BBC too slow on Savile scandal, says ex-executive

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The BBC was too slow to deal with the unfolding Jimmy Savile sex scandal, according to a former high ranking Corporation executive.

Richard Sambrook, a former BBC director of global news who also served on the Corporation’s management board, said the BBC was “very slow to spot the toxic nature of the story”.

He said yesterday: “I think initially they thought this was about what a BBC contracted performer had done privately a long time ago and ‘we’ll let the police deal with it’ – failing to realise it was about what may have occurred on the premises with BBC guests, for which they shared a responsibility.

“As soon as you have a major star who has appeared in lots of programmes accused of paedophilia on the premises, it’s not something you can say ‘Well that’s just a matter for the 

Mr Sambrook said the BBC had suffered from not replacing the role of deputy director-general, which was eliminated as part of a cost-cutting exercise last year.

He said Mark Byford, the last man to hold the role, had a “lot of clout” on the BBC board and could “force that journalistic perspective into the board”.