Baroness Joan Bakewell: There was no point in reporting harassment to BBC bosses, they were doing it too 

The broadcaster said she was the "victim of unwelcome attention" during the 1950s and 1960s

Baroness Joan Bakewell: There was no point in reporting harassment to BBC bosses, they were doing it too 
Baroness Joan Bakewell: There was no point in reporting harassment to BBC bosses, they were doing it too  Credit: Dominic Lipinski 

Baroness Joan Bakewell has said there was no point complaining about the sexual harassment by a politician she experienced early in her career to senior figures at the BBC because "they would be doing the same thing".

The broadcaster, who fronted factual programmes including Late Night Line-Up and Heart Of The Matter, said she was the "victim of unwelcome attention" during the 1950s and 1960s.

She said she was sexually harassed early by a junior government minister, now dead, who had to be "fended off" after he made a grab for her. 

"I was assaulted by a member of the government in a taxi when I went to fetch him from the House of Commons to come on the programme," she told Times Radio. 

"You know, this kind of thing happened, it happened all the time."

When asked whether she reported the minister to police, she said there would have been no point.

She explained: "They would've said, well, that's just to do with your private life, you're alright, he's not done anything that breaks the law."

She said there was no point in discussing harassment with senior figures at the BBC "because they would be doing the same thing".   

In the interview, to be broadcast on Sunday the 87-year-old describes how a group of women at the BBC attempted to lodge a complaint against a male member of staff who later got promoted "pretty near the top".

"There was someone who was persistently harassing a whole department of women as it were, one by one," she said.

"He would invite them home and behave badly and they began to tell each other.

"They began to share the secret with each other and found it hateful and so they decided that they would all get together and as a group make a protest about this person.

"And they went to the head of department and it eventually went up to, I think as far as the controller, and the person was reprimanded and then he was promoted."

Although there were "numbers of predators" within the BBC, Baroness Bakewell said no one knew about Jimmy Savile at the time, but added: "We all thought he was extremely weird."

Baroness Bakewell has spoken previously of her support for the Me Too movement, which campaigns against sexual violence, hailing its values and female solidarity.

In the interview, she also described accepting a peerage from former Labour leader Ed Miliband despite voting for the Green Party at the previous election due to her anger over the Iraq war.

"I marched against the Iraq war with about a million other people," she said.

"So I wasn't going to vote Labour, didn't support the Labour Party at that time and I had to explain that to Ed Miliband.

"I said 'I'd like you to go away and consider whether you want me to be a Labour peer and I have to consider whether I want to be', so we agreed to speak again at which point Ed said 'yes I would like you to' and I said 'I will accept'."