One and a half rhinoceroses: A defence of John Peel against the Daily Mail (and others)

Also read this…Jimmy Savile- one week on

Following the allegations against Jimmy Savile this week more names have been implicated – amongst them other pop culture icons of the time such as Gary Glitter (and we all know his predilictions have been proven) but also less likely candidates like the well-loved, much-missed John Peel. 

With John Peel day just a couple of weeks away, and more names and incidents being reported almost daily Colin B Morton takes a closer look at the case being made against Peel.

You may have noticed the recent moral panic regarding Jimmy Savile and his alleged dastardly deeds with underage persons of the female persuasion in the Top of the Pops studios.

You may have been surprised, or thought “always knew there was something funny about him”. You perhaps raised pertinent questions of the irresponsibly of those denizens of the media who said “we knew all along” and so forth.

Some there would be amongst you who have heard whispers of other such goings-on amongst the DJ fraternity. You may have read particular articles and Twitters and thought “Oh no! Not John Peel!”.

I bring glad tidings. Not John Peel. I’m not saying Peel was perfect. He liked football for a start. But looky here: “Peel, awarded the OBE in 1998, is perhaps best remembered for his Saturday morning programme Home Truths on Radio 4 in which he talked about family life to Middle England. “ Thus spake the Daily Mail, in a recent article which sought to tarnish him with the same brush as Savile and Jonathan King. (What, Daily Mail, no mention of Captain Beefheart or The Fall? )

The Mail article seeks to implicate Peel thus: “”¦no one epitomised this laissez-faire sexual morality, which, in one way or another, allowed Jimmy Savile’s vile activities to continue for so long, than the late, saintly John Peel.” A hideous photograph of the errant DJ in a gymslip accompanies the trash talk. I’d suggest you avoid looking at it at all costs, were it not Essential to the Plot.

There is an accompanying catalogue of Peel’s misdemeanours which amount to marrying an underage American girl and bandying around a few pics/salacious remarks about schoolgirls in a Sounds column.

Peel, it appears, was deceived by both the underage bride and her parents. The jury would still be out, had there ever been one.

The Mail implies further activities with willing participants who may or not have been of age. He “didn’t ask for ID”(whence cometh that quote?). Unless we can retroactively ask for ID, we cannot infer one way or the other. This was, lest we forget, a young man from Liverpool who had been cloistered in an all-male English public school, done his National Service, and then been sent by his father to a USA in the throes of Beatlemania. This was not a cigar-chomping predatory rapist. Not the most sensible way for a young fellow to carry on, but did it epitomise the laissez-faire blahblahblah the Mail article speaks of?

There then follow a few inflammatory statements re: Peel’s unhealthy drooling over schoolgirls in his Sounds column. It is hard to defend this activity except to say that hindsight is always 20-20, it was “of its time” and so forth. But in terms of the Mail’s objective (to besmirch Peel alongside known and suspected sex offenders and thereby tarnish the BBC, which it hates) it amounts to nothing that wasn’t already part of the common culture – St. Trinians movies and such. Until you get to this part: “Unbelievably, Peel also ran a Schoolgirl of the Year competition on his Radio 1 show.”

You know why it is so unbelievable? Because it didn’t exist! Since I was knee high to a knee, I listened to John Peel. I never heard the Schoolgirl of the Year competition of which the Daily Mail speaks. The idea of such a competition stems from a hatchet job by the fatuous Julie Burchill which the Guardian ran in (year of his OBE) 1998. Said column, one long gripe about Peel, also included the preposterous allegation that he never played black music.

“Peel was drooling on about “schoolgirls”, in print and on air, where his Schoolgirl Of The Year competition was quietly laid to rest during punk’s tenure” she wrote. If anyone reading this has actually swallowed that myth: how, pray, would it work? Presumably, on an annual basis, Peel would put out a call to his schoolgirl listeners who according to Burchill (“it became male, hippy and smelly”- she had a Smell Radio? Imagine the rush in her house to switch off The Archers!) did not hardly exist.

What would happen then? Maybe a half dozen photographs would come flooding in. He’d then invite them to Maida Vale to parade around to the strains of the Third Ear Band and Fotheringay (“give us a twirl, Natasha – whoops wrong speed!”). For how long did this go on before being “quietly laid to rest”, despite a) radio not being the most visual of media and b) Peel perennially grumping at the lack of airtime at his disposal? I think we’d all know about that, don’t you? It’d be one of those folkloric radio things, like jugglers and ventriloquists in the early days.

