George Entwistle told a committee of MPs today that he was surprised the Newsnight investigation into Savile had been stopped by programme editor Peter Rippon, adding: “further investigation would have been appropriate”.

Appearing before the Commons culture, media and sport select committee to answer questions on the BBC’s handling of the Savile scandal, he said: “I came away from the Panorama firmly of the view that that investigation … should have been allowed to continue,” Entwistle said, referring to last night’s Panorama documentary.

“On the basis of what I now know I am surprised nothing further happened with it,” he added. “There was clearly some good journalistic material here. Even if there was not the prospect of an immediate transmission further investigation would have been appropriate.”

Entwistle acknowledged that there had been a “significant breakdown in communication” between Rippon and the Newsnight producer and reporter behind the investigation, Meirion Jones and Liz MacKean reports The Guardian.

Both Jones and MacKean featured in Monday’s Panorama documentary talking about the circumstances in which their investigation into the Savile sex abuse allegations was dropped and were critical of the BBC’s decision not to broadcast the report.

Entwistle said it was “a matter of regret and embarrassment” that there were factual inaccuracies in a blog by Rippon, published on 2 October, explaining why he dropped the Savile investigation in early December 2011.

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