He may have said what many have said on forums across the UK, ‘how did it take 40 years to expose Jimmy Savile’? But it hasn’t stopped magician, and 2010 Strictly Come Dancing competitor, Daniels’ comments being met with indignation in parts.
Daniels, who hosted a popular magic and entertainment series on BBC One, from the 1970s through to the 90s, admitted on his personal website he once had an ‘encounter’ with what he assumed was a woman of legal age, only to discover she was a tipsy schoolgirl.
“A mini-skirted girl was thumbing a lift… I gave her a lift and drove on into the night whilst the more-than-slightly tiddly girl moaned on about her boyfriend ignoring her in the pub that night and that she would get own back on him.
“Oh goodie for me, I thought…. I kissed her goodnight and it got a bit more passionate. Thank God it didn’t get too passionate because something she said sent a shiver down my spine, she said she was still at school.” The 74-year-old said, adding he felt sick by the incident which happened when he was 30 in the 1970s.
He adds that he learned quickly from the incident. “Maybe that scare was a good thing ’cos from then on I would talk about their jobs or whatever before anything went too far.”
Its easy to see in footage from the era, and earlier, crazed girls throwing knickers, hankies and themselves at male performers – this Daniels reveals isn’t exclusive to the pop world. The frenzied lust by ‘groupies’ wasn’t confined to music performers such as The Bay City Rollers or The Rolling Stones. Even magicians had their followers made up of teenage admirers.
“Mostly, they would go after the pop scene but it may come as a surprise when I tell you that comedians, impressionists, even magicians, were chatted up and sex was out there and laid on the line.”
“The super-short mini-skirts, the teetering high heels, the full slap made it… impossible [to tell their real age].”
“I think most people would agree that still applies today and maybe more so.” He added, “Life back then was a blur and therein lies a major problem with what is going on now. It was 35 to 40 years ago. How the hell can you say you did or didn’t? …Anyone can come along and claim to have been ‘abused’ by anyone they care to name.”
Daniel’s continued on the blog, “I don’t think that there is now any doubt that Mr Savile was a bad guy. What I do find odd about the stories now emerging however is when a ‘victim’ went on TV and stated she had gone back to his dressing room quite a few times.
“Nobody seemed to take much notice of the headmistress of the girls’ school who said what people were not taking into account was, her words, these were ‘bad girls, who would do anything for a fag.’ “A bad guy? Undoubtedly, but I have been wondering if all of the accusers are for real.
“I can fully understand some women not wanting to talk about what happened to them, but for over 400 of them to keep quiet for 40 years seems strange.”
However Daniels who has three children, and is married to second wife 54-year-old Debbie McGee, has been met with some indignation from victim support groups.
Claude Knight, director of Kidscape, said: “It is belittling and casting doubt on them, it is the last thing you need when you have found the courage to talk about it. I am worried about people trivialising something so serious.” The Telegraph report.
However ATV Today’s Queenie thinks Daniels has made a valid point. “I can’t see how Savile was so powerful it had to wait until he died, I mean those last twenty years of his life he was hardly a major star. There will in this day and age always be some who want to make a quick quid quickly. What was consensual at the time becomes molestation, what was an innocent peck on the cheek becomes an assault. They’re living in lala land if they think there isn’t some of that involved.
“How did Savile manage to keep so many quiet for so long? It is a question that needs answering and no one seems to be able to.”
Jimmy Savile is reportedly involved with almost 500 incidents of unlawful sexual actions.