So either Julie made this notion up, and other people were so monumentally stupid as to believe it, or someone else made it up, and Burchill was so monumentally stupid as to believe it. Whatever, Peel’s “Schoolgirl of the Year contest” is one of those notions, like astrology and the existence of a creator-god, that a moment’s thought should dismiss. But hey, some people read the Daily Mail and vote Conservative.

One and a half rhinoceroses: A defence of John Peel against the Daily Mail (and others)

I believe two things have gotten conflated here . There was a “Miss Top Gear” competition. “Top Gear” was what Peel’s show was called before the title was hijacked by Clarkson and that guy who’s not really a hamster. The Miss Top Gear Contest, if memory serves, was a satirical device predicated on the fact that radio was not a visual media (see above). It happened, I think, twice.

Once, female listeners were invited to send in photographs. A man entered. The second time, taking this intervention to its logical conclusion, Peel threw open the contest to anybody and anything. “One and a half rhinoceroses” was the eventual winner. Even if you disapprove the notion of beauty pageants on the radio, there were but two Miss Top Gear Contests, one of which did not specifically target schoolgirls, and another which did not specifically target anyone or thing. Then it was quietly laid to rest.

Of course, when I was researching this piece, I googled “John Peel” and “schoolgirl of the year” in the interests of completeness. The phrase only occurs in the Mail and Burchill hackjobs, references attendant thereto, and”¦you remember the hideous photograph of Peel in gymslip I alluded to earlier? There is another shot, from what appears to be the same session. It is a Sounds calendar from 1974. Peel is in repose, clad in stockings, suspenders, etc. The caption? “Schoolgirl of the Year”! So is that all you got, Daily Mail?

Precisely one dodgy jury-is-out marriage, some inferences and innuendoes that have no actual substance, and a made-up-competition based on Peel taking the piss out of himself. Not exactly supporting the Nazis in the 1930s is it?

All words by Colin B Morton. You can read more from Colin on LTW here.

And it was just this morning we pointed out the Daily Mail may want to look a little closer to home for salacious behaviour.

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  1. ‘So either Julie made this notion up, and other people were so monumentally stupid as to believe it, or someone else made it up, and Burchill was so monumentally stupid as to believe it.’

    this is a great line. Well said.

    • If Schoolgirl of the Year didn’t exist what is he advertising here httpss://

      • Erm… did you read the article? It’s from the Sounds Calendar, not a radio competition. Pretty creepy tbh though.

      • The ebay item you link to is the 1974 sounds calender as mentioned in the article – “you remember the hideous photograph of Peel in gymslip I alluded to earlier? There is another shot, from what appears to be the same session. It is a Sounds calendar from 1974. Peel is in repose, clad in stockings, suspenders, etc. The caption? “Schoolgirl of the Year”!”

      • The ebay item you link to is the 1974 sounds calender as mentioned in the article – “you remember the hideous photograph of Peel in gymslip I alluded to earlier? There is another shot, from what appears to be the same session. It is a Sounds calendar from 1974. Peel is in repose, clad in stockings, suspenders, etc. The caption? “Schoolgirl of the Year”!”

  2. Typical daily mail, julie bitchill (couldnt resist),is that all they got?. Yes the seventies was full of aweful sexist tripe on our t.v’s radio’s and publications from on the busses to carry on films and also the umm comedy love thy neighbour which to the known wasnt sexist so what do the mail do..dig up some silly picture, print a rumour with no evidence and totally wreck john peels status as a real music loving from all backgrounds D.J..she gets paid for that as well ..vastly..

  3. I have said it many times….here I go again I hate the Daily Mail with a passion. Purveyors of brainwashing bullshit, bile and evil.

  4. Here’s the Burchill piece. Read it and make up your own mind:


  5. I’m really glad I read this today, I was picking up on this stuff yesterday and getting really depressed. Thanks.

  6. So you’d think it all right if a grown man he fucked your 13 year old daughter would you?

    It’s all right when dodgy old working class Jimmy Saville is in the frame but you don’t like it when middle class heroes like John Peel are found out do you?

    Bloody hell we’re have the full weight of the Guardian reading university educated classes down on us if we say anything about him.

    • “So you\’d think it all right if a grown man he fucked your 13 year old daughter would you?”

      Erm, the problem there is that the girl’s parents were the ones who were pretty much encouraging it the whole time. Nice try though.

