, what reason did he have to go to a school?

"Come on. That's the worst aspect of it, I think. At least at the BBC he had to be there, he was employed by the BBC."

During the interview, which will be broadcast on Sunday at 9pm, the veteran presenter said he first met Savile in Manchester in the 1960s when they both worked at Granada.

"But he was not a man who sought the company of people, with hindsight now, who couldn't help him," said Parkinson.

"In those days, we didn't know he was being selective, we just thought he got his own gig and off he went to do it. Nobody ever got really close to him at all."

Scotland Yard is leading the inquiry into Savile and has said officers are currently dealing with around 450 potential abuse victims, the vast majority of whom claim they fell prey to the DJ.

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