Aide slams 'manipulative' Savile

Banbury Cake: Jimmy Savile 'thought he was untouchable', his former personal assistant has said Jimmy Savile 'thought he was untouchable', his former personal assistant has said

Jimmy Savile's former personal assistant has said the disgraced TV star "thought he was untouchable".

Janet Cope spoke out as it was announced that former High Court judge Dame Janet Smith and ex-Sky News executive Nick Pollard are to lead the BBC's independent reviews stemming from the sex abuse allegations surrounding the late DJ.

Dame Janet, who led the inquiry into mass killer Harold Shipman, will lead the examination of the "culture and practices of the BBC" during the years Savile worked there while Mr Pollard, a former head of Sky News, will look into whether there were any "failings" in the way a Newsnight report into claims against Savile was handled.

The planned news report was dropped late last year and there have been repeated suggestions the decision was made because the BBC was already planning to do more favourable programmes, claims which the BBC has repeatedly denied.

Ms Cope, 70, who was Savile's PA for 32 years until she was suddenly sacked by him in 2001, described him as "eccentric, manipulative, controlling" and said he was like Peter Pan, "forever surrounding himself with youngsters".

She told the Daily Mirror: "I was frightened to death of him and I wasn't the only one. He loved the power he had over people. On the face of it Jim led a celibate, nomadic and simple life which may have disguised a more sordid double life."

The Pollard review will also look into the handling of material that may have been of interest to the police or other authorities and will begin "as a matter of urgency". He will be given legal support independent of BBC management.

In addition to looking at the BBC during the Savile years, the Smith Review will examine if the corporation's child protection and "whistleblowing" policies are up to the job.

Police believe the DJ and television presenter's alleged catalogue of sex abuse could have spanned six decades and included about 60 victims. Culture Secretary Maria Miller has said there is no need for a wider inquiry into Savile's activities while the police investigation was going on.

Meanwhile, a hospital cafe named after Jimmy Savile will have its name changed. The cafe in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, named Jimmy's, was opened in 2005 by Savile as a result of the fundraising he had done for the spinal injuries unit. But the charity which runs the cafe, WRVS, has confirmed the name will be changed to Cafe@WRVS. It said this will bring it into line with how its cafes are branded elsewhere around the country.

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