Jimmy Savile implicated in the tragic story of a 15-year-old Top of the Pops dancer who took an overdose and died after spending the night with a “well-known disc jockey” in 1971

Back in May I wrote about the tragic story of a 15-year-old girl who killed herself in 1971.

A news report in The Guardian on April 6th of that year describes how she had danced on Top of the Pops on four occasions and, according to her diary, spent the night with a man the newspaper describes as “a well-known disc jockey”.

That girl was Claire Ufland. However, she was adopted and other reports call her by her adopted name of Claire McAlpine. She also used the stage name Samantha Claire.

It seems she died on March 30th. A month earlier her mother, Vera McAlpine, had read her diary and banned her from appearing on the show again.

I looked up details of Top of the Pops for the end of 1970 and begining of 1971 and found that Jimmy Savile presented the programme on 3 Dec, 25 Dec, 26 Dec, 14 Jan, 28 Jan, 11 Feb, and 25 Feb.

And, although Claire lived in Watford, there was a Leeds connection. She had attended auditions at Yorkshire Television and been given small parts on the children’s variety programme Junior Showtime. The Guardian reported that the TV company was removing scenes of her from the show.

There’s no suggestion of any wrong doing by anyone at Yorkshire Television but was its Leeds location another possible link with Jimmy Savile?

I came across this story quite by chance in January of this year. I was searching the newspaper archives for information on the history of video recording in UK television and, as tends to happen, I found something that was completely unrelated, but very interesting.

I felt that what seemed to be a forgotten story should be followed up in the light of what was becoming known. But I didn’t have the resources to do anything more than write a brief piece here on my website.

But in the whirlwind of publicity that blew up as the recent ITV documentary approached, my article was linked to on a number of high profile forums and another news story from the time came to light.

On October 5th the Daily Mail published an article about Claire McAlpine. It includes some photographs of her on Top of the Pops looking every bit as you would imagine a dancer on the programme at that time.

The following day I received an email from a reporter on the Sunday Telegraph asking about the articles I had uncovered.

The Telegraph article appeared yesterday evening: Jimmy Savile’s toxic legacy.

In an extraordinary twist of fate, it reveals that Claire’s mother, Vera McAlpine, died last week at the age of 90. She will be buried on Wednesday.

The current whereabouts of the red-covered diary are unknown.

Although the Sunday Telegraph article suggests that the BBC didn’t seem to mind that the dancers were so young, another contemporary article in The Guardian suggests that the Corporation was ready to take action following Claire McAlpine’s death.

BBC action following the suicide of a 15 year old Top of the Pops dancer. From the Guardian dated April 5, 1971.

“BBC may set age limit for ‘Top of the Pops’ dancers” is the headline on April 5, 1971. As well as a minimum age for girls dancing, it was “likely” that chaperones would be provided to look after them and written consent from parents for under-18s to take part might be required, the article says. Did it happen?

Claire McAlpine’s mother told the The Guardian that she had telephoned the BBC about the diary entries and a fortnight later was called back and told that the man had flatly denied it.

“She was told that if she wanted to take the matter further she had to get in touch with the man or his agent.”

The paper reports that the official reaction at the time of the inquest was “this would seem to be a matter for the police and the Coroner’s Court and the BBC has no comment to make.”

Over the past week it’s been reported that the BBC can find no record of complaints in its file on Jimmy Savile.

If Savile was involved in this case, which was reported in national newspapers and involved an inquest, why is there no record of it in his file at the BBC? Were details never added or were they removed at some later date?

Or is it possible that Jimmy Savile wasn’t the guilty party in the Claire McAlpine case?

According to the Sunday Telegraph article:

“Jenni Bale, a BBC studio manager at the time, and who knew Savile [and Claire McAlpine], is in no doubt that the DJ abused Clair. ‘I believe Clair lost her life all those years ago because of what was done to her,’ she said. She contacted police last week to ask them to look at the case again.”

At the time of the death Mrs Vera McAlpine told newspapers “I was very disturbed by other references in the diary, which mentioned many names. Some of the passages were so shocking that I would rather not repeat them. But the police know what they said.”

I hope this won’t be the end of the story and that journalists or the police will find the diary with its list of DJs and details of what happened.


Oct 9, 2012: The Watford Observer, which covered the story at the time, has some further information. This part is especially interesting:

“When The Watford Observer covered Claire’s inquest on April 7, 1971, only a photographic copy of the last entry of her diary was produced and read. It described how the ‘dreamer’ could not face reality, and could not take anymore.”

Oct 14, 2012: the Sunday Telegraph has published a new article today. Claire McAlpine’s half-brother, Mark Ufland, told them : “Jimmy Savile was in the diary for having some sort of sexual relationship with her. As far as I know, Jimmy Savile was interviewed as a witness. My mother told me that the diary went to the police and never came back.”

According to Jimmy Savile’s former bodyguard, Savile claimed to have paid off the police during an earlier investigation into underage sex in Leeds back in 1958.

May 10, 2013: in his autobiography “HimOff! The Memoirs of A TV Matinee Idol” Richard Whiteley talks about Jess Yates who was Head of Childrens’ TV at Yorkshire Television.

Richard Whitely on Jess Yates.

