January 28th, 2013

Exclusive: Mark Thompson’s Letter to CMS Select Committee
Questions the New York Times Boss Still Cannot Answer

Ex-BBC chief, turned boss of the New York Times, Mark Thompson, has written to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee once again claiming that during his last nine months at the Beeb he “never heard any allegations” about Jimmy Savile.


In his letter Thompson essentially says he expects the committee to believe a series of increasingly absurd notions:

1. That when he asked BBC head of news Helen Boaden in December 2011 what Newsnight’s investigation of Jimmy Savile was about she didn’t tell him.

2. That he never read or heard about any of the half dozen national newspaper and magazine stories alleging Savile’s sexual misdemeanour’s which were published in January and February 2012 and which made it clear this is what Newsnight had investigated. During his time at the BBC, Mark was a known Guido reader, who must have missed this one.

3. That when a Telegraph journalist emailed him in February 2012 asking if it was true that he knew about Newsnight’s Savile investigation he never got the message.

4. That when freelance journalist Miles Goslett rang Thompson’s office in May 2012 and told his chief of staff Jessica Cecil that Savile had apparently abused under-age girls on BBC premises in the 1970s Cecil did not tell him.

5. That when ITV wrote to him on 7 September 2012 informing him of their forthcoming documentary on Savile and repeating the allegations raised by Goslett he was not told.

6. Crucially, Thompson also asks the committee to believe that although he authorised law firm Mills & Reeve to send a letter to the Sunday Times on 6 September 2012 on his behalf threatening to sue the paper if it ran Goslett’s story, he was not fully aware what the story was and did not read the letter which the law firm sent.

Much of this beggars belief. Over to John Whittingdale…


  1. 1
    NBeale says:

    says “he expect the committee to a series of increasingly absurd notions”
    Can we have that in English please – and do you mean ” who must have [read/seen] this one.”

  2. 2
    Ctesibius says:

    That is one of the most absurd letters I have ever seen seriously written, i.e., not written as a joke.

    It should be forwarded to everyone who still pays the ‘Television Licence’ so they can see that it is normal BBC policy to pay firms of lawyers, more or less at random, to send letters to anyone they feel like on, really, any subject.

    Must be nice business for the lawyers, of course. Could the BBC let us know how much it spends on legal fees for sending lawyers letters out – just on a whim?

  3. 3
    Viv Dean says:

    Mark Thompson is obviously closely related to the White Queen and can believe umpteen impossible things before breakfast…..

  4. 4
    Red Egg Millitit, tit, tit, tit ..... says:

    Ach..mad Dinner Jacket has been into space :)


  5. 5
    Pierced Organ says:

    I really abhore ex pats who cannot tell the truth

  6. 6
    Red Egg Millitit, tit, tit, tit ..... says:

    Ahhh sorry about that, a simple Beeb mistake……. it was a monkey :)

  7. 7
    Suck my beeb says:

    Has George Entwistle heard of George Entwistle yet?

  8. 8
    CarryHole is a stupendous Hunt says:

    Mark Thompson Comedy of Errors project.

  9. 9
    Mark Thompson says:

    Yeah– what you said, Guido, points one thru six!
    Well, anyway, that’s my story, and I’m going to stick to it, see?

  10. 10
    She actually sounds like a laugh. Wouldn't have minded a teacher like her says:

    Religious Education teacher banned from classroom after telling pupils ‘sex is good’

    They say she used “inappropriate language” towards pupils on a regular basis, including saying “If you don’t want to learn RE you can piss off”, “Stop bloody talking” and “Sit on your arse”.

    It added that, on regular occasions, whilst in class, she would use such language as: “shit”, “fuck you”, “slag”, and “bastard”, while on one specific occasion, a pupil had gone to see her and he was told by her to “fuck off”.

    It found that she made other inappropriate comments and remarks to pupils, including informing the class of circumstances in which she had taken a morning after pill and an occasion when she told the pupils in the class about a relationship she had formed with an older man, as well as other references to her social life and occasions when she had drunk alcohol to excess.

    It said that she also “made numerous references to sex from a personal perspective”, one pupil claiming that she stated how “sex is good and says not to get married because then you can’t sleep around” and “you should have sex all the time”.

    She also informed the pupils in class that she travelled to Amsterdam and that there was a sex show involving a horse and a woman, and told them that she had been for a naked massage.

    The panel found that she also used the internet for her personal use when she would have been taking a class and “behaved inappropriately in the classroom, during lessons” by allowing pupils to use mobile phones and iPods, showing them her tattoos on her lower back and her thigh and showing inappropriate videos, one pupil claiming she did so when she “can’t be bothered teaching”.

  11. 11
    Raving Loon says:

    “I’m in charge but I have no idea what’s going on.”

