ITV has defended its decision to broadcast a forthcoming documentary which looks into allegations that Sir Jimmy Savile abused young girls.

Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile takes a look at claims by women dating from the 1970s that Savile abused them, including claims that he abused young girls at BBC TV Centre.  ITV has stated that the documentary was produced with a degree of sensitivity.

A spokesperson said: “This documentary is the result of an in-depth investigation into long-standing allegations of serious and widespread sexual misconduct by Sir Jimmy Savile.

 “Because of the very serious nature of the claims made by several interviewees in relation to this, particular care and consideration was of course given to the decision to produce and broadcast this programme.

“The programme takes full account of the fact that Sir Jimmy is not here to defend himself against these claims.”

The documentary is presented by former detective Mark Williams-Thomas and includes interviews with several of the women who claim that Savile sexually assaulted them at a young age. ITV has said that one of the women was too scared to speak about the incident while Savile was alive.

TV Presenter Esther Rantzen recently spoke of her belief that Savile had abused young girls.

She told The Mail on Sunday and Radio Five Live:  “We all blocked our ears. There was gossip, there were rumours.

“It’s very distressing. We made him into the Jimmy Savile who was untouchable, who nobody could criticise. He was a sort of god-like figure. Everybody knew of the good that Jimmy did and what he did for children. And these children were powerless.”

The BBC meanwhile has dismissed claims that it had covered up information regarding Savile.

“Whilst the BBC condemns any behaviour of the type alleged in the strongest terms, in the absence of evidence of any kind found at the BBC that corroborates the allegations that have been made, it is simply not possible for the corporation to take any further action.”

Of their decision not to broadcast a Newsnight special about the allegations against Sir Jimmy Savile,  Newsnight editor Peter Rippon said: “It is absolutely untrue that the Newsnight investigation was dropped for anything other than editorial reasons.

“We have been very clear from the start that the piece was not broadcast because the story we were pursuing could not be substantiated. To say otherwise is false and very damaging to the BBC and individuals. The notion that internal pressure was applied appears to be a malicious rumour.”

Speaking to BBC Five Live last night former Radio 1 controller, who axed Savile in the 1980s from the station, Johnny Beerling told the news channel that he had never heard any negative gossip about the DJ, and he didn’t recall anyone spreading untoward suggestions around the BBC at that time over Sir Jimmy’s conduct with girls. He also questioned why the women waited until the celebrity had died before making the allegations and dismissed Rantzen’s comments.

Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile airs on Wednesday at 11.10pm on ITV1.

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