Even by the (unpleasant) standards of the time, this was an extraordinarily inappropriate thing for Jess Yates — the Head of Childrens’ Television — to say to colleagues.

But it’s hard to put yourself into the mindset of the time. When I worked in the all-male environment of the fire brigade in 1988 it wasn’t unusual to hear firemen making lewd comments about 14 year old girls. I was gay and the age of consent for us at the time was 21 so I was bemused by it to say the least.

Jess Yates left Yorkshire Television abruptly in 1974 when the press reported that he was having a relationship with a much younger woman. The fact that he was separated from his wife at the time didn’t seem to make any difference to the outcry and, apart from an appearance on New Faces, it seems he didn’t work in TV again.

Was this spectacular downfall solely because an affair out of marriage didn’t fit with his public image as the organ-playing presenter on the religious show Stars On Sunday? Or was Yorkshire Television glad of the opportunity to get rid of him for other reasons?

May 30, 2017: photographs dated 10 February 1970 show Jimmy Savile on Yorkshire Television’s local news show “Calendar.” He’s dressed in a kilt and in two pictures is seen alongside a young blonde “dolly bird.” She’s wearing a short dress and the ubiquitous high white boots of the time. This isn’t Claire McAlpine but the first impression is that she looks similar.

Savile is wearing a tie which has the Yorkshire Television logo on it. It would be hardly surprising if he had his feet under the table at Yorkshire TV in Leeds where he lived. Was he involved in arranging for Claire McAlpine to appear on “Junior Showtime” about a year later? At the time of her suicide it was reported that the TV company was editing an episode of the programme to remove her. How far in advance was it recorded? Was it after she had met Jimmy Savile on Top of the Pops?

There is no direct evidence so far. I raise these questions here to see whether anyone reading can provide some.


  • Christine Taylor says:

    I was at convent school with Claire Ufland (Samantha Claire McAlpine)who had been a child model. She had begun appearing on Top of The Pops as a dancer after I moved to Grammar School but when we were both well under the age of 16. It was a huge shock when she committed suicide and I was horrified that there appeared to be no follow up on her remarks in her suicide note about DJs. When allegations began to be made about Jimmy Savile I immediately thought of Claire and hoped that someone would investigate her claims. It was shameful that no-one was prepared to believe her despite that fact that her situation was enough to drive her to take her own life.

  • Bren says:

    This thing has brought back the name of the man on junior Show —— I was groped 40 years ago

  • Annette Szuprowicz says:

    I was at school, (Rosary Priory High School for Girls, Bushey Heath, Herts) in the same year as Claire. I was not in her class but I used to line up beside her in our classes every morning before assembly. The girls in our year all knew of her ambition to be a “star” on tv. She used to appear on Yorkshire TV’s Junior Showtime and we all had a “giggle” when we saw her dancing in front of the cameras on Top of the Pops. It was a terrible shock to us when she died. The diary and Claire’s entries were common knowledge and we couldn’t understand why, given it’s contents and the people mentioned in it,that everything was “hushed up”. Claire deserves to be “heard” even from the grave. She documented how she was abused and she died as a direct result of that abuse. Her diary must still be in existence somewhere and it must be found.

  • Charlie says:


    You and any other friends of Claire should write to the police officer investigating this and tell them what Claire had told you. Not information passed around, but information gained directly from Claire. I bet you a pound to a penny her diary will never turn up.

  • GS says:

    g7uk.com writes:

    I haven’t given up hope but I tend to agree with Charlie. It’s possible the diary might be stored by the police somewhere. On the other hand it’s 41 years ago and the police have been known to destroy evidence even when it was connected with a murder case in the past.

    But also there’s the possibility that it was destroyed deliberately. According to today’s Sunday Telegraph article Savile’s former bodyguard says he paid off police in Leeds in 1958.

    I think there’s still much more to come out. An article in another paper mentioned gangland connections. I wouldn’t be surprised considering various things he said and did and the fact that he seemed to be untouchable.

    Ronnie Kray was held at Broadmoor from about 1977. Jimmy Savile reportedly began volunteering there in 1967 according to an article in The Guardian in 1988.

    From Wikipedia:

    “In 1985, officials at Broadmoor Hospital discovered a business card of Ron’s, which prompted an investigation that revealed the twins – incarcerated at separate institutions – along with their older brother, Charlie, and another accomplice who was not in prison, were operating a “lucrative bodyguard and ‘protection’ business for Hollywood stars”.

    Perhaps he had some kind of arrangement like that?

  • clare says:

    I knew Clair McAlpine at school. We went on a school trip to Scotland and she was the most beautiful fun loving person you would ever want to know. She loved Goldie Hawn and often took her off from the Rowan and Martin show. She so badly wanted to be a star that at the age of 15 she would have been ripe for a big TV star to use her. She always kept a diary this was going to her memoirs for later in life. I did not know what was in it she did not share, but we all knew she kept one. I have never forgotten her or the sadness we felt when we taken into our headmistress office to be told of her death before we heard it on the news.It must have been something horrible to make someone who loved and lived life to the full end it.

  • Nicola Hollick says:

    I was at Rosary Priory school when Claire was there, only I was a little younger. I can still remember hearing the news of her death and always suspected something awful must have happened to her.

