Celebrity birdwatcher Bill Oddie has commented on Operation Yewtree, the investigation in which contemporaries of his at the BBC in the Seventies have been targeted. This mole suggests he watches his words, rather than birds, in the future.
Oddie was one of The Goodies, and performed on Top of the Pops and Jimmy Savile programmes before going full-time into nature shows. Here's what he's said in a recent interview:
“I could honestly say that I was never aware of anything really untoward. I was never aware of anything actually… What I do remember was that there was a very big audience of teenage girls, and they were 99% girls if I remember rightly, who were sort of ushered in like sheep. And their job was to surround the stage, and a certain amount of grabbing, and that sort of thing. There must’ve been a certain amount of...” he trails off. “That’s what they were there for.”
He also thinks that there was a "willingness" among the victims of the alleged backstage, behind-the-scenes harrassment and abuse that the investigation is only just uncovering. He says it "doesn't ring quite right".
“My wife put it brilliantly, actually. She was a Monkees fan at some stage, and she went to see the Monkees at Wembley or wherever it was, and coming out of the event with her friends afterwards, her friend said, ‘I’ve got to get in, I’ve got to see if I can get into Davy Jones’ dressing room’ and another one said, ‘but, he’ll only want one thing’ and she said, ‘yeah, I know, that’s what I want’. Who I am to say that, but there must, I’m sure, there was a certain amount of willingness about that.
“Jimmy Savile’s a different matter. All I can say about that truthfully is that none of us ever thought he was anything but strange. The others – I don’t know anything. I really don’t. It’s hard. Something doesn’t quite ring right. You see the police, or somebody, working their way through these people from 40, 50 years ago. A fuck of a long time, isn’t it? What’s been going on since? I just don’t understand it. What made those women, or youngsters when they were growing up, suddenly go to the police? Or did they? Did the police suddenly decide from some unclosed dossier they have? No, I don’t know.”
His finishing touch is a defence of former Animal Hospital presenter and BBC favourite Rolf Harris, who is facing 12 charges of indecent assault (which he denies):
“I was upset for Rolf Harris, who I know reasonably well, and I’m a great admirer of him; he’s a very interesting, talented person. We just let these things go and it’s hard to conceive how ghastly it must be. Ok, you could say it’s ghastly for whoever was involved – or not. But it’s pretty ghastly for him, considering the age he is… It’s horrible.”
Perhaps it's time for Oddie's opinions to embark upon a migration south. Far, far south.