As the Jimmy Savile scandal continues to dominate the news agenda (partly because it enables the newspapers to partake in some fun-time BBC-bashing while ignoring the fact no one on Fleet Street thought to tackle this story before ITV News took the leap), some are wondering if other individuals big in music or broadcasting in the 1960s or 1970s may also be called out for past behaviour.
With various female broadcasters now recalling what a chauvinistic place British broadcasting was from the 1960s to the 1980s, former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis has now been accused of inappropriate behaviour back in the day, albeit not on the level of Savile.
Former BBC and Sky News presenter Vivien Creegor says DLT “jiggled her breasts” while she was on air in the 1980s, while an unnamed woman has accused the DJ of groping her when she was just seventeen. Travis says he “categorically denies” both allegations.
Meanwhile there’s been speculation that the late John Peel might be pulled into the quagmire, after a woman told the Daily Mail that, during his early career as a radio DJ, he got her pregnant while she was just fifteen. She decided to keep the pregnancy secret from the presenter and had an abortion. That has led some critics to question whether the BBC should go ahead with plans to name a wing of its new HQ in Central London in the late Radio 1 DJ’s honour.
When still alive, Peel made no secret of having had sexual liaisons with teenage fans in the early part of his radio career, especially when working in the US. The big difference between Peel and Savile, of course, is that he is not accused of forcing himself on teenage girls, but rather accepting the sexual advances of underage fans. And while there may be a strong argument that adult celebrities have an obligation to resist such advances, if that rule is to be applied across the board to the rock and pop world of the past, a lot more former stars could be in the dock.
A BBC spokesman responded to the Mail’s report, and questions over naming part of New Broadcasting House in memory of Peel, by saying: “Clearly, in the event of proven allegations of sexual abuse the BBC would re-consider its decision on the naming of part of our new building”.
The scale of Savile’s alleged abuses continues to grow as new allegations and revelations are made in the papers and filed with police, while on Friday the BBC said it would launch two independent enquiries into the scandal once police investigations were complete – one looking into what BBC management knew about the DJ and presenter’s behaviour when he was working for the Corporation, and another asking whether management interference caused the canning of a ‘Newsnight’ investigation into the sex abuse allegations against the then dead star late last year.