  • Bandini says:

    Hello there.
    I almost commented here a while ago after coming upon this article when researching the Claire McAlpine story… now that the truth has emerged & Jimmy Savile has been ‘cleared’ of involvement (as expected by some) could I ask you a couple of questions regarding the gestation of the piece?

    Firstly, the article linked-to (in the first line) was written in May 2012 – before the tsunami of Savile nonsense was unleashed – and yet seems to make an oblique reference to him: “But there’s a Leeds connection…”

    Is the author able to explain what led to this curious observation?

    Secondly, Claire’s mother was still alive at the time of that first article. She died just prior to the resurrected tale gracing the press in October 2012 and so was ‘lucky’ not to have to endure the journalists knocking on her door again & even ‘luckier’ not to be around in 2016 and see her daughter once again on the front-page of the despicable tabloid press.

    Given the above, was there a good reason for bringing the story to light in May 2012 that outweighed any concern over re-opening wounds for the family?

    Thirdly, the two articles (May and October 2012) contain clippings from the press. In a curious snake-eating-its-tail way, the (bad) journalism from the 70s has been re-aired here in 2012, and this then fed back into the ‘real’ press again and was used to bolster false stories about Savile’s involvement.

    Do you have a link to the full article (“BBC may set age limit…”) or a clue as to how I might find one as I haven’t so far been able to track it down?

    I’ll restrain myself from a fourth question!

  • GS says:


    Thanks for commenting.

    I was interested that Claire McAlpine had appeared on two editions of Junior Showtime made at Yorkshire Television in Leeds and just after her death they were editing her from the programmes which hadn’t been broadcast. Savile had a strong Leeds connection. Claire lived in the south of England.

    As she had danced on several editions of TOTP and news articles gave a strong clue to the dates of those, I researched details and it seemed likely that Savile had presented at least one of them [NOTE: photos have since come to light of them together on TOTP].

    There doesn’t seem to be a big Yorkshire TV/Savile connection and there may be a simple explanation about how she came to be on TV in Leeds. There are many bits and pieces about Leeds which don’t join up and for that reason I don’t want to post about them. But I have the feeling they might fit together one day.

    I sincerely hope that what I wrote didn’t cause any distress, but more than 40 years had passed and I felt it was an interesting story.

    And although I think the BBC is wonderful. About 17 years ago I had cause to made a complaint about an experience I had which was also with a DJ. Although it was about something much less serious, I could sympathise with the experience that Claire’s mother had.

    You describe the journalism from the 70s as “bad.” However, I think I’m right in saying that every historic article I found and quoted from in my main post was from The Guardian which you yourself worked for? At the time the only newspapers from the 1970s that I had access to were The Guardian and The Times.

    Newspapers are a source for research. Although I know from personal experience that sometimes facts are wrong even in The Guardian, overall I feel it’s one of the best. So in fact the Mail and Telegraph were re-airing facts from The Guardian of 1971 as far as my involvement was concerned.

    I don’t have a direct link to the “BBC may set age limit” article because my access to the newspaper archive is private. But as mentioned in my main post it appears in the April 5, 1971 edition of The Guardian (I have confirmed that tonight).

    You say that Savile has been “cleared” of involvement in the story. However in one of its articles about the draft version of the Smith report, Exaro mentions that Claire’s mother told the News of the World that the diary contained details of her encounters with “A7 and another DJ.” A7 being the DJ who is still alive and has been given anonimity by Smith.

    In its article of Oct 14, 2012 the Sunday Telegraph reported that Claire McAlpine’s half-brother, Mark Ufland, told them : “Jimmy Savile was in the diary for having some sort of sexual relationship with her. As far as I know, Jimmy Savile was interviewed as a witness.”

    Do you know for certain that the other DJ wasn’t Savile and do you believe that Mark Ufland was misquoted or made a mistake?

    You use the term “tsunami of Savile nonsense” but surely a considerable number of the accounts must be true?

  • Bandini says:

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply in such detail.

    Firstly, I now realise that I made an embarrassing mistake & somehow convinced myself that the Malcolm Stuart clipping came from The Mail when it is, as you say, from The Guardian.

    (Your article starts by mentioning a Guardian piece of 6th April although the Stuart/Guardian cutting is from 5th April; you mention a Mail-piece of October 5th and I seem to have got those dates/numbers muddled up…)

    In a way, this highlights something I’ll return to – our tendency to see what we want to see, as when doing an image-search for the clipping I found the same cutting on another site, described as being from The Guardian; I thought this was a mistake but did actually search for the piece in the Guardian/Observer archive, and failed to find it, despite the fact that I now see it was there all along! I couldn’t see for looking, or because I’d already wrongly convinced myself it was not going to be found.
    I apologise for the confusion, and thank you for setting me straight.

    One other thing to clarify is that I did not work for The Guardian! Presumably you are confusing me with David Hencke (now of Exaro & formerly of The Guardian) due to my name linking to his site. I’m afraid that what started out as my trying to help him/them with another tale hasn’t turned out well; it was a story which didn’t involve Savile at that time, although they rather stupidly tried to add him to the mix later on. My original concerns turned out to be well founded and are now accepted as being so, but that didn’t stop people from smearing me as all sorts of things, including Hencke himself. It’s fair to say that any respect I held for the journalistic profession has vanished to such an extent that the idea I might be ‘one of them’ – a journo! – is almost the worst thing anyone could accuse me of! I’m only joking… I think.

