The Director General of the BBC has resigned over a scandal which has been raging almost since he took off, about two months ago. Mr. Entwistle, a long standing BBC employee and executive, took office shortly before a storm erupted about the behaviour of a (then) iconic BBC star, Jimmy Savile. Savile had been a DJ
at Radio from its earliest days in the 1960s, but was also a very popular television presenter and hosted, among other things, a hugely popular program called "Jim'll Fix It" where young (and not so young) people wrote in to ask JS
to fix a dream for them. It ran for several years; Savile was also very much involved in charities and raised millions.
He was also, we now strongly believe, a paedophile; last Christmas, shortly after his death (in Nov, aged 84) the BBC broadcast a show in his honour, looking back on his life; around the same time, reports were starting to flood in about his activities and the BBC's flagship news programme, Newsnight, was about to broadcast a show about these allegations; however, this was shelved, because it might "clash" with the tribute show.
That was the first scandal that broke when Entwistle was appointed and he was forced to admit that it was inappropriate for that show to have been shelved. However, because he was new in the job, he came through that.
Just this week, however, the Newsnight programme broadcast a programme about other people who may have been involved in the scandal; it referred to a senior Tory (British Conservative party) figure, who it did not name, but his name - Lord McAlpine, (a former party treasurer), was circulated by Twitter. The Newsnight show was unbelievable in its lack of basic journalistic professionalism; Entwistle decided he would step down. He was also subject to a rather unfair (I thought) interview by John Humphrys, a veteran journalist and expert interrogator of the powerful. As well as being DG
, he is also the BBC's editor in chief and he was asked why he knew nother about this. He said it had not been brought to his attention, something JH
thought unacceptable. (In fairness, what was absolutely unacceptable was Newsnight's decision to go ahead with this without the proper checks; they didn't even run it past their legal people.)
Anyway, he (George Entwistle) has now resigned and the BBC's discomfort looks set to continue for a long time to come. The British police are now looking into reports that up to 300 people had been abused by JS
and three people (one already a convicted paedophile) have been arrested in connection with these inquiries.