JIMMY Savile was secretly barred from involvement with the BBC’s Children In Need charity appeal amid concerns about his “creepy” behaviour.
The former chairman of Children in Need, Sir Roger Jones, said a conscious decision had been made to keep Savile away from the appeal, which he admitted was like a “honeypot” for paedophiles seeking access to youngsters.
Sir Roger, who is also an ex-BBC governor, said: “I think we all recognised he was a pretty creepy sort of character.
“When I was with Children In Need, we took the decision that we didn’t want him anywhere near to the charity and we just stepped up our child protection policies, which again would have put him at great risk if he tried anything.”
Sir Roger, who chaired Children in Need from 1999 to 2002, conceded that he never had hard evidence that the late BBC TV and radio host was a paedophile.
But he also said: “A guy with a big cigar in his mouth, [wearing] a string vest covered in gold chains and trinkets – is this really the guy who we want to become a hero for kids?
“I had no evidence but I found his behaviour was very strange.”
Sir Roger’s comments came as an inquiry began into the BBC’s “culture and practices” during the time when Savile is alleged to have been abusing children.
It was ordered after claims that he carried out attacks on BBC premises.
Police fear Savile had up to 300 victims over six decades. It has also emerged that seven of his alleged victims made complaints to four separate police forces while he was still alive.
Scotland Yard’s commissioner yesterday acknowledged that “a pattern of behaviour” by Leeds-born Savile could have been exposed if the claims against him had been linked.
Bernard Hogan Howe said police and other organisations had failed to “put together” the complaints.
Scotland Yard was handed the national lead on the Savile case after an ITV documentary unleashed a flood of claims about the presenter.
Mr Hogan Howe said some of the allegations involved entertainment figures other than Savile.
Former pop singer Gary Glitter has already been arrested and bailed as part of Operation Yewtree, Scotland Yard’s codename for its Savile inquiry.
Savile died a year ago yesterday at his home in Roundhay, Leeds. His gravestone has been removed from Scarborough’s Woodlands Cemetery at his family’s request.