BBC boss quizzed Savile on rumours
A senior member of staff at the BBC has revealed he questioned Jimmy Savile over rumours about his private life more than 20 years ago.
As police revealed the DJ and television presenter's alleged catalogue of child sex abuse could have spanned six decades and included around 60 victims, Derek Chinnery, BBC Radio 1 controller from 1978 to 1985, said he quizzed the presenter about the rumours.
The scandal has mushroomed since ITV screened a documentary in which five women alleged they were abused by Savile, with Scotland Yard saying there are allegations spanning 1959 to 2006.
Mr Chinnery, who was Savile's boss at Radio 1, told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House: "I asked, 'what's all this, these rumours we hear about you, Jimmy?'. And he said, 'that's all nonsense'. There was no reason to disbelieve (Savile)."
Speaking about his acceptance of Savile's denial, Mr Chinnery told the BBC: "It's easy now to say, 'how could you just believe him just like that?'."
He added: "He was the sort of man that attracted rumours, after all, because he was single, he was always on the move, he was always going around the country."
Scotland Yard is pursuing 340 lines of inquiry in the Savile abuse case and so far 12 allegations of sexual offences have been officially recorded but this number is increasing, police said.
The BBC was sucked into the scandal after it emerged that Newsnight abandoned an investigation into the alleged abuse. The organisation has also come under fire with claims that staff were aware of the Jim'll Fix It presenter's behaviour and failed to take action.
BBC director-general George Entwistle has offered a "profound and heartfelt apology" to the alleged victims and announced that two inquiries would be launched. One will look into whether there were any failings over the handling of the abandoned Newsnight piece. A second independent inquiry will look into the "culture and practices of the BBC during the years Jimmy Savile worked here".