    What does he do then?

  12. 12
    satin tracksuit wearer says:

    Never trust a beard-and-tie combo

  13. 13
    Gonk III says:

    For someone who doesn’t know anything he’s done very well for himself.

  14. 14

    He will be denying he was a beardy git next.

  15. 15
    Frederick Gideon Threepwood says:

    It is truly remarkable. It seems that a primary qualification to head a media operation is the attention span of a gnat and the memory of a dementia sufferer. How else to explain that both Thompson and James Murdoch seem utterly unable to remember things which their unfortunate staff swear they told them (and in Murdoch’s case the swearing was under oath).

  16. 16
    will says:

    This proves that wither mark saville did not know about his organisation and was not competent to lead it. I would then say if that is the case his current employer should have serious doubts about his suitability to be employed in his current position.

    Or alternatively the man is a liar.

    I know which my monye is on

  17. 17
    Point of information says:

    I think the NY Times may have picked up tab for this one. That would be the publication in NY which has recently fired a lot of its staff.

  18. 18
    Trumpeter Lanfried says:

    Note: ‘I … did not read the [solicitors’] letter itself IN ANY DETAIL …’

    I think this is what we lawyers call a pregnant denial.

  19. 19
    MarkT says:

    can Guido not tell if Mark Thompson’s ip address visited the relevant story on this site?

  20. 20
    HearNoEvil says:

    If this defense didn’t work for Incurious George, then…

  21. 21
    rumpleforeskin says:

    why would he lie ?

  22. 22
    Anonymous says:

    Even Rupert and his son didn’t know what was going on. In such big companies this could be a problem. James didn’t even read the email he replied.

  23. 23

    Dear John

    I was paid so much money by the BBC that I only had time to count it all day. I’m am even busier counting in my new job.

    Any spare time was spent with my fingers in my ears and my hands over my eyes singing La la la la la la la la!

    I only saw this letter by accident otherwise someone else would have replied to it. If it all goes wrong, that is what I will then say anyway.

    With all best wishes

    [handwritten] Happy New Year

    Mark T

  24. 24
    rebekah aka nellnewman says:

    Cue ++Hollow Laughter++

    Who does he expect to believe him?

  25. 25
    Sir Jim says:

    Don’t forget the othern 28 peadoes in the BBC

  26. 26

    There is a reply on Saturday Seven Up in case you did not see it.

  27. 27
    Pat's the man says:

  28. 28
    Anonymous says:

    no doubt the bbc trust have already instructed legals to sue Mr Thompson
    for recovery of salary paid in error …

  29. 29
    Ed Murrow says:

    “Exoneration” by the Pollard Report depends on whether Pollard asked the right questions to the right people. Thompson says he spoke to BBC News management (either Helen Boaden or Stephen Mitchell – once again he can’t be sure which) after the Caroline Hawley conversation. Did Pollard ask either of them if that conversation took place? Perhaps Mr Whittingdale should ask Boaden and Mitchell their recollection. It will make for very, very interesting reading.

  30. 30
    !ran Watch says:

    Now they really can go ballistic.

  31. 31
    Mark Thompson says:

    I would like to clarify my position.

    I was in fact not working at the BBC at the time merely collecting an enormous pay check.

    While I can understand the confusion, this still provided better value for money for the tax payers forced to support the BBC than my replacement…

  32. 32

    Thеrе іs а rеply оn Sаturdаy Sеvеn Up іn саsе yоu dіd nоt sее іt.

  33. 33
    Frederick Gideon Threepwood says:

    I am not sure if you are excusing James Murdoch on the basis of size of company but, if so, the same would apply to Thompson since the latest numbers I have seen give the BBC 23000 employees and BSkyB 22800.

  34. 34
    Naked massage? You bet! says:

    Send her round here.

  35. 35

    Thеrе іs а rеply оn Sаturdаy Sеvеn Up іn саsе yоu dіd nоt sее іt.

  36. 36
    Hac says:

    another leftist bullshitter

    its good fucking job these highly paid wankers don’t have anything to do with making aircraft

  37. 37

    Thеrе іs а rеply оn S@turd@y Sеvеn Up іn с@sе yоu dіd nоt sее іt.

  38. 38
    Fatty Pang Wife Beater says:

    I have 9 jobs and I have not got a clue about any of them. Give him a break.

  39. 39
    Frederick Gideon Threepwood says:

    Waste of money. Wait for the precedent set by BSkyB pursuing James Murdoch on the same basis and avoid most of the legal costs…….oops, forgot, BSkyB directors aren’t doing that despite their legal responsibilities to shareholders.

  40. 40
    Mark Thompson says:

    The answer is I cannot recall. Now what was the question?

