19/12/2012 15:05 GMT

Pollard Review: Key Points From Report Into Jimmy Savile Newsnight Affair

The six key points from the Pollard report into the BBC's decision to drop a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile's sexual abuse.


George Entwistle was warned about the "real truth" about Jimmy Savile in an email in 2010 from BBC executive Nick Vaughan-Barrat, when he asked him to prepare an obituary.

"I’d feel v queasy about obit. I saw the real truth!!! Have a good break," he said.

The review said the email, and others like it, indicates "there was knowledge, not just rumour ... about the unsavoury side of Savile's character" in BBC TV shortly after his death.


The decision to shelve a Newsnight investigation into Savile was not a result of a cover-up.

"The decision by their editor to drop the original investigation was clearly flawed and the way it was taken was wrong, though I believe it was done in good faith. It was not done to protect the Savile tribute programme or for any other reason," Nick Pollard concluded.


Pollard said the BBC had a "complete inability" to deal with the crisis that ensued in the wake of revelations that Savile abused children.

"The level of chaos and confusion was even greater than was apparent at the time. Leadership and organisation seemed to be in short supply.

"Efforts were hampered in part by an apparent adherence to rigid management chains and a reluctance to bypass them.

"The fallout from Newsnight's Savile investigation generated a great deal of disagreement and, in some instances, personal animosity within the BBC," Pollard said.


On the morning after the broadcast of ITV's exposure programme into Jimmy Savile, on 4 October, the BBC's head of news Helen Boaden recalls Entwistle saying: "I 'm going to do a public statement and I have decided that I need to protect the BBC and BBC News within it, and I'm going to do a statement that makes it impossible for Peter [Rippon, editor of Newsnight] not to resign."

He later rowed back from the statement. Boaden also offered to resign but was refused.


Stephen Mitchell, the BBC's deputy head of news who resigned in the wake of the report, removed the Savile investigation from a list of projects considered risky, called the Managed Risk Programmes List.

“I can only conclude that he did so because of a misconceived notion that the programme was potentially so sensitive that it should not appear on the list (but that Mr Entwistle should instead be verbally warned about the risk by Ms Boaden)," Pollard concludes.

As for Rippon he "made a bad mistake in not examining the evidence properly".


Entwistle refused to have an off the record conversation with Newsnight producer Meirion Jones, saying "to be frank, I didn’t trust him to have an off the record conversation with me.”

READ The Pollard Report