      • “So you\’d think it all right if a grown man he fucked your 13 year old daughter would you?”
        “Erm, the problem there is that the girl\’s parents were the ones who were pretty much encouraging it the whole time. Nice try though.”

        So some 13 year olds are OK for adult men to fuck?! The ones pimped out by their parents?
        That’s way past appalling.

  7. theawfultruth his point is that Peel hasn’t been “found out” the Mail case as it stands is wafer thin (and btw what the fuck has class to do with it?) PS technically even Savile hasn’t been “found out”

  8. You can’t libel the dead and of course they can’t defend themselves. I’m not taking sides, I just find that an important point.

    • He referenced the schoolgirl of the year competition in his autobiography. Do better research. It was this which was one year run by half a rhinoceros and according to Peel in said autobiography a typewriter

  9. It was nice of the Daily Heil to be so eager & blatant in their over-zealous eagerness to destroy the BBC’s “pop culture” legacy that they couldn’t help but lurch stupidly straight from Savile to Peel – their aim might have been better served in reaching John via others – I fully expect Alan Freeman (Bi-sexual,Host of Many Parties, Presented TOTP with Savile in the 60s, Celibate since 1981 (though I’m sure that won’t get bandied about), and dead since 2007), Kenny Everett (notoriously notorious anyway but that won’t bother the Heil), Chris Denning (mentioned weekly already, worked for R1 for about 5 minutes in 1967/68) and any & all of the TOTP team.
    News Of The World (or whatever it’s masquerading under now) have pulled a blinder today – in the attempt to paint Top Of The Pops not as a reflection of the music & fashions of the time, but as a place where DJ’s molested children in imaginary huge dressing rooms with disgraced glam rockers – a photo of Savile published from Top Of The Pops circa 1970 – with some scantily-clad “poor girls” with their poor faces blurred out. My heart was about to bleed…until I realised it was a photo of Jim with Pan’s People – the shows in-house dancers.
    If that & trying to besmirch John Peel using quotes from an autobiography that has been a top seller for around 8 years now is the best they can come up with then this abject nonsense need to stop now.

  10. About the marriage…

    According to the Daily Mail article:

    “One of the girls who queued up outside his studio was a girl called Shirley Anne Milburn. She and Peel were married in Texas on September 29, 1965.

    Peel was 26 years old. Shirley Anne was just 15.”

    According to the ‘Marriage License Application Indexes’ for Texas in 1966 being “just 15” for females was not uncommon:


    *Wasn’t Shirley and John living with her parents before they married?
    *Didn’t both her parents then die in a short space of time?

  11. httpss://

    Well, if you researched your blogs more thoroughly than a “quick google” there’s the above – not a competition run on his radio show, rather in Sounds magazine.

    But there are also several interviews conducted with John Peel including this from the Sunday Times in 2003

    There is also a sadder, seamier side to Peel that should provide
    obligatory scandal for the book promo. As a 26-year-old DJ in Texas,
    underage girls apparently queued outside his studio to offer him oral
    sex. One, Shirley Anne, became the first Mrs Peel at the age of 15
    (Peel says she lied about her age) and later attempted suicide. This
    episode in his life may raise uncomfortable questions.

    “Well of course I didn’t ask for ID,” he says casually. “The
    interesting thing, seeing as you ask, was most were into heavy
    petting, and penetration was a rarity. But heavy petting was okay
    with me. Some, I don’t know what age they were. A lot of 14-year-old
    girls in Dallas were getting married.”

    Heavy petting with 14 year olds with only the “rare” instances of penetration ok with you?

    I don’t accept that the “it was different times” arguments cuts it.

  12. The line “Jimmy Savile and his alleged dastardly deeds with underage persons of the female persuasion” was enough to make me dubious about this whole article.

    Ew. You’re making it sound like a jolly prank when it was a grown man with power and influence raping children.

  13. Your attempt to diminish the gravity of the allegations against Savile by referring to them as ‘dastardly deeds’ and his alleged victims as ‘children of the female persuasion’ is rather distasteful to put it mildly. You also attempt to make a distinction between willing and unwilling underage sex as if a child is capable of offering informed consent.
    Burchill’s piece stated that Peel’s Top Gear show was ‘white’ and ‘serious’ in the music it played compared to the pop of daytime ’60s radio one. She didn’t say he didn’t play black music. Though if you want any proof of how ‘white’ Peel’s tastes were at the time just ask yourself how many black artists were signed to Dandelion records.
    She quotes Peel from a 1975 Guardian interview referring to his young conquests as ‘customers’. He admits that one girl who gave him a blowjob was 13 though he didn’t know her age at the time.
    You are right that her ‘schoolgirl of the year’ allegations seem to be based on not very much, but this does not detract from the force of her argument that he was a reactionary figure. I don’t agree with everything Burchill writes, who does, but she was bang on the money with Peel.

