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Rosine Subject: Jimmy Savile story - Q&A etc Sensitivity: Confidential
Hi there Had a quick chat with Liz Mackean earlier which reminded me that your Jimmy Savile piece is in the pipeline. Last time I talked with Meirion you were focusing on allegations of abuse with victims willing to speak on the record. Is this still the case? Aside from any promotional efforts, we may well need to do a bit of managing around this - despite such rumours circulating in the media for years. In addition to any press interest we should bear in mind how BBC complaints team respond. Is there a bit more of a synopsis available so I have a clearer idea of contents and also do you have any plans to share it with the other BBC outlets at all? With all this in mind I’ve started pulling together the below suggested lines to take considering the most obvious questions. Clearly, need your input here as you will have better thoughts, having put the story together. I will get legal ok - is it roger law on this one? Once sorted we can share with complaints team as well so they are prepared once we have tx date. As ever happy to chat it all through including any poss pre-transmission publicity Many thanks Helen
Helen Deller Publicist BBC News
Jimmy Savile Expose 1) The allegations have been circulating for years why not run the story when Jimmy Savile was alive to respond? (OBVIOUSLY ASSUMING HERE….) Mr Savile was a very popular and well-love figure. The individuals were unwilling to go on the record prior to Mr Savile’s death for fear of reprisal and felt they would not be taken seriously… 2) If the individuals featured are credible why didn’t they report the abuse to the authorities before? (Could be similar to above answer but you will of course be better informed) 3) How did you corroborate the validity of your sources? As the country’s most trusted news provider the BBC has strict guidelines to ensure accuracy in our output, contributors’ stories are checked and double checked as is any relevant documentary evidence. Newsnight adheres to these guidelines when investigating stories and we are confident of our journalism regarding this investigation. 4) Newsnight audiences are flagging isn’t this just a cheap shot, rehashing scandalous rumours to get more viewers? Not at all. Newsnight continues to attract good audiences and this year has seen some record breaking figures. We don’t simply chase stories because they will grab headlines but neither do we shy away from subjects because they be prove uncomfortable viewing. Newsnight gets viewers to think again about what is happening in the news agenda and this story is no different. 5) How is attempting to destroy a deceased popular celebrity’s reputation in the public interest? (need to be clear on editorial justification here – would it be along the lines of just because someone has a particular standing / persona it shouldn’t mean they cannot be held to account for inappropriate actions /behaviour….?)