Photo: Getty Images / Matthew Lewis
Jimmy Savile confessed to a reporter that his reputation would collapse after his death and he would come to be regarded as “crooked”, it has emerged.In a previously unpublished interview given by Savile two months before he died, he admitted he was “not a straight punter”.
The Jewish Chronicle obtained a transcript of the interview, which was ostensibly about Savile’s work with Jewish charities, but which included the Jim’ll Fix It presenter’s enigmatic reference to his murky past.
Asked what he would choose if someone could “fix it” for him, Savile said: “A telephone in heaven.”
When he was asked why, he said: “Just leave it at that. That’s the trouble with you fellas, you always want to delve and go further.”
He then added that he was “not a straight punter.
“When I’m gone, they’ll say ‘I always thought he was straight but he wasn’t – he was crooked’.”
Savile was born and raised as a Roman Catholic, but once described himself as “the most Jewish Catholic you will ever meet”, and raised money for several Jewish charities. He died aged 84 in October last year.
Meanwhile it has emerged that the BBC Panorama programme will broadcast an investigation on Monday night into Newsnight’s decision to drop a film on Savile.
The documentary will be shown on the eve of an appearance before a committee of MPs by George Entwistle, the BBC director general.
The programme may also include some of the unseen footage filmed by Newsnight, said to include an on-screen interview with at least one alleged victim of Savile.
Mr Entwistle has been called to give evidence to Parliament’s culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday, when he will be asked exactly how much he knew about the Newsnight probe and the decision to discontinue it.
Michael Crick, the Channel 4 News chief political correspondent and former Newsnight political editor, described the timing of the Panorama broadcast as a “huge problem” for Mr Entwistle.
The director general has claimed from the outset that while he was aware that Newsnight was looking into Savile at the end of last year, he did not know what the investigation was about.
Peter Rippon, the editor of Newsnight, has insisted the investigation was dropped for “editorial reasons”.
Regardless of whether Mr Entwistle knew what Newsnight had unearthed, he has already been criticised for allowing the corporation to broadcast tribute programmes to Savile without checking whether Newsnight had discovered anything compromising.
The director general has been at pains to stress that the editors of BBC programmes have complete independence, free from any influence by directors-general, and the timing of the Panorama programme could not be a sterner test of his word.
At least six celebrities have now been accused of child abuse either on BBC premises or during the time they were prominent BBC stars.
They include Savile, the Steptoe and Son actor Wilfrid Brambell, an unnamed soap star and the singer Gary Glitter.
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