An inquiry into the BBC’s “culture and practices” during the era of star presenter Jimmy Savile’s campaign of sexual abuse is to begin today.
Led by former Court of Appeal judge Janet Smith, the probe will also determine whether the broadcaster’s child protection and whistle-blowing policies are up to scratch.
The announcement comes a year to the day since Savile died aged 84 at his home in Leeds and a day after former pop star Gary Glitter was arrested and bailed by police investigating the Savile scandal.
Scotland Yard detectives are currently dealing with about 300 alleged victims and are following more than 400 lines of inquiry as part of their Operation Yewtree investigation into “Savile and others”.
Glitter’s arrest came as the chairman of the BBC Trust, Chris Patten, said he was dedicated to finding out the truth about the scandal that has engulfed the corporation, vowing there would be “no covering our backs”.
He also apologised “unreservedly” to abused women who spoke to a BBC’s 'Newsnight' investigation into the abuse, which was axed last year.
An inquiry into possible BBC management failures over the canning of the 'Newsnight' programme has already began under former head of Sky News Nick Pollard.
Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman yesterday called for an over-arching independent inquiry into the Savile case
However, British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said he was not he was not in favour of an immediate judge-led investigation.
Mr Grayling said: “There is always a danger if you set up a very substantial inquiry process of that kind that it takes much longer to get to the truth.”
Smith, who was appointed to the appeal court in 2002, led the Shipman Inquiry into the activities of serial killer GP Dr Harold Shipman which reported in 2005.
Gary Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, has been bailed to reappear at a police station in mid-December this year, pending further inquiries.