Jimmy Savile met the Royal family not just on many official occasions, but frequently socially. He was a private Hogmanay guest of the Prime Minister on seven occasions. Of course not only on 31 December, I just think that fact illustrates how close he was.
I do not believe that all of these people knew nothing about his persistent and repeated behaviour.
It is not only that I do not believe they could fail to notice. It is that anyone with that level of frequent access to the Prime Minister, other ministers and Royal family would be checked out by the security services. He would not have experienced full positive vetting (now called direct vetting), but a level of vetting would have been carried out on Savile himself. And many of his friends were subject to frequent direct vetting and it is impossible that a picture of Savile would not have built up tangentially. MI5, Special Branch (now also renamed) and GCHQ have tens of thousands of employees. What do you think these people do all day?
When I passed my last direct vetting, the interviewing officer had spent four months of his life doing nothing but investigate me full time. He noted that I continued to have a rather extensive love life, but as it involved only consenting adults and I did not appear open to blackmail, it was no reason to fail me. We discussed this openly. He concluded by saying – and this may not be 100% his words but it is damn close and the sentiment was certainly this:
“Makes a change to be looking at relationships with women in a Foreign Office case. It’s usually small boys!”
We both laughed. Now I swear to you, at the time I really did think he was just joking. I must have been very naïve.