The story began in the 1970s when a young boy, Meirion Jones, witnessed visits of Jimmy Savile to Duncroft School in Staines, Surrey. The boy’s aunt, Margaret Jones, was the headmistress of this approved school. At the time of Savile’s death Meirion Jones was a producer with the BBC Newsnight current affairs TV programme. For some years he had been in contact with former Duncroft pupils on the Friends Reunited website where he had picked up on chatter that Savile had sexually assaulted Duncroft girls during his visits. For some time he had wanted to expose what he considered to be the darker side of Savile, and within a few days of his death Jones was given the green light to put together an expose by Newsnight editor Peter Rippon.
Newsnight does not normally deal in celebrity revelations, but on this occasion Peter Rippon was persuaded that there was a public policy interest, as the former Duncroft pupils were claiming that Surrey Police had refused to investigate their claims of sexual assault because Savile was “too old and infirm.” One of the former pupils, known as Karin, was prepared to go on air with detailed revelations about how she had been sexually assaulted by Savile. Karin had already published an e-book which included veiled accusations against Savile. Peter Rippon was looking for corroboration from other Duncroft pupils (the BBC contacted 60 former pupils for evidence), but he was more concerned about getting confirmation that the police had ended their investigation because Savile was too old to be prosecuted. Eventually Surrey Police revealed that they had investigated the allegations against Savile but no further action was taken because the CPS had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. (It was subsequently discovered that the “too old and infirm” police letter was a forgery). On hearing this Peter Rippon decided that there was no longer any justification for going ahead with the expose. He also had some concerns about the credibility of Karin, and the apparent collusion between ex-Duncroft pupils on Friends Reunited. Meirion Jones strongly disagreed with this decision believing that Karin was a sufficiently credible witness to justify broadcasting her allegations. However, the decision of Peter Rippon prevailed and the Newsnight Savile feature was shelved.
The Surrey Police investigation took place during the 2007-9 period and covered three allegations. The first was that Savile had forced a Duncroft pupil to place her hand on his groin in the TV room, the second that Savile had kissed a choir girl visiting Stoke Mandeville hospital and put his tongue in her mouth, and the third that Savile had engaged in sexual activity with a pupil in a building known as Norman Lodge located in the grounds of Duncroft. Savile denied all the allegations. In the case of the Norman Lodge incident the police accepted that even if the allegation was true the girl was over 16 and the activity was consensual so no offence had been committed. Savile however said that he had never set foot in Norman Lodge and was unaware of its existence. The choir girl at Stoke Mandeville was the sister of one of the Duncroft girls. She refused to co-operate with the police investigation. Savile denied that the incident had ever taken place pointing out that in any case such behaviour would be reckless with so many witnesses. With regard to the TV room allegation Savile denied that this had ever happened, again pointing out that it would have been impossible with so many witnesses present. The complainant in this case was not the ex-pupil alleged to have been the victim, who did not want any police action, but instead an ex-Duncroft pupil who claimed to have witnessed the event. Margaret Jones, the headmistress confirmed that neither she, nor any of her staff, had received any complaints about Savile arising from his visits. Ten former Duncroft residents were also contacted by Surrey police but none witnessed anything untoward during his visits. Savile was interviewed under caution about the allegations by two police officers. In the interview he is confident and relaxed, stating he had nothing to hide fully co-operating with the officers, and repeatedly claiming that it would have been impossible to carry out the acts he was accused of as there were always 30-40 other people present. Any reasonable observer would conclude that Savile comes across as credible and truthful in this interview. The CPS was clearly correct in concluding that there was insufficient evidence to back up the allegations.
