Corries Maureen Lipman says damning TV chat with Savile was buried by BBC

Maureen Lipman ‘can’t go on’ after a long day filming Corrie

The BBC covered up a Jimmy Savile interview in which the monster was asked about having “underage girls” in his caravan, Dame Maureen Lipman claims.

The actress says an interview by late talk show host Mavis Nicholson – in which she grilled the pervert about his sordid life – was never aired.

She also accused Anthony Hopkins of becoming “boring”, called Succession star Brian Cox a “dreadful” actor and slammed “dumb” Saturday theatregoers.

Savile appeared alongside Lipman on a daytime talk show with Nicholson, who hosted BBC radio and television shows from the 1970s until the 1990s.

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She said that Savile put his hand inside the journalist’s clothing backstage – before Nicholson questioned him about his sexual behaviour on camera.

She said: “Mavis was the only person who got Jimmy Savile…

“She was in the hospitality room with him and she had this back-winged dress thing on and he slid his hand up.

“And she said to him, ‘Don’t you ever do that to me. Don’t you ever do that to any woman’.

“They destroyed this, the BBC…He started going on about how he does everything for God and for Jesus and all that, and she said to him, ‘And James, is ­it for Jesus that you have these underage girls in your caravan?’

“And after the show he complained bitterly about her and had it destroyed.”

Nicholson died last year aged 91 and it is unclear whether Lipman, 77, knows for sure that the tape was destroyed.

Savile’s crimes only came to light after he died in 2011 at the age of 84.

The BBC commissioned a thorough independent review of their culture and practices led by Dame Janet Smith. It declined to comment on Dame Maureen’s accusation.

She also spoke about the early days of her career, when she shared the stage with Sir Anthony Hopkins, 85, who quit drinking 47 years ago after struggling with addiction.

She said: “We drank the whole time, we drank before the show, we drank during the show.

“We drank after the show. I mean Tony Hopkins, how he did what he did. He was legless.

“He is very funny when he’s legless…he’s boring now.”

Of modern audiences, the outspoken star went on: “We don’t like Saturday nights in the theatre, that is when people think they should go to the theatre.

“There is always a dumb audience on a Saturday.”

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Despite this, she said her recent West End play Rose is the “best thing I’ve done”, noting: “It is the history of Jewish people in the 20th century and it ­­is funny and tragic. It nearly killed me as it was two hours of me on a bench and four hours long. I really want to take it to America because there are not many people like me here but over there, there are a lot.

“I wanna be a part of it, New York, New York. I have never done a play in New York.”

Talking to Gyles Brandreth on stage, she also told how she learnt stagecraft with flatmate Lesley Joseph, as well as Brian Cox, when she started out.

She said: “My parents found me digs from The Jewish Chronicle and Lesley Joseph ­and I shared a flat in London.

“Brian Cox, the sainted one, was in the same year. Even then he thought he was a genius…

“I thought he was dreadful and he has done very well for himself now.”

While Lipman has also appeared in Coronation Street, The Pianist and Educating Rita, ­she is perhaps best known for making adverts for BT.

She added: “When I die ­I’ll be remembered for Beattie. Do I mind? Yeah, I appreciate that it was great for what it was. It gave BT a better image.”

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