    • Hey, Softy! Does all the blues, reggae, dub, hip-hop, bhangra, Zimbabwean/Zambian pop + drum & bass Peel played count for nothing? He received turds in Jiffy bags from NF types for playing reggae records in the ’70s. On this point, Burchill has messed up.

  14. “i\’m not saying Peel was perfect. He liked football for a start”

    …you fucktard. it is irresponsible reasoning like that lending itself to the pot that causes this kind of shit.

  15. I knew about the first story but not the second:

    “Murdoch\’s rise to power took off in Sydney in 1964, when he acquired an afternoon tabloid, the Daily Mirror. On March 12, the Mirror front paged a report on “promiscuity” among the pupils of a city high school, which was based on the contents of a young girl\’s diary. The resulting uproar led to the diarist and a fellow student being expelled from school. A job well done.

    That\’s where the story ended as far the Mirror was concerned, though not for those involved. The 13 year old schoolboy named in the diary, Digby Bamford, was found hanging from his backyard clothesline, having committed suicide. This news was “cordoned off” from public consumption. Even rival papers kept the secret, until a disgruntled Murdoch journalist tipped off an independent magazine. The author of the “school sex” diary was examined by a doctor from the Child Welfare Department and found to be a virgin.

    During an interview years later, I reminded Murdoch of this event and his reaction was sharp: “Don\’t you ever make mistakes?” Of course I do. Many. 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 [sic], 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 [sic] committed suicide.

    The News of the World tried to cover itself with the headline, THIS GIRL WAS A VICTIM … NOW SHE IS DEAD, but the coroner stated that Samantha\’s [sic] diary was “pure fantasy…. unconnected with reality”, (like much Murdoch journalism). A Scotland Yard officer accused the paper of being “ludicrous and irresponsible”. As is the Murdoch style, the evidence from the inquest was kept from the readers. Also suppressed was the statement of the forensic pathologist, that in his opinion, Samantha [sic] had died a virgin.”



  16. Colin B Morton you misjudged this one mate. I don’t think it can ever be acceptable to have oral sex with children, something Peel appears to have admitted to.

  17. The Daily Mail prints a lot of nasty rubbish always with inference and insubstantiated half truths paraded as facts and journalism. They are also very good at twisting things, so that something done as a joke, admittedly one that reflects 70’s attitudes, is turned in their feverish imaginings into evidence of a prurient, depraved, life-style. Yes, John had sex in the 1960’s and 70’s, a lot of people did- sometimes with other people. He probably also had the interest in sex that many young people have, and suprisingly partake in when it is available. People do, you know. When they are pop stars or famous, these opportunities present themselves more often ( Peel himself described declining an approach from Germaine Greer, of all people, ” in her Star-Shagging phase” )
    I have a poster on my wall, advertising the John Peel ‘Sound of the 70’s Roadshow ‘ appearance at Hull University,circa 1975. It uses a picture from the photo session of John dressed as a schoolgirl, there is an invitation to join in ‘The Most Attractive Schoolgirl Comp.’ However the fact that this ludicrous picture of John is signed ‘The World’s Most Boring Man -John Peel.’ should tell you enough. Not the picture of an gold lamé wearing, ego fuelled groper, but a funny, self -depreciating man, more interested in the music than himself.

  18. So seemingly to a lot of people commenting on this, being a peadophile is OK, just so long as you like the person in question? Guardian readers are so full of shit.

  19. This is a nice piece of obfuscation by the author, using the Daily Mail as a smokescreen to alleviate Peel of any guilt. However, the fact remains that in 1975 when interviewed by The Guardian Peel said “Girls, used to queue up outside oral sex they were particularly keen on, I remember one of my regular customers, as it were, turned out to be 13, though she looked older.” That makes him a nonce in my book. Anyone who reads Private Eye will know that these allegations have been consistently made against Peel. Did the millionaire Peel sue after the Burchill article in ’99? No.