  41. 41
    Mark Clinton Thompson says:

    I did not screw that woman. I repeat…… I repeat….

  42. 42
    SC says:

    Thеrе іs а rеsponse оn S аtur dаy Sе vеn Up іn саsе yоu dіd nоt sее іt.

  43. 43
    CIA Nurse says:

    Have you had your Stuxnet injection today?

  44. 44
    Frederick Gideon Threepwood says:

    If we use competence as a benchmark for fitness to lead a company or organisation we would have to get rid of huge numbers of the mighty, including Cameron, Miliband, Murdoch (minor), ‘Arry Redknapp (although if familiarity with Monaco counts he is clearly overqualified) and, of course, Prince Noddy BigEars (when he finally becomes King).

  45. 45
    Raving Loon says:

    That’s about as likely as them admitting AGW might be imaginary.

  46. 46
    Beau Brummel says:

    That is not a beard, it is overgrown stubble.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Catty Comment (Ms) says:

    How old were her pupils?

  49. 49
    Anonymous says:

    My only view is, if a company is too big for the top management to control then these company should be split up. If top management still want to control it they should take the ultimate responsibility.

  50. 50
    BBC C-nt says:

    He is a lying c_nt. The NY Times is crap now.

  51. 51
    Frederick Gideon Threepwood says:

    Apologies Cat; I found it from the link you posted on the David Morris blog earlier today. I replied briefly on that blog (but only to suggest that we largely agree and differ only in generosity of interpretation).

  52. 52
    Owen says:

    I tried a beard for a bit, but people saw through her, so I had to come out.

  53. 53
    Frederick Gideon Threepwood says:

    I thought Incurious George was a Giant Galapagos Tortoise recently and sadly demised. Why does he need a defence?

  54. 54
    Nick Clegg says:

    I’m something or other in government, and no-one tells me a thing.

    So I entirely sympathise with Michael Grade, and I hope he will now be allowed to get on with running the BBC – WHICH MORE THAN I’M ALLOWED TO DO WITH THE GOVERNMENT, CAMERON, YOU LYING SOD!!! LET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!

  55. 55
    Mark Tubson says:

    Come on in… the bubbles are wonderful!

  56. 56
    Simon says:

    Ive got several, they are never out of the papers !

  57. 57
    Frederick Gideon Threepwood says:

    Rule 2 of management I believe. Rule 1 is, of course, to give instructions of such overwhelming ambiguity that if things go well you can take the credit and if they go badly, you can place the blame.

  58. 58
    Loving the sound of his own voice says:

    Blowhard watch !

  59. 59
    Anonymous says:

    when all is focus on the beeb, something interesting is happening on Zee.
    let,s ZeeOn. for the future is Zee.

  60. 60
    Anonymous says:

    No, it’s cheaper to give him a suitcase of used tenners and a confidentiality/embarrassment clause

  61. 61
    Anonymous says:

    Is Manuel still allowed to say “I know nothing”?

  62. 62
    Yvonne from The Colliers Arms Clydach says:

    ” Happy New Year ” .

    At least the guy has a sense of humor .

    I am signing off my letters “Happy Groundhog Day” so am probably going to get arrested anytime soon .

  63. 63
    Joe Public says:

    Give him a break. What do you people expect for a salary of £800k pa + expenses? Someone with an IQ above 3??

  64. 64
    I want an apology from that stinking University of Edinburgh says:

    Mark Thompson is a disgrace. He is a parasite and a tvrd good riddance to the clown.

  65. 65
    Con Artists. says:

    It may or may not be a beard depending on my recollection at the time and whether it is later proven I should or should not have known, or unproven I should or should not have known.

    In other words I have been, and always will be a fcuking beardy troghing Hunt, which will be my new hash tag hence forth.

  66. 66
    Tiresome Lefty Teacher says:

    But there’s no such thing as a bad teacher.

    If you create any trouble for her we will all go on strike.

  67. 67
    Go get 'em Guidio says:

    So, according to him, his lawyers sent out a threatening letter WITHOUT taking their clients FULL instruction. Sounds like a case for the SRA to investigate. I bet his lawyers are furious

  68. 68
    Ctesibius says:

    Yes, this assertion in itself needs to be investigated. The BBC is publicly funded so we have a right to know what they do with our money. He says in this letter that they non infrequently commission lawyers to send threatening letters to people without anty serious consideration of what is in the letter. Is it possible to get hold of this letter as see what it actually said. It seems that someone – perhaps the lawyer writing it (or perhaps that should read ‘making up the stuff in it’?) or the person at the BBC commissioning it – is committing perjury.

  69. 69
    Smashie and Nicey says:

    Smashie why was the now then now then sketch cut.

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