    Back to your reply.

    Firstly, regarding Claire’s half-brother apparently being quoted in the S.Telegraph: he was little more than a toddler at the time of her death, and the ‘diary’ supposedly vanished. I would suggest, therefore, that his information regarding what was contained therein likely came from the press itself (that snake eating its tale/tail again…) as his mother had died by the point of the interview.

    I find it unlikely that she would have regaled him with tales of the (probably imagined) sexual antics of his barely-remembered sister, and even if she had she wouldn’t have mentioned Savile. Savile has been unequivocally cleared of involvement by the Dame Janet Smith Review into the BBC, and even Exaro/Hencke – who would dearly love to implicate Savile in the matter – have admitted as much.

    Did Mark Ufland make a mistake or was he misquoted, you ask? Quite probably both – ‘quotes’ found in the press often bear little or no resemblance to the words leaving the interviewee’s mouth, and as the press went to him with a pre-determined aim of implicating Savile & are clever enough (or ‘devious enough’…) to obtain what they need to write the story they want, this they did!

    And it is this that interests me greatly – the DESIRE to pin crimes on Savile. This is why I am particularly interested in what led you to make the ‘Leeds connection’ before the Savile-industry really took off; I’m still unsure as to what caused you to make this observation. Please put me out of my misery!

    It is now plain that between the original Newsnight report being shelved (unreliable witnesses, a forged letter, alleged victims who had collaborated in internet-forums, etc.) & the ‘Exposure’ programme (an abomination of lies & fabrications) appearing there were people beavering away in the background, preparing the ground for what was to come. People ‘in the know’, if you like. I wondered – given your early Leeds-link – if you had heard yourself of this planned ‘exposure’, and if so, how?

    Regarding causing any distress, my ire is reserved for the press who likely exploited the girl prior to her death, contributed towards it, covered up for themselves afterwards & many years later brazenly returned to it for another pop. Far closer to the reality than any of the Savile-based rubbish is this from 2006:


    The ‘Samantha MacAlpine’ of the article is, of course, Claire McAlpine. By the way, her family were said to have moved away & refused further dealings with the press after the inquest…

    Finally, regarding Savile & the idea that “a considerable number of the accounts MUST be true” – it’s an easy trap to fall in, but a trap nonetheless. Many ‘accounts’ flatly refute the stories we have been told, and they come from people who knew him & worked with him; their voices have been silenced.

    Many accounts are provable nonsense – simply made up rubbish by grifters & nutters. Many accounts are mis-represented either in the press or by the reports that were produced at great cost into his alleged offending. For example, an adult woman voluntarily entering into a sexual relationship with Savile should not be described as a ‘victim’ by an NHS-report (even if the event took place as described), and the press certainly shouldn’t repeat this ‘mistake’ – and yet this is what happened. The number of his ‘victims’ is thus pretty close to meaningless, as no real investigation has taken place, and no differentiation has been made between the serious & the frivolous.

    It’s a long road to walk, from inappropiate-though-consensual behaviour with, say, a 15-year-old star-struck girl to raping a pre-pubescent boy; from helping out in a hospital to making jewellry from the dead; from an opportunistic grope to organized Satanic-abuse; from being a lone-wolf to engaging in orgies with Heath, Bramall & Proctor, etc..

    In short – there has been a load of rubbish accepted as being true, precisely because of our belief in the notion that ‘many allegations = must be true’. The only way to know the truth is to examine each claim individually, and as many are ludicrous allegations which prop one another up the true story will bear little-to-no similarity to what we have been fed. That doesn’t mean Savile was ‘innocent’, but he certainly wasn’t ‘guilty as posthumously charged’ either!

  • Bandini says:

    GS, I’ll just pop this in here for detail, as you raised a point which I tried to answer previously, but the Dame Janet Smith Review has now been released (and demolishes the recent article from Exaro which claimed that she had been given a copy of the diary):

    Your point –

    “In its article of Oct 14, 2012 the Sunday Telegraph reported that Claire McAlpine’s half-brother, Mark Ufland, told them : “Jimmy Savile was in the diary for having some sort of sexual relationship with her. As far as I know, Jimmy Savile was interviewed as a witness.”
    Do you know for certain that the other DJ wasn’t Savile and do you believe that Mark Ufland was misquoted or made a mistake?”

    From the Review –

    “I have discovered that the diary still exists but members of Claire’s family have declined to allow me to see it. The police have a copy of the diary but cannot disclose it to me without the permission of Claire’s family, which has not been forthcoming…
    … A member of Claire’s family has been reported in the press quite recently as saying that Savile was named in the diary. Unfortunately, that person has declined to give evidence to the Savile investigation.”

    I’ll leave you to imagine why that permission & co-operation might not be forthcoming!

