A senior member of staff at the BBC has revealed he questioned Jimmy Savile over rumours about his private life more than 20 years ago.
As police revealed the DJ and television presenter's alleged catalogue of child sex abuse could have spanned six decades and included around 60 victims, Derek Chinnery, BBC Radio 1 controller from 1978 to 1985, admitted that he quizzed the presenter directly about the rumours.
The scandal has mushroomed since ITV screened a documentary in which five women alleged they were abused by the late DJ and broadcaster, with Scotland Yard saying yesterday that there are allegations spanning 1959 to 2006.
Mr Chinnery, who was Savile's boss at Radio 1, told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House: "I asked, 'what's all this, these rumours we hear about you Jimmy?'
"And he said, 'that's all nonsense'. There was no reason to disbelieve (Savile)."
Savile worked at Radio 1 from 1969 to 1989 presenting a show of chart songs from previous decades.
Speaking about his acceptance of Savile's denial, Mr Chinnery told the BBC: "It's easy now to say how could you just believe him just like that."
He added: "He was the sort of man that attracted rumours, after all, because he was single, he was always on the move, he was always going around the country."
Scotland Yard is pursuing 340 lines of inquiry in the Savile abuse case and so far 12 allegations of sexual offences have been officially recorded but this number is increasing, police said.
Metropolitan Police detectives are in contact with 14 other forces as the number of allegations against the former DJ continues to rise.