The ongoing furor over Jimmy Savile, the over-the-top host of BBC's Top of the Pops in the 60s, and then Clunk-Click and Jim'll Fix It which ran for nearly 20 years, has been captivating/horrifying/enraging the British public.
The subject is child molestation.
Here in the US, we're mostly oblivious to the Savile scandal, having recently dealt with the repulsive crimes involving Jerry Sandusky, who had to answer while still living. Let alone Savile is not a familiar figure in American pop culture, but he was the Brit Dick Clark.
Savile escaped into death last October, at which time some of his intimidated victims began to come forward, assisted, they thought, by a Newsnight team working for the BBC, who had gathered enough evidence to light a fire under Mr. Savile for what was starting to look like serial child molestation, going back about 40 years.
Because of the juxtaposition between the proposed airing of the Newsnight segment exposing Savile as a serial child molester, and planned tributes to Savile over the Christmas holidays, the BBC obviously squelched the show, bowing to public opinion that worshipped Jimmy Savile, because of his not inconspicuous fund-raising attempts on behalf of institutions that supported physically challenged individuals.
The BBC has tap-danced long enough about this. Savile was a well-loved personality, and the tribute shows would have been shunned following the Newsnight airing.
It took ITV, who developed the Expose show, produced by Mark Williams-Thomas, who consulted on the Newsnight segment, to bring this to the attention of the British public at large.
I was born in the UK, and in the early 60s I wound up at Duncroft, in those days an approved school, retitled to a care home in the 70s. In my day, it was an experimental school for girls of high intelligence (IQ 135 at the low point) with troubled family backgrounds.
Based in Staines, not far from London, Duncroft, unlike most establishments of the same nature, had psychiatrists and psychologists in attendance. I found the atmosphere to be relatively benign myself - I got my required exams, and let them deal with my roisterous parents. I was completely absorbed by the Beatles in those days and was already planning a career in music.
In those days, we had movie actors drop by, James Robertson Justice and John Gregson, and members of the Royals. In my case, Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent.
Everybody behaved themselves as would be expected.
I was saddened to find out about the situation involving Savile and Duncroft in the early 70s. I've followed the entire situation very closely for a year now, communicating with alumni, including alleged victims.
I encountered Savile professionally at the White City in the late 60s in London. As a woman in her late teens, I was of no interest to him - but I certainly didn't hear anything about sleazy behaviour either.
What I would say is this. I am convinced that something inappropriate occurred with some girls at the school in the early 70s. To what extent, I couldn't comment.
There was a much more permissive atmosphere at Duncroft than in my day, when the Home Office ran the school. Dr. Barnardo's took over in October 1976, but it appears that for a couple of years prior to that, Savile was persona grata at Duncroft, while the school was under the aegis of the National Association for Mental Health in approximately 1973. This has left a trail of chaos that will take some years to clear up, if ever.
P.S. I would recommend reading Part 4 of "Anna Racoon's" blog. I know "Anna" personally and she was at the school when I was there. Past Lives and Future Misgivings Part 4. I agree 100% with her assessment.