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London police arrest former TV show host in sex crimes inquiry

January 02, 2013|By Janet Stobart
  • Comedian Jim Davidson in 1978.
Comedian Jim Davidson in 1978. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images )

LONDON -- Police made two arrests Wednesday in an investigation triggered by allegations of sex crimes committed by the late Jimmy Savile, a BBC television presenter and disc jockey. 

In a brief statement, London's Metropolitan Police Service said it had “arrested two men on suspicion of sexual offenses.”  The BBC named one as Jim Davidson, a 59-year-old comedian and former BBC presenter.    

Davidson hosted "The Jim Davidson Show" as well as "The Generation Game," a popular prime-time game show in the 1990s. Like Savile, he was also recognized for services to charity.  

The other arrest was of an unidentified 53-year-old man in Hampshire, west of London.

A report in the Telegraph newspaper said police detained Davidson on his arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport and took him to a West London police station for questioning.  Both men were released on bail.

Davidson's lawyer released a statement saying his client “vigorously denied” the allegations. 

The arrests were the ninth and 10th in an operation that was sparked by the allegations against Savile, a once-popular TV star who died in December 2011.  After his death, hundreds of people came forward to tell  police they had been molested by him as children or teenagers. Some were participants and fans of his TV shows for young people, while others said they suffered abuse during his charity work and appearances in children’s hospitals over five decades.

Further allegations of sexual misconduct over the same period have been made against other television and public figures, some of them connected to Savile.

Scotland Yard’s statement said Wednesday’s arrests were not directly related to Savile.

Media reports said Davidson was scheduled to appear in the reality TV show "Celebrity Big Brother" on Thursday night. There was no comment from the channel that is airing the show.

The suspects in the investigation include high-profile figures such as Max Clifford, an internationally known publicist; pop star Gary Glitter; and Dave Lee Travis, a well-known BBC disc jockey.  All have denied the allegations and all are free on bail.

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