The genius of Jimmy Savile is that each day the revelations manage to get worse. By tomorrow, it will turn out he was a commander in the Provisional IRA, and on Saturday that in 1997 he used to drive a Fiat Uno haphazardly round the underpasses of Paris.
But there’s a twist to some of the stories about him now, especially coming from certain newspapers and politicians, which is that all his crimes were caused by the BBC. Grant Shapps began his answer on Question Time about Savile by insisting that the BBC has many questions to answer. It might seem an unusual response on hearing that a psychotic paedophile was on the loose for 40 years, to go “typical bloody BBC”, but that was his angle.
Shapps might need extra training if he ever gets a job with ChildLine. Otherwise, he’ll listen to some teenager telling a heartbreaking tale and reply: “Well, the main thing, dear, is we have to do something about the bloody BBC. To think they take all that money in licence fees and then your uncle went and did that. I’d privatise them if I had my way. Give us another call if it happens again.”
Similarly, Daily Mail and The Sun have made the failings of the BBC one of the main issues about Savile, until you expect the next page to start: “Why has Huw Edwards, who reads the news for the BBC, not once dug up Savile’s grave and spat at his corpse? NOT ONCE!”
Then the next page would be a feature on how the silence of Valerie Singleton, who used to appear on the BBC, but hasn’t said a word in public about the matter, says all you need to know about the decline of this once revered network.
Soon there’ll be a complaint that the title of one of the BBC’s programmes was Goodness Gracious Me, which contains one of Savile’s catchphrases, and yet NO ONE at the BBC has seen fit to destroy all copies of this now tainted show from their archives.
Then the Culture Secretary will complain that every other story in the news is the fault of the BBC. “For several weeks, President Assad’s murderous campaign has attacked civilians,” she’ll say, “and yet not one legion of troops has been sent by the BBC to defend them.”
It’s particularly impressive that The Sun screams so loudly about immoral acts going on under a company’s nose without anyone seeming to spot they were taking place. Once they’ve finished with Savile, they’ll yell: “How did we manage to get away with it for all these years? We at News International hacked the phones of hundreds of people, including the deceased, and what did the BBC do to stop us? NOTHING AS USUAL!!!! We should have been locked up years ago but despite having all the resources of Panorama and Newsround, they never got us banged to rights once, what a useless bottomless pit of licence money it is.”