  • Roz Vian says:

    My sister was Claire’s mother’s best friend, my niece her best friend. I knew Vera almost my entire life (I am in my 70s). Many of the claims by Claire could not have happened. For instance she claimed a relationship with Frank Sinatra, who at the time of the claim was doing a season in LA! She claimed many relationships with the famous to impress her peers, as she wanted to be famous. The truth is the diary was found to be full of fantasies – some young girls do write such extraordinary things.
    No paper reported the medical findings from her autopsy, CLAIRE WAS A VIRGIN!
    And now it rears its ugly head again.
    A famous DJ has been named for a connection to her. It did not happen . There are many unfortunate coincidences – Junior Showtime, Leeds, to name a couple. But that is all they are.
    She died following her mother’s discovery of the diary and her being forbidden to appear on the shows. She would have lost face with her peers and knowing Claire, that was her chance of stardom taken from her. She did not die because any of the stories were true. They were not.
    Had her mother not initially panicked and contacted the BBC her story would not have had the unnecessary importance. she later realised her mistake, but it was too late, as The News Of The World front paged it, despite knowing there was no credibility to any of her claims.
    How do you think her poor mother felt. She blamed herself for it all, but she was only being a mother wanting to protect her child. What unfolded in the gutter press was a travesty. But it sold the paper.
    Please let this fabrication rest in peace; and the ‘amateur detectives’ stop baying for blood in something you know nothing about. Go and chase some real facts that cannot be refuted!

  • kelly gold says:

    I knew Claire MacAlpine from Top of the Pops, we danced together on the programme we were called the Dolly dancers I am in the Picture with Claire that the press shows from the news of the world. I was aware that Claire was having some sort of relations with quite a few Dj’s on top of the pops, in fact a big americian singer took Claire out and spent the night with her in a london hotel. I was the girl who phoned mrs MacAlpine to say Claire was staying with me that night, However I was shocked to hear she died and my mum stopped me from going to top of the pops when she saw me in the newspaper after Claires death.

  • GS says:


    in reply to Roz:

    Roz if you see section 9.98 of Dame Janet Smith’s report which has just been released it states:

    9.98 The post-mortem report recorded that laboratory analysis of a blood sample showed the presence of barbiturates. This was given as the cause of death. The post-mortem report did not say anything about whether Claire was a virgin. The Coroner’s verdict was that Claire had committed suicide “while balance of mind disturbed”.

    Download the full report by Dame Janet Smith here

  • GS says:


    in reply to Bandini:

    I agree, disappointing on both counts regarding the diary. Perhaps they don’t have faith in the Review?

  • Bandini says:

    In reply to GS:

    I think we’ll have to disagree over the likely reason for the family not releasing the diary!

    Kelly Gold, who comments above about her friend Claire MacAlpine [sic], has ‘vowed’ to name a famous singer & now claims to have been a victim of Jimmy Savile herself:

    “Ms Gold also described her alleged groping at the hands of Savile, claiming he ‘dragged her down onto his knee’ before putting his hand up her dress.”

    Despite a pricetag of many millions of pounds, the DJS Review fails to even correctly record the date of Claire’s death – another depressing detail to add to all the others in this sad media farce.


  • Sarah says:

    Roz and Kelly,
    I notice today that Kelly has threatened to divulge the name of the Star in question. Why are you waiting? Please do not make this about money Kelly! Surely, just say it and lets get to the bottom of all this.
    Roz, if what you claim is true, please contact the Police, or at the very least A7’s legal team.
    Surely you cannot have all this information but not divulge it?
    You both must do what is right.
    Forget the money, or the paper deals you are waiting for! Just do the right thing.


  • A J says:

    Believe the mix up with you working for the Guardian is due to the sports writer Paolo Bandini

  • GS says:

    g7uk.com writes:

    The article in today’s Sunday Mirror states that Kelly wasn’t paid for the interview.

  • david says:

    This may or may not mean anything in the context of this discussion, but might still be of interest to people here – a list of the presenters and acts who appeared on totp in january and february 1971.


  • Bandini says:

    In reply to GS:

    No, it doesn’t state that she wasn’t paid – it states that she was not paid BY The Sunday Mirror.

    “Kelly was not paid by the Sunday Mirror for this interview.”

    I’m sorry if that sounds like nit-picking, but Kelly Gold is free to tell us what her remuneration HAS been, or WILL be (based on a deal for future ‘revelations’) and WHO is (or will be) picking up the tab.
    The press are not the only players with a vested interest in perpetuating this nonsense…

    If Kelly Gold does make a re-appearance she might also like to tell us what prevented her from speaking out previously, and why 45-years after-the-fact seems like the perfect moment to swing into action.

  • Bandini says:

    Claire’s “good friend” Kelly Gold has now had a predictable change of heart & won’t be naming the “famous singer” after all.

    “But she refused to name the star. ‘I can’t say any more or I will get sued,’ she said. ‘I will not be naming the famous singer mainly because I do not wish [to face] a law suit.'”

    Not ‘mainly because’ it isn’t true, then? With friends like these…


  • GS says:

    g7uk.com in reply to Bandini:

    Or she has just had some wise legal advice. Without the diary to possibly back her up she could find herself in a bad situation. I don’t think it stops her making a complaint to the police, though Mail Online reports that the singer is an American.


