‘OH no! Please, not John Peel!’ That was the oft-repeated response on internet music forums after the late, legendary and much-loved DJ became the latest celebrity to be dragged into the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal at the BBC.
“Not so easy now John Peel’s also accused, is it?” wrote one Twitter user after reading allegations published in the Daily Mail that Peel had unprotected sex with Jane Nevin when she was just 15.
Nevin says she began an affair with the Radio One DJ after meeting him backstage at a Black Sabbath concert in 1969 when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl and, although it’s nothing more than an allegation at this point, the BBC has said it will reconsider naming its shiny new London HQ after Peel if the claim is proven.
That loads of people seem so anxious to defend the ‘sainted’ Peel, who died in 2004, is interesting. Not to mention predictable.
“I don’t think he was as bad as Savile, in that it doesn’t sound like he was a predator,” wrote one poster.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how others will now perceive a man was who once described in a newspaper as “the Radio One disc jockey who many music fans mistake for God”.
Whether or not his legacy is tainted following this, it’s high time BBC chiefs were forced to explain why they turned a blind eye not only to Savile’s awful antics but to DJs like Peel coming out with comments like this - “Girls used to queue up outside. Oral sex they were particularly keen on. I remember one of my regular customers, as it were, turned out to be 13, though she looked older”.
The above quote is taken from an interview that Peel gave to The Guardian back in 1975, and, for me at least, those words alone take a lot of the shine off his halo.