education

BBC presenter Nicky Campbell says he was victim of abuse at school in 1970s


The BBC presenter Nicky Campbell has claimed he was the victim of abuse at a Scottish private school in the 1970s.

Campbell, 61, said witnessing incidents of both sexual and physical abuse at the Edinburgh Academy had had a “profound effect” on his life.

He made the claims for the first time on an episode of his podcast Different on BBC Sounds, released on Wednesday.

During the episode he discusses his experiences with journalist Alex Renton, the creator of the radio programme In Dark Corners, which explores abuse at Britain’s private schools.

Campbell will later tell BBC Radio 5 Live: “I was badly beaten up at school by a teacher who was a leading light in the Scripture Union.

“My mother took it as far as she could and got a grovelling apology from [the man involved], but was essentially stonewalled and it was hushed up by the school. Those were different times and that has stayed with me all my life.”

Campbell also discussed witnessing more serious sexual abuse, allegedly enacted on his schoolmates at the hands of another man at the institution.

“I cannot describe it here and I can never unsee it,” he will tell 5 Live. “This man was known to us all as a predator and a sadist but we never told anyone.

“My school friends and I talk about it now with each other with, again, contempt, disbelief and incomprehension that sort of thing happened in plain sight and nothing was done.

“And why didn’t we as little boys tell anyone in power what was happening? I don’t know.”

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It was also revealed to Campbell by Renton that the alleged abuser is still alive but has not been named for legal reasons.

Speaking on his own podcast, Campbell says the reason he has chosen to come forward is to bring the man to justice over the alleged abuse.

In a statement provided to the BBC, the Edinburgh Academy said it “deeply regrets” the alleged incidents and “wholeheartedly” apologised to those involved.

“We have worked closely with the relevant authorities including Police Scotland with their inquiries and would like to provide reassurance that things have dramatically changed since the 1970s,” the statement read.

“The Academy has robust measures in place to safeguard children at the school with child protection training now core to the ethos of the Academy.”

Different With Nicky Campbell is available on BBC Sounds.

  • In the UK, the NSPCC offers support to children on 0800 1111, and adults concerned about a child on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adult survivors on 0808 801 0331.



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