Saturday, 19 September 2015

LOVE, PAUL GAMBACCINI

Paul Gambaccini has been a friend and sometime colleague for more than thirty years. We have worked together on various television projects. I have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner with him. I have been to parties at his house. I have filmed and recorded in his flat. I admire him greatly for his encyclopaedic knowledge and love of music, of course, but most of all because he's a decent and honest human being.

Paul's life collapsed in October 2013, when he was arrested at his home in the middle of the night. His belongings were seized, he was suspended from his job by the BBC, and wound up having to spend thousands of pounds of money he wasn't earning on lawyers, in order to clear his name. He describes the nightmare experience as 'a witch hunt'.

Shortly after his arrest, he made a brief appearance at a party at London's Hippodrome to celebrate 25 years of Capital Radio's Gold network. As usual, I was wielding the camera. There were many other veteran, household-name DJs present, some of whom were more than happy to line up with Paul and show solidarity ... and others who were not.

I am never easily shocked. But I was that day, by those who apparently thought that to be photographed with Paul would taint their own reputations.

Paul turned out to be entirely innocent of historical sex abuse. He was falsely accused, as so many have been, in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, under the investigation called Operation Yewtree. He has been, as they say, to hell and back. What kept him sane was the daily writing of a journal that became this book. As Stephen Fry remarked, Paul's story reads like 'a page-turning thriller'. 'Read it and get very angry!' added Elton John.

If you care about the monstrous collapse of this country's justice system, and if you recognise that what happened to Paul could just as easily happen to you, buy this book.


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