The BBC has published evidence gathered in its inquiry into Newsnight's Savile decision

Friday 22 February 2013 12.15
The Newsnight programme was cancelled weeks before a tribute to Jimmy Savile was broadcast by the BBC
The Newsnight programme was cancelled weeks before a tribute to Jimmy Savile was broadcast by the BBC

The BBC has published evidence gathered during an inquiry into Newsnight's decision to drop its Jimmy Savile investigation in an attempt to be "open and transparent".

It follows the publication of the Pollard Review in December, which concluded the decision to shelve its inquiry into sexual abuse claims against the television star was "seriously flawed".

Some 3,000 pages of emails, interviews and submissions from BBC executives and journalists, including Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, were made available online.

Acting director-general Tim Davie said: "The BBC has been open and transparent in its handling of this unhappy chapter in our history. It has not been an entirely comfortable process for us to go through, but it is right that we did it this way.

"It is important that the BBC now moves forward with the lessons learned and continues to regain the public's trust."

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten pledged at the time of the report's publication that all the evidence would be released, apart from some redactions for "legal reasons".

Legal teams are said to have been sorting through the evidence for several weeks, deciding what should be made public.

The BBC said today that roughly 3% had been redacted.

Lord Patten today said: "These documents paint a very unhappy picture, but the BBC needs to be open - more open than others would be - in confronting the facts that lie behind Nick Pollard's report.

"A limited amount of text has been blacked out for legal reasons, but no-one could say that the effect has been to sanitise this material, which again puts a spotlight on some of our failings.

"We need to acknowledge these shortcomings and learn from them."

Former Sky News executive Nick Pollard was appointed to head the review late last year to look into whether management failings were behind the decision to cancel a six-week investigation into abuse claims against Savile in December 2011, weeks before a Christmas tribute was broadcast.

The scandal claimed the job of new director-general George Entwistle, who was just over 50 days into the job.

A separate Newsnight investigation last summer led to Lord McAlpine being wrongly accused of child abuse.

Among the revelations published today are details of comments left by viewers on a BBC tribute webpage to Savile, which were removed by moderators employed by the corporation.

A transcript of the interview between Mr Pollard and Mr Entwistle refers to examples of the comments, including one person who wrote: "One of my best friends in 1972 was molested by this creep Savile. He was never the same again. Killed himself in 1985. How's About That Then?"

Another person wrote: "He was a paedophile. You may not like the truth but he was. It will all tumble out now."

During his interview, Mr Entwistle said he thought moderators may have been affected by "anxiety" after details of a hoax, which claimed Savile had been challenged about his crimes on an episode of Have I Got News For You, were published online.

He told Mr Pollard: "I have seen an email where moderators are put on alert about not publishing stuff that is to do with this hoax, I think that might be part of the story about the pre-conditioning of their minds about how to treat critical material."