Jimmy Savile biographer says inquiry will go ‘on and on’

Disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile, who died in 2011. Picture: PA

Disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile, who died in 2011. Picture: PA

Share this article
0
Have your say

JIMMY Savile’s biographer believes there is “no will” from Britain’s political establishment to reveal the full extent of child sex abuse.

Dan Davies said he believed there would be prolonged delays over the probe about the actions of paedophiles in powerful places.

He beguiled and charmed [the Royal Family] as a sort of colourful everyman, dispensing simple advice from the man in the street. They sadly bought it

Dan Davies

Davies, who spent years investigating the former Top of the Pops presenter before his death, said he believed it would take at least 10 years before any findings were made public.

But speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the journalist and author said the full truth was unlikely to emerge as it would be “far too damaging.”

Davies also criticised repeated delays over the publication of the report into sexual abuse at the BBC, which will examine how Savile and broadcaster Stuart Hall carried out campaigns of abuse over several decades.

It emerged in May that police had requested that its publication be put back in case it prejudiced ongoing investigations.

Davies told his festival audience that he believed the authorities had been “blinded” by Savile’s celebrity going back as far as the 1950s, when he was one of the best-known personalities in Manchester’s nightclub scene.

He said Savile, whose history of abuse was exposed in an ITV documentary broadcast almost a year after his death, had “revealed himself” in his own autobiography, which was published in the mid-1970s, which he said was littered with “dark insights” into his character.

Davies said Savile was given “incredible access” to powerful figures, including senior church figures, the National Health Service, politicians and members of the Royal Family.

And the writer said he had been forced to review his original suspicions that Savile had always acted alone.

A widespread child sex abuse inquiry was first announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in July 2014. The probe, to be headed up by a New Zealand high court judge, will examine claims of a high-level cover-up of allegations of child sex abuse involving public figures, including politicians at Westminster.

Davies said: “I feel very strongly that we live in an age of inquiries, where the establishment’s response to a serious issue is to set up an inquiry.

“The child sex abuse inquiry is a really interesting case in point. It has taken the best part of a year to get a suitable chair. It is going to take 10 years to get that done.

“I don’t think there is any will on the part of the political establishment to really get to the bottom of what happened. It is going to be far too damaging.

“I think they’re just going to spin it out. It’s going to be like the Chilcot inquiry (into the Iraq war). It is going to go on and on and on.”

Davies said Savile had been treated as an “unofficial court jester” by the Royal Family.

He added: “He beguiled and charmed them as a sort of colourful everyman, dispensing simple advice from the man in the street. They sadly bought it.”

Back to the top of the page