  20. As Sanelynch says above the main accusation against Peel derives from his own admissions, and further to that is the quote from the same interview saying basically that the girls didn’t do full sex, hence the blowjobs, but if they did he would have been willing and would not have asked questions about their age.
    I’m not sure what it makes him but it definitely takes the shine off his halo, and if he was not an abusive predator like Saville is alleged to be he certainly admits to being a man who took advantage of his position to have sex with young girls, rather like Jonathan King did with boys.
    It must be remembered that Peel, like King, like Jimmy Page, was a young man with a lot of money and influence, and probably a bit crazy from it all. There is also the fact that in some cases the underage people may actually have been enjoying themselves.
    It must be stressed that the Mail’s article is based on rumours that partly derive from his own confessions.

  21. There seems to be real confusion over what is a “paedophile”
    I recommend a dictionary, or even “wikipedia”. “Underage Sex” does not automatically equate to “paedophilia” – unless you’re seriously suggesting that, for instance, a young man in his 20s sleeping with a 15 yr old he believes to be 3 year older due to her physical traits is the same as someone molesting a young child.

    And as far as labelling John this vile and inaccurate term – there has been information on various legendary rock stars for years who slept with underage girls as a matter of course all those years ago. The main difference is Hendrix, Page, Presley etc etc are very valuable commodities to the multi-nationals who finance the media with their advertisements. I challenge anyone to raise this matter without being marginalised and silenced…..

  22. i think things are being slightly blown out of proportion here. The Daily Mail, as others have pointed out is obviously very right wing and always keen to slander people such as Peel who they perceive to be against their Conservative, middle class values. This whole issue of ‘schoolgirls’ should be seen in the context of the times, which in the 60’s/70’s were very different. Clearly it would appear that Savile and obviously Gary Glitter are paedophiles but to then suggest that the likes of Peel are somehow’fellow travellers’ of these two is, in my opinion, wrong. The political correctness/attitudes of today are vastly different to the attitudes of the 60’s/70’s and i believe it is unfair to apply todays mode of thinking retrospectively to that era. Obviously any form of paedophilia/child abuse is abhorrent and should be condemned regardless of who is perpetrating it but lets keep it in perspective, i don’t believe Peel is anything like Savile/Glitter or indeed are any of the other rock star/DJ’s of that era.Incidentally, the Daily Mail is quite a good read if you can see beyond the obvious right wing bias of most of its journalists. I think you have to have an open mind, you can’t just condemn the Mail because it is fashionable to do so in certain quarters. I have a mixture of right wing and left wing views and personally find the Guardian very irritating but at the same time it has some excellent journalism in it.

  23. First of all, fuck the Daily Mail. Secondly, you have just put yourself into the camp of “Some rape is worse than others”.
    Sex obtained from children via coercion, whether the person is famous or not is predatory. In the USA it’s called “statutory rape”. I’ve been a 15 year old girl pretending to be a grown up, luckily I wasn’t surrounded by predatory men. The adult knows better, but in this instance, just chose to do it anyway. Especially if he didn’t say “I don’t ask for id” – that means he asked for id, got it and continued anyway. Many teenage girls lie about their age to go to gigs and clubs etc, this does not give grown men the right to coerce them into sex.

  24. I was directed here by a tweet from former BBC employee John Robb. But I don’t think we can just put up a defensive wall of silence on child abuse by the BBC. I think we need the BBC to have a full and transparent enquiry into child abuse by BBC DJs and pop stars while appearing on the BBC. Things were very bad with the Savile, Glitter, Starr, Everett, Jonathan King sex ring. And we’ve seen accusations against Andy Kershaw and now John Peel. Obviously the Daily Mail has an angle, but for those that care about the BBC and NHS we need an external enquiry into how rampant abuse was by celebrities and others in a position of power and whom as part of their daily responsibilties came into contact with underage girls. Only by having a full enquiry into what went on and what safeguards are now in place to stop media and music personalities abusing their position can we reduce chances that this continues. Also the Music Industry should have a look at itself for promoting abuse of teenage groupies. You only have to listen to lyrics from the Puss Cat Dolls “I wanna have groupies” to understand there is a problem with the Music Industry and the pervasiveness of child sex abuse in the UK. The NSPCC suggests that a quarter of all kids have been sexually abused. Despite what you hear on the BBC, this isn’t all down to Churches and Care Homes!

