The BBC Blame Game

Tracing the Jimmy Savile pedophilia scandal in its entirety—including ongoing inquiries, in which executives have avoided taking responsibility and few have been axed—V.F. special correspondent Maureen Orth investigates why an exposé on Savile’s misdeeds mysteriously never aired.

  1. In 1215, King John allegedly spent the night before signing the Magna Carta at Duncroft, a manor about 20 miles west of London. By the 1970s, Duncroft had become an “approved school,” a stately home with bars on the windows for intelligent wayward girls. It was visited often by the BBC’s radio and TV star Jimmy Savile, Britain’s greatest pedophile. Growing up, BBC producer Meirion Jones would visit Duncroft, where his aunt was the headmistress, and he would witness Savile, the flamboyant M.C. of the music show Top of the Pops, alight from his Rolls-Royce proffering cigarettes, rides, and invitations to the BBC studios in London, where, it is now believed, he violated dozens of under-age girls—as well as boys—in his dressing room. “My parents would say to my aunt, ‘What are you doing letting a 50-year-old man take a bunch of under-age girls in his car?’ And my aunt would say, ‘Oh, he’s a friend of the school.’ ” (Jones’s aunt has recently said she had no idea Savile was a predatory pedophile.)

    When Savile died, on October 29, 2011, at the age of 84, having been knighted by the Queen as well as the Pope, he was one of Britain’s most famous personalities, a combination of Dick Clark, Johnny Carson, and Wolfman Jack. The self-proclaimed creator of the first disco, he claimed to be the first D.J. to play records for money, in rough dance halls in Leeds and Manchester as far back as the 40s and 50s. In the early 60s, he counted among his friends the Beatles and the Rolling Stones...