    She is in a photograph with Claire McAlpine on Top of the Pops so at the very least met her and Jimmy Savile.

    You could just as well ask what prevented the BBC, police or media from “swinging into action” at any point over the last 45 years. If you’ve ever found yourself in the position of making a complaint you’ll have some idea of what you’re up against. When others are speaking out too it’s a bit more easy.

  • Bandini says:

    In reply to GS:

    The police took action 45-years-ago. There was an inquest & an investigation.

    The BBC took action 45-years ago. There was an investigation.

    The media? Well, as I have tried to point out it was the media who used Claire McAlpine – both before & after her death – to attack the BBC/sell newspapers. It was part of a concerted attempt to undermine the BBC/TOTP by a man with a dog in the race: Rupert Murdoch, using the same trick which led previously to another young suicide (a diary).

    The only people not to cooperate fully with the 1971 inquiries were the press (NOTW) who failed to make their information available as it would have revealed what a shameless & corrupt bunch of liars they were (and still are), and unfortunately on this occasion it led to tragic consequences.

    Please see this letter from someone who is dismayed by things:

    “The girl who was the subject of the alleged interview all those years ago died soon AFTER a ‘Top of the Pops’ exposé in the ‘News of the World’.”

    Letter here: http://oi63.tinypic.com/25heuec.jpg

    Or for more on the sheer hypocrisy of the press – once again the Murdoch press very definitely NOT being transparent – see this from Private Eye: http://oi67.tinypic.com/9948qw.jpg

    They lied in 1971 and they’ve never stopped since.

    There is nothing to prevent Kelly Gold from ‘revealing’ anything apart from the fact that it is not true. The police have the diary, so it could be called upon as evidence, but given that it is what it always was – teenage daydreams & fantasies around which an unscrupulous press could weave a self-serving tale – it wouldn’t do her much good.

    I have to say that I’m astonished by your apparent faith in the tabloid-press & those who will provide them with their fact-free fodder; the only ‘good’ to come of this is that Claire McAlpine has now achieved the fame she craved as a youngster – but it’s a shame she had to die to do so.

    P.S. I am still curious as to what led you to make the “Leeds connection” (i.e. Savile) to her story in May 2012, particularly as we now know there never was one.

  • GS says:

    g7uk.com in reply to Bandini:

    Genuine question (as I can’t recall without going to research it possibly for hours): was the Claire McAlpine case reported in the press before her suicide? If not then how did they “use her” before her death?

    The News of the World(?) headline I have seen is something like “this girl was a victim. Now she is dead.” You seem to be suggesting that a modern-day letter from a former BBC employee is evidence that there were articles before. Instead can you list any articles?

    If there were articles before her suicide, how did the press find out?

    Yes there were investigations of a kind at the time. But were they satisfactory?

    You say the “press (NOTW)” failed to make their information (and I assume you mean the secretly recorded tapes?) available. But wasn’t that in relation to the “porny” photographs that it had been suggested may have been taken after editions of TOTP and the showing of blue movies at the studios? Some of the interviews at least were with the photographer? And were there recordings in relation to the Payola scandal?

    I don’t think the tapes related to Claire McAlpine in any way? Except in relation to the culture that may have surrounded Top of the Pops.

    Doesn’t Dame Janet state in her report that eventually Brian Neill (who wrote the report in 1972) found, and admittedly after previously asking the NOTW for them, that the tapes had been handed to the police? The police had a large team transcribing them and wouldn’t hand over the transcripts (or tapes) to Neill?

    So isn’t it the 1972 inquiry by Brian Neil that you say the press failed to co-operate with? And they were not “the only people not to cooperate fully” as the police wouldn’t give Brian Neil access once the tapes were in their hands…

    At that point he asked the BBC whether they wanted him to wait to see if the transcript might be forthcoming — which it might not ever — or to complete the report without it, which he said would be somewhat unsatisfactory. The BBC chose the latter option.

    Also isn’t it the case that before the police took the tapes, the NOTW was facing some sort of legal action over the story? Which made them more reluctant to hand over the tapes?

    On the subject of the press, I agree with you more than you might realise. I’m no fan of Murdoch and his papers and TV stations. I’ve noted that even the more “reputable” newspapers are not above omitting facts and misleading a little if it makes for a more sensational story. And if you look elsewhere on this website you’ll see plenty of criticism of the press including the Manchester Evening News. I seem to remember Dame Janet herself said somewhere that news stories can’t be trusted? Unfortunately, often news articles are all we have to “go on.”

    An example is the claim that the coroner stated that Claire McAlpine was a virgin. Apparently that was said to the press by a policeman at the time of the inquest? However, Dame Janet states that the corner makes no mention of it in his documents.

    So why did a police officer say that to the press (if he did)? That certainly didn’t help with smearing the BBC if that was the intention. Rather it added weight to the “fantasist” line.

    Jimmy Savile lived in Leeds. Savile is in a photograph standing next to Claire McAlpine on Top of the Pops. By the way, in an article in the Daily Express on April 7, 1971, Savile tells them:

    “I studied a photograph of Samantha [Claire] very closely. I cannot recollect ever seeing the girl in my life.” But he may not have realised.

    Claire (who was from the south of England) appeared on Junior Showtime, which was recorded in Leeds.

