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Jimmy Savile abuse cover-up claims leave BBC 'in worst crisis for 50 years'

By John Fahey

The BBC is in its worst crisis for 50 years as it tries to answer questions of integrity over claims of a cover-up about why it dropped an investigation into Jimmy Savile's paedophilia.

Veteran foreign editor John Simpson tells a special edition of Panorama tonight that the corporation was in a “very dangerous” position if it lost people's trust.

The journalist spoke out as the flagship programme reported the findings of its investigation into why Newsnight spiked the investigation into Savile's abuse, sparking allegations of a cover-up.

Reporters behind the investigation believe one of the possible reasons their programme was dropped from last December's schedules was because it clashed embarrassingly with tribute programmes to Savile pencilled in around the same time.

Panorama, at 10.35pm on BBC1, also probes why BBC chiefs gave different explanations over why the programme was dropped and what it was about.

Mr Simpson said: “This is the worst crisis that I can remember in my nearly 50 years at the BBC.

“I don't think the BBC has handled it terribly well.

“All we have as an organisation is the trust of the people that watch and listen to us and if we start to lose that, that's very dangerous I think for the BBC.”

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