    • a) Pussycat Dolls are all of legal age.
      b) I doubt anyone interferes with a child/teenager because they’ve heard a pop song about sex.
      c) Do you have credible sources for allegations against Kenny Everett?
      d) What are you insinuating about John Robb?

  25. Peel was a sleazy Savile. I know this form personal experience because he tried to fuck a friend of mine in the late seventies when he was very well aware of her being 14. You know you hear stories of families ortracising victims of abuse rather than the abusers because they don’t want to have their idea of a cosy family being ruined. Just because Peel was a lot of people’s favourite uncle doesn’t mean he wasn’t an uncle ernie. I still hate the Daily Mail and everything it stands for but Peely was fucking sleazy. And no I’m not a troll and no I’m not being more specific because it’s none of your business but he was a rotter. Does no one remember the Stanglers – no more heroes anymore. When you make John Peel a hero it makes some of you excuse behavour in him that you’d condemn in ordinary humans.

  26. Genuinely shocked you took my comment off. I’m not a troll and not making it up. He was happy to shag girls he knew to be underage.

  27. Good to see the “Punk’s Not Red2 Trolls are still aboiut with their colourful use of the word nonce and Guardian bashing, I hate the Mail and the Guardian but you need to look at the key phrase in his own admissions that the Girl turned out to be 13, do we have any proof that she was under age, No,do we know if he continued to receive Oral sex after he found out , No.
    He states I didn’t ask for ID, I want to know how many men on here.. do ask for ID before having Sex or use their eyes to make the decision for them

    Go we know if he was taking the piss when we made these remarks , No
    There seems a lot of people ready to judge based on what one Hitler supporting newspaper tells them, More evidence is needed before we can even start to reach some kind of idea as to whether this is true or not and thats why we should wait for the official findings before we reach for the rope.
    And for the record, Burchill is a vacuous waste of space who will change her position with the wind and I noticed that she chose that Bastion of Womens rights and upholders of sexual morals, The Sun to launch her attack on Peel today. Says it all really.

  28. Peel was a self confessed predator of vulnerable children, just like his BBC Radio 1 colleagues Savile, Denning, King, Ed Stewart etc. All the evidence comes from his own admissions, and I am of the opinion that there was plenty more he was not letting on, much like Savile in his autobiography compared to what has since been revealed.
    Shame on anyone defending his actions and also on the misogynistic attacks on Julie Burchill.

  29. Let’s get some context here. I’m certainly not condoning anything that John Peel may or may not have done but we’re talking about events that happened 50 years ago – an era of free sex and groupies – when teenage girls threw themselves at anyone in the music business. Excesses of the rock stars (the Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc and, yes, even the Beatles) have been widely publicised. John Peel was a young man living in exactly this environment in a country where marriage at 15 was legal. As to a 13 year old, he doesn’t admit that he knew at the time that she was 13, his phrase was “turned out to be 13”. I have been the father of teenage girls and some of their friends, even at 12, 13 or 14, when dressed for a party have easily looked 18 or more. Stunning young women rather than mere schoolgirls. It almost made you think “there but for the grace of God go I”.

    Are we now seeing a stream of people come forward to say that John Peel in any way behaved improperly towards them? No, but the wretched Daily Mail smear campaign, based upon allegations made by the odious Birchill, will have forever damaged the memory and reputation of what I still believe to have been a good, but far from perfect, man.

    Let’s get the drains up on the Beatles next. They’ve never hidden the fact that teenage fans were smuggled up to their hotel rooms. Did they ask for IDs? The 60s were the 60s. Unless it’s known that individuals sought or knowingly engaged in under-age sex, then in my view we should accept that such activities were of their time.

  30. So what if this woman’s allegations that he got her pregnant at 15 turn out to be true?

    The BBC has said it will not name part of its building after Peel if they are.

    Its not so easy to hide behind the “Oh its a Daily Mail agenda” then is it

  31. The part of Julie’s article that is harder to knock down is that John Peel quoted in a newspaper article that he had sex with a 13 year old child.

    Do you think that behaviour is acceptable?

  32. I have come into this debate late so I apologise if what I say has been made already. But surely the difference between any misdemeanors committed by John Peel and those commited by Gary Glitter or (allegedly) by Jimmy Savile is that John Peel spoke openly about his exploits both in interviews and in his autobiography. In the latter he certainly wrote candidly about what he did and why, given the context. He at no time boasted or bragged about the behaviour he, and many others in the ‘rock’ world indulged in. He reflected on that life and those times. His life as a DJ in the US was totally separate from his later time with the BBC… he was even known by a different name in the US!
    I admit bias here. I grew up listening to John Peel from his earliest ‘hippie’ days on the infant Radio 1 through to the thoughtful and sensitive interviews broadcast on Home Truths. John Peel was a truly talented and ‘human’ broadcaster, dedicated above all to music.