    That is a “Leeds connection.”

    I don’t know the date of that Junior Showtime recording. Just after her death The Guardian reported that Yorkshire Television was editing her from the programme. It could have been recorded weeks or months earlier. I don’t know.

    I would like to know whether Savile was involved in getting her that appearance on Junior Showtime and what connections, if any, he had with Yorkshire TV in Leeds. The police or someone like Dame Janet would have to look into that.

    There are other odds and ends. None of which can be joined up at the moment and may never be unless further information emerges elsewhere.

  • Bandini says:

    In reply to GS:

    Crikey, can I get back to you on this as there are a lot of points raised & I’m really busy elsewhere at the moment? I’ll be back!

    One thing though – I understand that there IS a ‘Leeds connection’ (tenuous in my opinion, but…) but I’m still none the wiser as to WHY you made it WHEN you did.

  • N says:

    From the 29 Feb 2016 Daily Mail article:

    “The world famous singer accused of having sex with 15-year-old Top of the Pops dancer Claire McAlpine is an American who is still touring today, it was claimed yesterday. … Before she died, Miss McAlpine wrote in her diary about being molested, naming the DJ alongside a string of other celebrities whom, she claimed, had ‘used’ her. … [in her last diary entry in] March 1971, she said: ‘I am just a dreamer and none of my dreams will ever come true and I just can’t face reality. I wish someone would really love me. People always get the impression that I’m well-bred and overflowing with confidence and everything but I’m not. It’s all so forced. I sit and dream for hours about me as a fairy godmother or me as a star or me as Sinatra’s wife. But it is all dreams. I can’t face reality, ordinary everyday life.’”

    A couple of points:

    (1) Just because Claire McAlpine (aka Samantha McAlpine or Claire Ufland) wrote in her diary that she had dreams of being a fairy godmother, is not evidence that she made up fantasy in her diary entries. (By analogy, just because a novelist writes fiction, that doesn’t mean that they are dishonest.) You can dream without being a liar or writing fantasy in your diary. Particularly, attractive young women such as Claire have regularly been seduced by major stars for flings. Claire was travelling about London in 1971 to the BBC and could very well have met all kinds of visiting stars in the BBC restaurant, for instance. (For example, my mother while training in London to be a nurse, worked in the BBC canteen part-time around that time and was chatted up by these bedpost-notching “celebrities”. This is not fantasy.)

    (2) Roz Vian, a family friend of Claire, commented above on 25 Feb 2016 that he believes she was writing fantasy because, he argues:

    “Many of the claims by Claire could not have happened. … The truth is the diary was found to be full of fantasies – some young girls do write such extraordinary things. No paper reported the medical findings from her autopsy, CLAIRE WAS A VIRGIN!”

    This is totally inaccurate, because it was reported by the Sunday Mirror that the pathologist found Claire to be a virgin, but paragraph 9.108 in Dame Janet Smith’s report debunks the story as a myth since Claire’s autopsy report does even not even mention the subject:

    “9.108 In the same Sunday Mirror article, it was said that Claire had been found by the pathologist to have been a virgin, thereby implicitly proving that the claims in her diary that she had been seduced were untrue. However, there is no reference to any
    such finding in either the post mortem report or anywhere in the Coroner’s papers.”

    This is a myth that undermines her diary’s credibility. With regards to the claim that her unpublished diary mentions a fling with Frank Sinatra, pardon me, but ladies’ man Sinatra performed at London’s Royal Festival Hall on November 16, 1970 and due to fast transportation means called aircraft, he could have visited London during breaks and time off in his 1971 LA tour. It is certainly possible that a fan could have hooked up with him.

    The key lesson of the Jimmy Saville episode is that nobody wanted to believe claims and dismissed such claims as fantasy without bothering to take claims seriously and do careful research to check their validity, or else it’s a cover-up.

  • Bandini says:

    GS, I’ll have to answer bit by bit. Your first point – ‘Was the Claire McAlpine case reported in the press before her suicide?’

    See the link to Counterpunch above (from 2006):

    “After acquiring the News of the World in London in 1971, Rupert discovered another diary, while he was campaigning against a popular BBC TV show, Top of the Pops. His paper accused its stars of “promiscuity” with young dancers in the audience. One of these was Samantha MacAlpine, aged 15, whose “leatherette bound book”, according Murdoch’s news desk, “could well blow wide open the scandal at the BBC”. The day after this report, Samantha MacAlpine committed suicide.

    The News of the World tried to cover itself with the headline, THIS GIRL WAS A VICTIM NOW SHE IS DEAD…”

    This version was recycled in Peter Jukes’ book ‘The Fall of the House of Murdoch’ (complete with spelling mistakes), something which seemed to have escaped the attention of his sometime collegues at Exaro who had a different version to flog!

    We know that the NOTW were engaged in a long battle against the BBC/TOTP, that they had published articles about ‘dolly dancers’ and sexual impropiety between BBC staff & young audience members, and that the articles made reference to ‘tickets’ being handed out – all prior to her death. (One day prior in one case, to be precise.)

    We also know that her mother made a complaint about similar matters, during the NOTW’s campaign, and that after Claire’s death (less than a week after…) Vera McAlpine’s words appeared in the very same paper.