During the assembly of the Newsnight feature Meirion Jones hired as a consultant Mark Williams-Thomas, who promotes himself as a child protection expert. Williams-Thomas agreed with Meirion Jones that the allegations against Savile were credible and he set about gathering the material that would be shown in the ITV Exposure programme broadcast in October 2012. He was provided with details of the former Duncroft pupils and others who had contacted Meirion Jones. In the Exposure programme seven witnesses made allegations against Savile namely Sue Thompson, a former BBC newsroom assistant, Wilfred De’Ath, a former BBC producer, Sarah the Stoke Mandeville choir girl, Val and Angie from Top of the Pops, and two former Duncroft pupils, Fiona and Charlotte. Some others were featured but they were not witnesses and were probably only included to undermine the reputation of Savile. Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile was probably the most deceitful, dishonest and disreputable programme ever to have been broadcast by a mainstream TV company. Two of the witnesses appear to be completely fictitious, four more appear to be voicing demonstrable fabrications and one was an allegation already investigated by Surrey police. It is worth examining in detail how this programme was constructed and why, from beginning to end, it lacks any credibility or honesty
First up was a former BBC newsroom assistant Sue Thompson who claimed that she stumbled upon Savile in a dressing room at BBC Leeds with what she thought was a 14 year old girl on his knee whom he was kissing. The programme was Yorkshire Speakeasy of 10 February 1978 fronted by Jimmy Savile. From Sue Thompson’s viewpoint, through the opened door, Savile was seen right side on, with the girl on his knee, who thus must have had her back to the door since “Savile had his left arm up her skirt”. Yet in answer to a later question from Williams-Thomas, Sue Thompson states that she could “still see the girl’s face”. This would be impossible, the girl cannot be both facing, and have her back to the door, at the same time (gentlemen you can try this experiment at home with your wife on your knee). Sue Thompson also mentioned that she spoke to a male colleague about the incident but he “just laughed”, although later (and also in an email to Meiron Jones) she claims she never had to courage to mention the incident because of Savile’s fame.
Sue Thompson was discovered by Williams-Thomas because she had sent an email that Meirion Jones received about this alleged incident. What was omitted from the programme, but mentioned in the email, was that this girl was blind. It is difficult to explain how this blind girl managed to find her way to Savile’s dressing room and return to her party without anybody noticing. This girl has never been traced, and there is no record that she ever mentioned the incident to those who accompanied her. The male colleague of Sue Thompson has never been contacted for corroboration. It must be asked why Savile would take this kind of risk with a young teenager when anyone could enter his dressing room. The incident could have lasted no longer than a few seconds yet Sue Thompson is apparently able to give a detailed, albeit contradictory account, of an event that occurred 35 years earlier. Williams-Thomas claimed that as records were destroyed it would not be possible to identify the girl, but failed to mention that he had already discovered the date of the programme, and as the girl was blind identification would be a lot easier. The producer of Yorkshire Speakeasy, Nick Vaughan-Barratt, in evidence to the Pollard Review, stated that he had never heard any rumours or complaints about Savile when he worked with him in Leeds during the period 1971-1980. All the evidence suggests that this testimony must be treated with extreme caution.
The next witness was the former BBC producer Wilfred De’ath who claimed he met up with Savile in a Chinese restaurant in central London with a girl of about 12 years old who he had met at a recording of Top of the Pops the previous day. De’ath also claimed that he phoned Savile at The Mascot Hotel in London the following day and Savile volunteered the information that he was in bed with the same 12 year old girl. According to De’ath these events took place in 1965. However at that time Top of the Pops was recorded in Manchester, not London. Savile did appear on De’ath’s radio programme Teen Scene in 1965 but that was also recorded in Manchester. Although Jimmy Savile would have visited London at that time for his Radio Luxembourg radio show he would have had no occasion to meet up with De’ath who worked for the BBC. The programme did fairly point out that De’ath had been imprisoned for fraud, so he was clearly not the most reliable of witnesses. De’ath came to the attention of Exposure through an item in The Oldie published in early 2012 in which he anonymously made the claims that were subsequently repeated in the Exposure programme. Given that it was clearly impossible for the incidents he described to have taken place the only conclusion that can be reached is that they are a complete invention on the part of De’ath.
We now come to the most outrageous part of the Exposure programme, the testimony of Val and Angie. Val claimed to be 15 in 1969 when she was introduced to Savile and she met up with him several times during recordings of Top of the Pops, when she alleged they engaged in sexual activity in his dressing room and his camper van parked outside Kings Cross station. Val claimed that the relationship with Savile lasted until 1974.and that she became overawed by his celebrity status and through meeting many famous people. Angie claimed that she met Savile for the first time at Radio Luxembourg in 1968. She alleged that she had sexual intercourse with him when she was still 15 years old, and claimed to have been swept away by his celebrity status. To support her testimony viewers were shown a photo of Savile with a blurred out image of Angie outside Radio Luxembourg’s London office, plus other photos of Savile in indoor settings claimed to be from Angie’s “private photos”, together with an inscription on Savile’s biography allegedly given to her in 1974.
