Stuart Hall arrested on sex charges

Former It’s a Knockout presenter Stuart Hall has been charged by police investigating alleged abuse of underage girls. The 82 year-old, who still works as a sports broadcaster, was charged with three sexual offences dating back to the 70s and 80s.

The dawn arrest at Hall’s home in Wilmslow sent shock-waves through the BBC where Hall was a much-loved figure and a regular member of the Radio Five football reporting team. He was awarded an OBE in 2012.

Police pointed out that Hall’s arrest was unconnected to the Operation Yewtree investigation launched in the wake of revelations about the activities of Jimmy Savile. John Dilworth from the Crown Prosecution Service said: "Following investigations by Lancashire Police into allegations of sexual assault by Stuart Hall, I have reviewed all the evidence and authorised them to charge him with three counts of indecent assault." One of the alleged victims was said to be aged eight or nine years old. Another was 13 and the third 16 or 17.

Broadcast between 1972 and 1988, It’s A Knockout, in which teams from around Britain competed to complete outlandish games, usually involving vats of mud or water cannons, was one of the most popular shows on British television in its heyday. The uncontrollable mirth of presenter Hall was one of its key ingredients, regularly mimicked by TV impressionists.

Hall has worked on and off for the BBC for more than 50 years after starting out on sports programmes in the late 50s. He also worked for ITV’s regional news programme Granada Reports from 1990.

Hall has been released on bail and will appear before magistrates in Preston on January 7. In the interim he will not be working for Radio Five. A BBC spokesperson said: "In light of the very serious nature of these charges, Stuart Hall will not be working at the BBC while the police continue with their inquiries."

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