    (I don’t have time to search for the links right now, but the ‘journalists’ involved in the NOTW articles were well known for ‘making the news’ rather than reporting it. I personally doubt that the call made to the BBC by Vera McAlpine was unconnected to their efforts.)

  • Bandini says:

    A bit busy with something else (related) at the minute, but The Mail have decided to publish another article, one which flatly contradicts their previous nonsense in several respects.

    The rather nasty suggestion this time is that Claire may have been a ‘fame hungry girl’ with all the nudge-nudge, wink-wink inferences you might care to draw from this; in their usual ‘look over there’ manner they ask:

    “Was she an innocent and vulnerable 15-year-old girl exploited by immoral ‘pop people’?”

    Immoral ‘pop people’, eh? As the article points out Claire appeared in its own pages prior to her death -‘Secrets of the Top Pop Dollies’. The irony flies straight over their heads…

    Leaving aside the many inaccuracies this piece at least helps us understand a little more about her family (assuming that this new information isn’t also a tissue of lies & bad journalism, of course).

    Further up this page the role of her ‘half brother’ Mark Ufland was discussed & I mentioned that he would only have been a toddler at the time of her death; further research suggested that he might not even have been born! I couldn’t quite get my head around this, given early mentions of a brother (or ‘half brother) in the press, but the problem is now solved, sort of…

    Amongst the marriages, divorces, children adopted or otherwise, is the news that the only surviving member of Claire’s immediate family is “her brother Simon Ufland”.
    He was adopted, as was Claire, although I’m not sure if they were siblings at the time of their adoption, nor if they were adopted at the same time.

    Simon Ufland is wisely not engaging with the press. Mark Ufland was the offspring of a later pairing – these complicated family ties have me in a knot, to be honest.

    What else? Well, more ‘good friends of Claire’s’ have their tales rehashed; Donna Scarff’s stories were used to flog Dan Davies’ incredibly bad book on Savile – an award-winning book, lauded in the press, forming the basis of a play, similarly eulogized by the journos – but he stumbled over the spelling of her name (a common theme): Donna would later appear on Jim’ll Fix It as she sought to make her way in showbiz – not as a ‘fixee’ but as a minor celebrity, something she would surely not have done if the angle Davies sought to push about Savile had been true. Hmmm, maybe his mistake over her name wasn’t quite so innocent!
    Donna has also clammed up.

    The article ends rather predictably:

    “But after 45 years, the tragic tale of Claire McAlpine may yet have a few chapters left to run.”

    [Emits a weary sigh]


  • Bandini says:

    Back again a mere two years later!

    One of the media’s sources – mentioned above in the quoted piece from The Sunday Telegraph – appears to have responded to some comments beneath another old article, leading to this:


    It may be of interest.

    She states that the Mail’s piece which predated the Telegraph’s – she had contacted the former to encourage their interest – were wrong to claim that she had known Claire (“I had never met Claire”).

    She was then contacted by the Telegraph for their piece; they were assured that the Mail piece was incorrect in that she had never been a TOTP dancer and, again, she had never met Claire.

    [While the piece above quotes the Telegraph the mention of Jenni Bale knowing Claire seems to be a supposition not included in the original:

    “Jenni Bale, a BBC studio manager at the time, and who knew Savile [and Claire McAlpine], is in no doubt that the DJ abused Clair…”

  • Admin says:

    Thanks for the update Bandini.

    Good point about the the comment that I inserted in that quote. Nearly six years later I can’t remember why. I see that the Daily Mail described Jenni as a dancer on Top of the Pops.

    The “anonymous” person who has commented on the jimcannotfixthis blog claiming to be Jenni says otherwise.

    I want to sound a note of caution. On that blog the contributors pour cold water on those who claim to be victims of Savile. But then someone pops up and posts claiming to be Jenni and because what is written suits their purposes they take that as fact. It may well be Jenni. It may not.

    I am Brian Smith. I worked with Savile as a floor manager in the early 1960s when he presented TOTP at the BBC studios on Dickenson Road in Manchester.

    The paragraph above is completely untrue. I just made it up. It’s that easy…

    Until fairly recently newspapers tended to be regarded as a historical record. Now many of us have seen how they lie, distort and make mistakes. Have they just started doing that in recent years as the quality of journalism has declined?

    Or have they always done it and is it that we didn’t see behind the curtain until the internet and social media age came along? And yet it’s blogs that are “fake news”!

    All I can say is that I’ve tried my best to present facts. I would never knowingly publish something untrue.

    In the original article I didn’t suggest a name for the “well known disc jockey” but I said there was a “Leeds connection” which was that Claire (who lived in Watford) had appeared on the “Junior Showtime” programme made by Yorkshire Television in Leeds. At that stage I don’t think I intended to write anything more and I mentioned Leeds because I thought the DJ might be Savile. But then the whole story blew up.

    I wonder if there’s anything in the red diary about Yorkshire Television? There are questions about the behaviour of two people connected with Junior Showtime.

    I don’t think we’ll ever get to the bottom of this now. But (unlike the newspapers) I’m always willing to consider publishing updates and corrections as you continue to research this.

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