There is no evidence that Val and Angie ever existed, or how the producers came to discover them. On Twitter Williams-Thomas claims to have “identified a separate group of women who got to know Savile through visiting Top of the Pops.” It is not known how he found “this group of women” nearly 45 years after the events. Williams-Thomas declares that “what I won’t do is give away exactly how I tracked down the women and witnesses because this would expose the very people I said I would protect.” In other words he is refusing point blank to provide evidence to anybody who might challenge their existence. The faces of Val and Angie are never shown, only back views after they had been provided with wigs. Their comments are voiced over. Both claim to have had a five year relationship with Savile, so it is highly improbable that this could have been kept a secret from their relatives, the supposed reason for the disguise. As teenagers it is difficult to believe that they would not have been eager to boast about their relationship with a national celebrity. It is also difficult to accept that, after such a length of time, both women would coincidently be so fearful to reveal their identities that they had to resort to wigs and a voiceover.
At the time that Val and Angie were supposedly having a relationship with Savile he was living in Leeds. He only appears to have come to London once a month to record Top of the Pops, and BBC invoices show that he came by train. According to a Daily Mail article published on 3 December 2011 during these visits to London in 1968 and 1969 he was accompanied by his regular Leeds girlfriend Sue Hymns and they both stayed together in hotels. The photo taken outside the Radio Luxembourg office could have been taken no later than June 1967 when he left the station to join Radio One in 1968. The inscription in the biography would have been from a copy that he handed out to the Duncroft girls when he visited the school during the 1974 period. Angie mentions Savile wearing a shell suit in 1969 but neither Savile (nor anyone else) wore such a garment in 1969. The BBC found no evidence in their records of allegation of misconduct against Savile. In an interview for the Daily Mail Margaret Jones stated that she had been advised that four Duncroft pupils would appear in the Exposure programme, but only two were shown as such. Could Val and Angie be ex Duncroft pupils in disguise? The inescapable conclusion, given the complete lack of evidence of their existence, is that Val and Angie appear to be a fabrication, included to both discredit the BBC and to fraudulently bolster the case against Savile.
The next witness was Sarah, the choir girl who it was alleged that Savile put his tongue in her mouth when she approached him at Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1973. It is worth remembering that she is the sister of one a former Duncroft pupil. It is most likely that she actually played no part in the programme since she had already refused to cooperate with the police. Her testimony was voiced over and the nature of the complaint would have been provided to Williams-Thomas by her Duncroft sister. In the programme Sarah said she wrote to Savile telling him that she was in a choir that would be performing at Stoke Mandeville hospital. She went on to claim that Savile phoned her at home several times to say he would be in the audience. After the show Sarah ran up to him as she was about to enter the coach for home to let him know that she was the girl who had written to him. Savile then put his tongue in her mouth which shocked her. In the programme Sarah claimed that Savile’s telephone calls were evidence that he was grooming her. This must be a very strange form of “grooming” since it overlooks the fact that it was Sarah who wrote to Savile in the first place and it was she who ran up to him at the coach. From her own account he appears not to have made any contact with her during the show. There was no mention in the programme that she was part of the Surrey police investigation and that she refused to co-operate with it. The details given to Surrey Police were very different to the account on Exposure, there being no reference to Savile ringing her home or her writing to him. It must be concluded that the inclusion of this witness was an attempt to mislead the viewers. There was also a failure to mention that Savile had denied this allegation when interviewed by Surrey Police.