  33. Anyway, I think John Peel is good, he likes good music and was a voice for unsigned talent, so he cant be a sex offender and hasn’t done anything wring,where the other guy smokes a big cigar wears jewellery and gold tracksuits (well known sex offender outfit) oh and he host TOTP. There you go? Can I write for you now?

  34. Has anyone really thought why now ? And who is reporting thease things and why ? The right wing press use the dead to use as a smoke screen to distract the public from what the goverment is doing wrong .cutting services for the vunrable and the poor . If thease alleged abusers did thease disgusting things then why wasnt it delt with at the time ? And if people knew it was happening why wasnt the police informed ? Wake up people and dont allow this disgusting witch hunt fool or distract you all from the truth . The goverment is abusing the people .

  35. Hi folks
    Pick your favourite pop star or group,I suspect that if you had the chance to go back stage at some of their gigs you would find many girls/lady’s with the sole intention of “partying” with their idols.I doubt you’d find any of these lady’s/girls wearing their school uniform or a tee shirt saying i,m 15 years old, quite the opposite I think. So, Bring in the pop stars and hey presto you’ve gotten yourself a paedophile (just add water).
    When I was 15 I would have done anything to sleep with Sioux sue , Pauline murry or Debbie harry, even lie about my age!
    To suggest John Peel (may he rest in peace) is in any way similar to the Jimmy Saville saga causes me to loose all faith in our cultures ability to comprehend the bleeding obvious .
    Now I realise how important the subcultures of Britain really are ,something that the alternative pop culture helps to define. Its a counterbalance to the idiotic rhetoric which spews forth from are mainstream media .
    I personally think there’s a difference between a borderline sexual indiscretion where the girls in question were throwing themselves at the person and an all out sexual slaughter of children in hospitals and care homes and then been taken to other people for further abuse. But you dear daily mail reader may disagree.
    With the last comment in mind i do hope the Mayan calendar was right and what comes after us
    is equipped with the ability to THINK.

  36. Just read about Julie Burchill on Wikipedia . Its always interesting to see whos wielding the pen. I wonder if she knew saville!

  37. Just read this from burchill … httpss://

    This bit caught my eye……

    “This is why I am one of the very few old, plain female journalists who consistently refuses to get on my high horse about the modern habit of being surprised by sex tapes. To hear the harpies harrumph, you’d think they’d never looked in a mirror when in their prime and smirked: “Whoah! Get a load of that!” I know I did, to the point of, as a teenager, frequently piping at my reflection before I put on my school uniform: “You’re gonna get it tonight!” If we’d have had cameraphones back then, we’d have been plastering dirty pictures of ourselves all over the show.”

    Now am i wrong in thinking that a 14 year old burchill blowing her idol off and concealing her age is a distinct possibility .

    She also walked out on her son when he was a baby and left her husband to bring him up.Her son wrote a piece in the independent about her basically saying that at 19 he tried to stay with her at her house but she didn’t want him around because he didn’t fit into her life style . He lives near her but doesn’t expect to see her again.
    She married again ,had another child then spilt up from her husband.He won custody of the child probably due to burchill’s cocaine and drinking habits.
    Now put her life next to john peels life, his wife loved him ,his children adored him (tom is a DJ ,has a slot on 6 radio) his listeners mourned his passing and many musicians lost a friend. Is it any wonder that burchill hated him ,he created the one thing in his life that she couldn’t , love.
    After trolling around the internet in search of this sex allegations stuff about peel, I now realise that’s all they are ,allegations, and that’s all they’ll ever be.No one has ever been to the police to place a complaint against john not even with the jimmy saville scandal engulfing us at present. The only person to come forward in any way is Jane Levin, the 15 year old x lover who when in the thirty’s asked john if he would open up a new bar of hers.Then later on sold her story to the paper where burchill was working. Now in 2012 when the saville scandal is in full tilt she pops up again and sells her story to the daily mail,but never goes to the police!
    From what i,ve read about this storm in a tea cup I personally would suggest john has been beaten up by burchill due to her inability the love herself and by Jane Nevin for fast cash.
    Now i,ve sorted that out I can start to enjoy life again . who was it who said “journalists are the lowest forms of life “,maybe not all but most defiantly some.

