Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage.
UPDATE, 6 PM: Trust in the BBC could be irreparably shaken by its actions and inaction surrounding sexual abuse allegations against former host Jimmy Savile, tonight’s report on the BBC investigative series Panorama suggests. As previously detailed, the special report presented new evidence questioning the reasons behind the cancellation of the network’s Newsnight investigation into the late presenter last year. It also interviewed former BBC staff present during Savile’s career on BBC radio and television who spoke of an accepted attitude of rumor and innuendo that left the presenter unchallenged on sex abuse allegations during his life. The BBC must operate with complete transparency to avoid further damage to its reputation, which puts it in an unusual position as its own news programs report on the unfolding scandal. “This Panorama is the BBC at its best,” tweeted radio presenter Iain Dale. “Shame it also reveals the BBC at its very worst.”
PREVIOUS, 5:55 AM: It’s turning into the biggest media scandal to hit Britain since the phone-hacking brouhaha broke wide open last year. Last week, and spurred on by an ITV documentary that aired this month, police said they had identified 400 lines of inquiry and 200 potential victims as part of a formal criminal investigation into alleged sexual abuse of minors by late BBC host Jimmy Savile and others. Today, BBC Newsnight editor Peter Rippon became the first executive to step aside over the corporation’s handling of the situation. Rippon’s suspension comes ahead of a potentially damning report to air tonight on Panorama, another BBC investigative series, about his decision to kill a Newsnight piece on Savile last year.