The Savile Affair Redux: When David Met Jimmy at Breakfast Time
By Will Banyan (Copyright © 15 April 2022)
In amongst the many disturbing revelations in Netflix’s recent two-part documentary series, Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, keen viewers would also have caught a brief glimpse of the creepy Savile sitting next to a youthful, permed David Icke on the set of the BBC program Breakfast Time. This brief footage cropped up during a segment focusing on Breakfast Time’s anchor Selina Scott who was recalling her uncomfortable encounters with Savile on that program in the 1980s. The reaction of a number of viewers, though, was to focus on the sheer bizarreness of Savile, Icke and the disgraced Frank Bough, all sharing the same couch with Scott (Figure 1). Missing from this bemused commentary was recognition that David Icke had once denied that an encounter like this had ever taken place. Looking beyond the grim humour of the moment, this few seconds of footage refuted one of the pillars of Icke’s claims to being both ignorant of and separated from Savile while at the BBC.
As I detailed in this earlier post, Icke made a number of dubious claims in 2011-12 that he had known about Jimmy Savile’s countless sexual crimes before the mainstream media, but had only heard about them after he had left the BBC. Icke had also mounted a successful campaign to create the impression that he had been a lone voice warning about Savile’s depravations as far back as the 1990s. Incredibly, this evidence-free claim that was embraced by journalists in the Sunday Express and The Independent, as well as by Icke’s thousands of supporters, despite there being no mention of Savile in any of his books or other writings and media, before Savile’s death. Many well-meaning Icke fans nevertheless believed that Icke had exposed Savile’s crimes in one of his books before the star of Jim’ll Fix It met his demise; though mysteriously no one could find any reference to Savile. Icke also made a more explicit claim to having told “anyone who would listen”, to having tried to “circulate”, this information about Savile. Though, tellingly, Icke then and now has failed to provide any evidence about who he allegedly told.
Part of Icke’s effort to distance himself from any charges he was yet another BBC employee who had heard the rumours or worse about Savile, and done nothing, was to insist he had only found out about Savile from a non-BBC source after he had finished his TV career. In one piece of commentary on his website in November 2012, for example, Icke not only claimed to have learned the truth about Savile from a “royal insider”, but he also denied having ever met Savile while they both worked at the BBC:
Curiously this explicit claim has not been repeated in Icke’s subsequent writings about Savile. In fact, this posting is no longer on his website and can only be accessed through the Wayback Machine. Only in his 2016 book Phantom Self, does Icke attempt to resurrect a version of this claim. This occurred in his rebuke to commentary, presumably from myself and others, about whether Icke had heard rumours about Savile’s activities while he was at the BBC, given that (as Icke admits in one of his books) “Savile was well known as a paedophile by many police officers and BBC employees throughout most of his decades of child abuse…” (The Perception Deception, Vol.1, p.285). Icke’s explanation implicitly suggests, not only was he not around to hear the rumours about Savile, but their paths probably did not cross because they worked in different parts of the BBC:
I have seen some Phantom Self idiots claim on the Internet that I must have known about Savile when I worked at the BBC in the 1980s but this based on the usual ignorance about the size of the BBC and how I worked – almost entirely from home or on location – for a completely different area of the corporation. My knowledge about Savile came from Christine Fitzgerald not the BBC (Phantom Self, pp.188-189; emphasis added).
It seems there may be a good reason for Icke’s coyness on this matter. In the 2016 Jimmy Savile Investigation Report by Dame Judith Smith it was noted that:
In addition to his core work on BBC Television and Radio, Savile made countless guest appearances on a wide variety of programmes such as The Generation Game, Swap Shop, Breakfast Time, Children in Need, The Time of your Life, and Daytime Live (Report, p.238).
Coincidentally, David Icke happened to be sports news presenter for Breakfast Time from 1983 through to 1985 (Figure 2). It might be reasonable to suppose that if Savile was a regular visitor to such programs, then perhaps Icke and Savile’s paths had crossed.
