David Jordan, director of editorial policy and standards at the BBC, told last Tuesday’s culture select committee that he had issued inaccurate public statements concerning the nature of Newsnight’s Savile sex abuse investigation, but that he did so before he had been told about the true nature of the programme by its producer, Meirion Jones.
BBC sources say, however, that his version is incorrect. They claim instead that Jordan repeated misleading statements about the programme’s investigation after he had been warned by Jones that his account was wrong.
Sources within the BBC newsroom said it was concerning that Jordan, who had sat alongside director general George Entwistle during last week’s challenging select committee appearance, should have committed such an error. One said: “The chronology of what he knew when is apparent. He could be said to have misled the committee.”
Meanwhile, the NSPCC said calls were still “coming in thick and fast” and showed little sign of abating. Peter Watt, director of the charity’s helpline, said they had never fielded so many calls regarding an individual. So far, the charity has taken 190 calls relating directly to Savile plus a further 217 concerning “other historical abuse”, all of which are being investigated by the Met.
On Saturday, publicist Max Clifford revealed that up to 15 celebrities had come forward, anxious their past sexual exploits might see them caught up in the wake of the scandal. Jim Gamble, former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), warned that such were the nature and size of the abuse allegations it could transform the awareness of child sex abuse in Britain. He said: “If you believe that due to someone’s position in society, due to their wealth, due to their celebrity … that means they cannot be a paedophile then you are a danger yourself, to your children and other people’s children.”
The BBC is braced for the legal ramifications arising from allegations that other BBC employees were involved.