The final witnesses were two former Duncroft pupils Fiona and Charlotte who both appeared as themselves without disguise. Charlotte claimed that Savile assaulted her in his caravan during the recording of a radio show. However, such an assault would have taken place in front of the producer and sound engineer, together with the two teachers who were supposed to have pulled Charlotte outside the caravan after she complained, plus several other pupils who were also described as being present. She then claims to have been placed in an isolation unit for “two or three days”. There is nothing in the school records to confirm this and such action would have been contrary to the school’s policy on isolation which in any case required approval by the headmistress and agreement from the school’s psychiatrist. Margaret Jones, the headmistress, denies any knowledge of this event.
Fiona alleged that at the age of 14 Savile carried out various sex acts in the back of his Rolls-Royce in a car park whilst the other girls were sitting at tables having a picnic. She claims that she would never have been believed despite several other girls being in the vicinity who could act as witnesses. Fiona goes on to claim that Savile assaulted her in a dressing room at BBC Television Centre after the recording of the Clunk-Click TV programme. This appears impossible as Duncroft pupils were always accompanied and strictly supervised by a member of staff during visits to the show, and according to reports the programme was actually recorded at the BBC Theatre in Shepherds Bush. However Fiona could not have been at Duncroft in April 1974 when Clunk Click was last broadcast. During the Exposure programme there is a shot of Savile, Fiona and another girl in a photo in Fiona’s photograph album. This photo later appeared in the Daily Mail described as “Duncroft summer fete June 1979”. No girl was ever at Duncroft for five years until they reached 19, so Fiona’s visits to Clunk Click must be fiction. It should be remembered that neither Fiona nor Charlotte made their allegations to the police when Savile was alive despite being contacted by Surrey police during their investigation. Moreover, they never raised the matter with school staff at the time, and neither were willing to appear on BBC Newnight to corroborate Karin’s testimony. The conclusion can only be reached that the testimonies of Fiona and Charlotte appear to be fabrications, probably scripted from beginning to end, with the sole intention of destroying the reputation of Jimmy Savile.
Despite all the falsehoods the programme created a sensation when broadcast. Not a single journalist from the mainstream media questioned the veracity of the allegations, taking them on trust, probably due to the involvement of the police and the support of the NSPCC. Instead media attention focused on whether the BBC had pulled the Newsnight story to protect the BBC1 Christmas Savile tribute programmes, and the ongoing furore eventually resulted in the resignation of the BBC director-general.
Within days Operation Yewtree began investigations into several aging celebrities, some of whom have been charged with sexual offences dating back over many decades. The NSPCC and the Metropolitan Police jointly produced the report Giving Victims A Voice which accepted as factual claims that several hundred people had been sexually assaulted by Savile. The title says it all, as all the accusers are openly described as victims, despite no investigation of their claims ever having been carried out. Both the Exposure TV programme and the Yewtree investigation were part of an ongoing feminist agenda, sponsored by children’s charities, to demonise men and portray women and children as their helpless victims. It must have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
The Exposure programme ended with Esther Rantzen tearfully proclaiming that the jury was no longer out on Savile as she gullibly swallowed the account she had just been presented with. What she failed to see about the Exposure programme was that it provided seven witnesses for the prosecution and none for the defence, with no defence counsel cross-examination, just Mark Williams-Thomas apparently spoon-feeding the witnesses with his scripted responses. During the programme we saw no children or any evidence of paedophilia. Just some middle aged women who now regret how free and easy they were with their sexual favours with a national celebrity when they were teenagers. The result of this charade is that hundreds of women have now come out of the woodwork claiming that they were “abused” by a safely dead TV star who must have met hundreds of thousands of people during his lifetime. They know they will face little challenge to their allegations, aided and abetted by a charity which promotes the belief that accusers would never lie, a corrupted police leadership that fails to question this viewpoint, a compliant media that does nothing to challenge these assumptions and lawyers who will provide these likely compensation chasers with all the legal and professional assistance they require.
The above summary of events has been compiled with the help of information provided from the blogs of Anna Raccoon, Jim Cannot Fix This, Sally Stevens, Justice for Jimmy Savile and Hardcastle who, between them, have painstakingly carried out a thorough investigation into the ITV Exposure programme. They are to be congratulated for their tenacity in bringing the truth to light. In contrast the mainstream media has credulously swallowed the apparent falsehoods spun by Williams-Thomas, without carrying out any checking or investigation whatsoever.