17th June 2013
This is the update that I never in my worst
nightmares thought that I would have to make. British readers will know exactly what I am talking
about, but those overseas may be less well informed regarding a recent
scandal that has hit the pages of our newspapers, news services and
wider media. BBC It's A Knockout presenter Stuart Hall was
arrested last December and charged regarding historical sex offences
committed between 1967 and 1986 which had been reported in the wake of
the Jimmy Savile investigation. Hall entered a guilty plea regarding fourteen offences, and
was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Monday 17th June.
Visitors to JSFnetGB will have noticed that,
despite occasional updates, the site has been relatively quiet since
the end of last year, and this case is the reason. Like many who are
nostalgic for the time of our childhoods, I was convinced that the
charges brought against Stuart Hall were some awful misunderstanding,
and that he would prove himself innocent. Suddenly, we are faced with
a shocking truth - that one of the greatest heroes of British
broadcasting was, behind the scenes, a very different personality,
capable of terrible, perverse things.
I have gone through the whole site (all
700 pages) and evaluated each reference to Stuart Hall. As a result,
references here are now plain and factual - he cannot be airbrushed
from JSF history, but his contribution is now sorely put into
perspective with these recent developments. For a short while I
wondered if the site could possibly continue - in Britain, It's A
Knockout is surely scarred forever thanks to Stuart Hall's crimes
and deceitful actions - but eventually, I came to the conclusion that
although Hall was a large part of the success of the series in the UK,
there is so much more to it, both domestically and
internationally that deserves to be recorded and celebrated. JSFnetGB
will continue to be a vessel for that celebration, even though today
it seems a tough ask to see beyond the current scandal, which has seen
one of my greatest childhood idols revealed as a sick, twisted man who
abused his celebrity for sexual gratification. He has conducted himself reprehensibly.
JSFnetGB is a fan endeavour, produced as a fun diversion
from the pressures of the real world, and yet now the people who put
many thousands of hours into the research and production of the site
have found the real world intruding incongruously on their innocent
pastime. The Stuart Hall hero worship has ended with a sudden, awful
jolt, and aside from our reporting the verdict and sentence to be
delivered at his June trial, JSFnetGB will refocus itself on
championing what is special about It's A Knockout and Jeux
Sans Frontières, in Britain, across Europe, and worldwide. The
behaviour of one man cannot be allowed to ruin the
series' legacy, and we are determined not to let it do so.
26th July 2013
Stuart Hall's sentence was doubled on July 26th to 30
months by the Court of Appeal following complaints, received at the
Attorney General's office, that the original sentence was unduly lenient.
Hall, 83, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, kept his head bowed as
he listened to proceedings via video link from HMP Preston and showed no
reaction as the decision was announced. His counsel said that Hall was not
in particularly robust health and there was the risk that he would die in
prison. The court was told that he had an irregular heartbeat which gave
him an increased risk of a stroke, sinusitis and other infirmities of
creeping old age.
Hall's prison report made it clear that custody was proving
to be a chastening experience for him, although he was adjusting and had
moved from contemplating suicide - which he had promised his family not to
do - to a state of mind where he believed he would have a life after
release but of a significantly different kind than before.
6th November 2013
As if this story couldn't get worse, Stuart Hall has now
been charged with 16 additional offences - 15 of rape and one of indecent
assault against two girls who were aged less than 17 at the time. Hall is
due to appear at Preston Magistrates' Court on 29th November 2013 to
answer these charges.
Unsurprisingly, Stuart Hall's Order of the British Empire
(OBE) award was annulled in October 2013.
24th May 2014
Stuart Hall was today sentenced to an additional two years
and six months in prison, having been found guilty of two counts of
indecent assault. He had on the 16th May been cleared of 15 counts of rape
and four counts of indecent assault.
16th December 2015
Stuart Hall was today released from prison having served
half of his sentence. The Ministry of Justice said: "Offenders
automatically released on licence at the halfway point of their sentence
are subject to strict controls. If they fail to comply with these
conditions or their behaviour indicates it is no longer safe for them to
remain in the community, they can be immediately returned to prison."