And thanks to the Netflix documentary about Jimmy Savile we now know for certain that they did indeed meet at the BBC on Breakfast Time (Figure 3). Maybe it only happened that single time, although Savile apparently made quite a few appearances on that program raising the possibility of more couch-sharing moments. But contrary to the bold declaration Icke made in 2012, he and Savile did meet at the BBC in the 1980s, and this revelation exposes yet again why Icke is an unreliable and untrustworthy source.
One might easily dismiss this revelation as trivial and attribute Icke’s false claim to an unfortunate memory lapse. Perhaps. But why after making that explicit claim in 2012 did Icke avoid making it again? Why hasn’t he written about his encounter with Savile in the same vein as his supposedly supernatural encounters with Jimmy Carter and Edward Heath? Didn’t he feel anything weird when he met with Jimmy Savile on Breakfast Time? But what conclusion should we draw about Icke’s curious omission, including his curious failure to acknowledge this? We could just let it go as an innocent (yet uncorrected and unacknowledged) failure of memory; or we could adopt the same standard Icke applied to Savile over the latter’s apparently false claim in 2008 that he hadn’t visited the notorious Haut de la Garenne children’s home on Jersey.1 According to Icke: “Savile denied any knowledge of ever being at the home, but a picture surfaced of him there to show that he was lying” (Perception Deception, p.288; emphasis added). This sentence could easily be completed in the same way: “Icke denied meeting Savile at the BBC, but pictures have surfaced to show that he was…….” But we cannot be as certain about Icke’s motives for not remembering as he was about Savile’s recollection issues.
Perhaps Icke will revisit this issue in his next lengthy book, with an explanation for this apparent oversight as part of the new content. Although it is more likely it, too, will be cast down the memory hole, along with David Icke’s dubious Freedom Foundation; the financial and ethical fiasco that was The People’s Voice, Icke’s TV and radio venture; his former collaborators Royal Adams and Sean Adl-Tabatabai;2 and psychic Betty Shine’s public disassociation from Icke’s grandiose claims in 1991.3
1 Savile had taken legal action against the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Sun newspaper in 2008 for implying that he was somehow involved in the child abuse that had allegedly occurred at the children’s home. His lawyers issued a carefully qualified non-denial about whether Savile had ever visited the home: “[Savile] has no recollection of visiting the home over 30 years ago and any such visit would have been unexceptional” (quoted in The Lawyer, Mar. 17, 2008). Subsequent official enquiries after his death implicated Savile in a number of incidents of child abuse at Haut de la Garenne.
2 On the basis of hand-shake deal, Royal Adams was for a few years in charge of distributing Icke’s books in the US, until Icke realized Adams was stealing most of his profits. Icke took Adams to court to recover the money, winning his case, while Adams was sent to prison for tax evasion (St Louis Post-Dispatch, Jun. 11, 2008). Icke had dedicated a number of books to Adams. Sean Adl-Tabatabai served as David Icke’s webmaster and later co-founder of The People’s Voice. There was a dedication to Adl-Tabatabai in Icke’s The Perception Deception (2013). After the failure of the TPV, the relationship broken down and Adl-Tabatabai left to establish a new career as purveyor of a “fake news.”
3 In his book, The Truth Vibrations (1991), Icke told of having some sessions with British psychic healer Betty Shine mainly to ease his joint pain. It was in the third session she apparently a channelled a Chinese spirit entity Wang Yee Lee (who was also accompanied by Socrates) who told Icke that “He is a healer who is here to heal the earth and will be world-famous.” Icke and Shine were briefly friends, with Icke writing a foreword to one of her books. But after his turquoise shell-suit “God-head” phase, Shine issued a statement declaring that she wished to “disassociate myself from his newfound beliefs and prophecies” (Sunday Times, Mar. 31. 1991). Obviously smarting from this rejection, Icke did not mention her by name in any of his subsequent books until Remember Who You Are (2012), nearly a decade after her death. In previous books describing these revelations, Betty Shine is referred to anonymously as a “psychic” (Infinite Love) or a “professional psychic” (Human Race Get Off Your Knees, Tales From the Time Loop).