Of transient interest in mid 2000 was an emailed meme
, one which purported to be a transcription of out-takes from an episode of 'Have I Got News For You
'. The show - the seventh in the seventeenth series - was broadcast in May 1999
. Apart from the regular cast, which at the time included Angus Deayton
, the guests were Diane Abbot
, MP and Sir Jimmy Savile
. Shortly thereafter an irresistable e-mail starting doing the rounds, a supposed transcription of cut dialogue which cast Jimmy Savile
in a poor light. There was mention of a scandal involving a young girl, and subsequent financial reparations in lieu of further media coverage.
The meme became controversial on account of its dubious legitimacy and libellous nature. So libellous was it that at least two UK-based internet sites were temporarily suspended by their ISPs as a result, including the thorough, scholarly comedy analysis website 'Some of the Corpses are Amusing'. SOTCAA was often cited as the source of the transcript, whether leaked by the producers of 'Have I Got News For You' or written by SOTCAA themselves, or by a third party, prime suspects being Chris Morris and Victor Lewis-Smith.
The following page delves into the saga, from the point of view of a website publisher whose ISP asked him forcefully to remove the transcript, citing a previous case in which an ISP was found liable for content published via its servers. It contains a link to an edited version of the original:
The transcript is either an entirely invented piece of comedy writing, or it is a modified transcription of an out-take, or it is a genuine transcription of an actual out-take. It is therefore either defamatory or a breach of copyright, and I do not reproduce it here. It is noticeable that Jimmy Savile's name is spelled incorrectly throughout the script - his name has one L, as in 'vile' - and that no mainstream media outlet subsequently picked up on the substance of the core allegation. Furthermore, a quip about 'miners' seems very contrived for something which is not scripted. The line continues just long enough to make it clear that Savile is making a pun on the word 'minors'. If it did not, the transcriber would not know to write 'miners', and this has an air of deliberation about it.
The one substantive fact which could be used to check the transcriptions accuracy - the name 'Sarah Cornley' - only returns links to pages which host the transcript, and indeed the node Sarah Cornley here on Everything2 is sourced entirely from the information contained in this very node.
The transcript is well-written and I can remember feeling shocked when I first read it. Savile is a strange man who lives a solitary existence; unlike myself, however, he has spent most of his adult life entertaining children. There are persistent, unfounded rumours that he is a necrophilic paedophile with a Norman Bates-esque fixation on his late mother. He inspires fear in a great many people. But so far there is no evidence that the information in the transcript is true or accurate.
And see also about nine-tenths of the way down this: