12 Oct 2012

Savile ‘boasted of under-age sex’

A former Radio 1 researcher tells Channel 4 News that during a meeting, Jimmy Savile said he “had just had 14-year-old girls” in his trailer.

Richard Pearson worked at the station as a 21-year old and was in a meeting with a senior producer when he said Savile arrived, “doing his comedy presenter routine, and one of the things he said, not particularly quietly was that he’d ‘had’ three 14-year-old girls in his trailer that morning.

“And when he said ‘had’ he didn’t mean they’d come to criticised his curtains.”

I never felt any need to think we had a monster in our midst. Derek Chinnery, former controller, Radio 1

Mr Pearson said he did not work with Savile while they were both at Radio 1. He told Channel 4 News that despite being offered the chance to work with the DJ, he turned down the opportunity after meeting him.

Allegations continue to emerge linking the flamboyant Yorkshire DJ to the abuse of young girls when he was at the height of his fame in the 1970s.

Read more: Savile allegations – more witnesses come forward

Mr Pearson said Savile explained that having sex with teenagers “kept him young” but that he had been “pretty shocked” at the revelation.

Meanwhile, the former controller of Radio 1, Derek Chinnery, has told Channel 4 News he knew nothing of the rumours surrounding Savile.

Mr Chinnery, who was station controller between 1978 and 1985 and is now in his 80s said: “It came as a great surprise to me he was doing things he shouldn’t have done.

“It wasn’t my job as the boss of the network to worry about what he got up to in his private life unless it could be shown to be illegal or undesirable – I never felt any need to think we had a monster in our midst.”

But another former BBC staff member, David Winter, told Channel 4 News that although it was widely known that Savile was followed by groups of pubescent girls, and there were suspicions about what they were doing, it wasn’t considered as shocking then as it is now: “Everybody was aware that Jimmy was always surrounded by pubescent girls. They followed him around, hung around his caravan, they turned up to his shows and he liked them.”

Mr Winter, who went on to become head of religious programming at the corporation and produced several programmes with Savile, said he did not know if the rumours about the entertainer were true: “I didn’t know whether or not he molested them. What did he do in his caravan or what did he do in his dressing room? Everybody suspected. It was such a culture, celebrity culture, the Top of the Pops culture, it was teenage girls, I mean they were the audience.

“It wasn’t regarded quite as shockingly then as it is now.”

The BBC says it will carry out an investigation into the allegations once police enquiries are completed.