When TV documentaries bash the dead my instinctive sympathy is with the dead. You cannot libel a corpse so can effectively say whatever you want. Hence one can out Richard the Lionheart as a homosexual ( not a lot of evidence but who can disprove you and it is a good story), one can finally accuse Robert Maxwell of being a crook without getting a writ (fair comment) and this week is the week when the late Jimmy Saville is exposed as a predator on teenage girls.
His family will suffer, he can offer no defence and so a fair response is to say “who cares, leave the man alone.” Except that the evidence looks to be pretty compelling.
It is not that he expressed public support for Gary Glitter (which he did) but that there are numerous victims and witnesses who have come forward with testimony that is consistent and stacks up and is pretty conclusive. The young girls that Saville groomed, abused and appears in some cases to have raped are the real victims.
So why air the story? The Saville family offer one good reason. They say this publicity will kill off Jimmy’s charities. Good. There are plenty of alternative charities and would you wish to give money to one that celebrates the name of a man such as this?
If the publicity allows some of the victims to achieve closure that is also good.
But above all the fact that BBC staffers witnessed Saville “in action” and nothing was done needs to be exposed. Rumours about this man have circulated for years but because he was a “celeb” he was protected. That is the real horror. If – as appears to be the case – Saville was guilty of what he is accused of, the next step is to establish who protected him within the BBC and the music industry (including other celebs I suspect). Those folks also need to face the musiccomments powered by Disqus