Backlash at Paul Daniels's 'schoolgirl kiss' claim: Savile documentary maker brands magician a 'disgrace'
01:45 GMT, 26 December 2012
Paul Daniels was described as a 'disgrace' yesterday after his admission that he once kissed a schoolgirl who could have been under age.
The 74-year-old magician attracted widespread criticism after publishing an article on his internet blog in which he also questioned the validity of claims made by alleged victims of the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal.
Daniels went on to say that he could not recall all of his past lovers and he hoped they had all been over the age of consent.
Under fire: Magician Paul Daniels on stage with his wife Debbie McGee
His comments angered children's charities, including the NSPCC, which said: 'Victims often find it very difficult to speak out and may therefore not report offences for years or even decades.'
And Apprentice host Lord Sugar yesterday wrote on Twitter: 'Pathetic attempt by Paul Daniels to deflect fact that he may get arrested soon over alleged schoolgirl kissing. Hmm, see if it works.'
Mark Williams Thomas, a former child protection officer who was behind an ITV documentary which exposed Savile as a paedophile, said: 'For someone like Paul Daniels to come out and belittle victims' evidence that's being given against Jimmy Savile is a disgrace.
'He should be supporting these people. The bottom line is they are children who have been abused by adults. It doesn't matter how long ago it was.'
In one passage, he confessed he had a 'passionate' encounter with a schoolgirl hitch-hiker after his first season as a magician in 1969.
In his blog, Daniels wrote of kissing the 'slightly tiddly' girl before realising she was underage. He went on: 'Thank God it didn't get TOO passionate because something she said sent a shiver down my spine….. Another question and she said she was still at school.'
Revelations: Magician Paul Daniels, pictured in 1977, has admitted he can't remember all of his former lovers
Daniels sought to defend his comments by posting a number of supportive messages from fans on to his Twitter site.
One, by a fan named Steve McGill, read: 'I think it's the most accurate & honest account of life in showbiz & fame in the 70s. I think it's great you wrote this.'
Another wrote: 'How about giving Paul Daniels a break. The blog was not scandalous, just honest. How about looking at some rock stars'
Daniels removed the blog from his website shortly before the scandal broke on Monday. Yesterday his Twitter posting made no mention of the furore, writing only: 'Merry Christmas everybody. Can't answer cos not on line but much love and happiness to you all.'
Daniels is married to former stage assistant Debbie McGee, 54. He has three sons from his first marriage.
In the offending article, he said it was impossible to tell the age of his 'groupies' in the Seventies because they wore 'super-short mini skirts' and 'teetering high heels'.
Writing about 'what it was like back then', he said comedians, impressionists and magicians were all routinely offered sex by girls, adding: 'I have been wondering if all of [Savile's] accusers are for real.'
He said: 'Did I have such a life Yes. I would be lying if I said I didn't. Were they all over 16 OMG, I hope so.'
Police are investigating 450 abuse allegations against Savile, who died last year aged 84. But Daniels said he doubted whether all of Savile's accusers were telling the truth saying: 'For over 400 of them to keep quiet for 40 years seems strange.'