  38. If a teacher had bragged about banging 13 year olds, married a 15 year old and got another 15 year old girl pregnant, then there would be calls for the keys to be thrown away. Trendy middle class hypocrite DJ’s though appear to evoke more excuses than blame. To slag off a very good journalist Burchill who exposed the creep is disgraceful. I just wonder if Peel did anything bad to his own kids?

  39. Brian , if you bothered to look at the facts , peel married a girl whose parents told peel she was sixteen,the girl who claims to have been made pregnant by peel ,states she never told him her age and that peel used to pick her up from her house! presumably her mum would have opened the door and seen him..Then your opinions i’m afraid end up in the same gutter where miss Burchill resides.
    Brian Just goes to show you how much damage a journalist who goes for shock grabbing truth twisting axe grinding stories can do , she should try to write a story based on facts, but then how would she make a living! . Maybe she should take up pottery.

  40. looks like jane nevin the 15 year old who claims peels got her pregnant has now been on the bbc saying how lovley peel was to her and that in no way did peel abuse her.
    or know her age.
    So i wonder if that esteemed journalist burchill will apologize for the crap she wrote or just slide buck under the rock form whence she was begotten!

  41. The inability of people to believe that their heroes could possbilty have done something is an understandable reaction. Particularly, when confronted with the allegations against John Peel. Those defending him on here or claiming that he was ‘duped’ have,like their victims, been groomed.

    Child sex offenders often:
    1. Dispute the age of their victims.
    2. Claim to have been ‘seduced’ when grown men need to take responsibility fot their actions.
    3. Blame the victim. So Julie Burchill admits to dressing provocatively in her teens to seduce men. Again, it does not mean that a man MUST have sex with an underage girl.

    Whilst some of the allegations appear spurious, he is damned by his own words on many ocassions. So, for me, No mor Peel Lectures, Festive Fifty tapes are in the bin and on any celebratory ‘Peel Day’ I shall take my ears elsewhere.

  42. Even when a supposed victim says john peel was a lovely man and the allegations against him are wrong ,the dung beetle still rolls its ball of crap across the sand .
    Its not me whos saying this allegation is rubbish ,its his alleged victim.
    Tom i think ive met people like you,your the type of person who carnt apologize.Whilst sitting on your thrown on the sea shore with the waves coming in you still demand the tide to abate ,but it just keeps rolling in.
    Clarity of thought has left the building!

    • ‘david’, if Peel married a 15 year old and got another 15 year old pregnant, then he is legally termed a paedophile in his own country, whether he’s your hero or not.
      Being nice to a child to have sex with them is not a sign of him having a good character.

  43. […] – Also on Louder Than War: One and a half rhinoceroses: A defence of John Peel against the Daily Mail (and others). […]

  44. Did John Peel use his “Celebrity status” to use gullible young people, sold on the idea of the Permissive Society, as Unpaid prostitutes? If he did, he’s just behaving like your average media sociopath, with no concern for anyone, once he’d had his kicks. Is that so very “Punk?” Is that so very “Radical?” Sounds like its “Same Old Same Old” to me. And its great that he did discover some good music out there, but that’s what he was paid to do, and its not exactly a difficult job.
    I find it so strange that the Guardian Readers have no problem with the under eighteens being used for sex and then thrown aside, if this is done by somebody that they consider to be “cool”…

  45. Peel was hugely overrated. I don’t understand his heroic status amongst the music media and pop stars.
    Did anyone even listen to his radio shows? The music was such an eclectic mess that he clearly had no taste or musical appreciation. One track could be great and mainstream pop/rock, then he’d follow it with amateur folk music or an Indian playing a sitar! The ‘music’ was so bad and obscure I’m fairly sure he did no research and was playing records he, and no one else, had ever heard before – he probably got a YTS kid to go to a nearby record shop and grab anything.

    As for Peel being a paedo – well he clearly liked young girls – his 15 year old wife was obviously even younger before marriage and him claiming not to know her DoB is highly unlikely. The fact she later attempted suicide suggests she wasn’t mentally well or happy about her situation with Peel.
    But, I suppose, if a young female no longer looks like a child, he and many others in the music business probably didn’t do anything many adults wouldn’t have done if they were in the same esteemed position.


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