The Accused: National Treasures on Trial: Cliff Richard, Neil Fox and Paul Gambaccini documentary explained

The Accused follows the story of three showbiz personalities - Paul Gambaccini, Sir Cliff Richard and Neil Fox - who were accused of sexual offences in the wake of Operation Yewtree

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A new Channel 4 documentary is lifting the lid on some of those who were accused of sexual offences during the Operation Yewtree investigation.

The show will centre on three prominent figures of the era - Paul Gambaccini, Sir Cliff Richard and Neil Fox - who were investigated by police as part of and in the wake of Operation Yewtree and the revelations of Jimmy Savile’s years of abuse.

All three were eventually dropped from the investigation, or were found not guilty, however the repercussions on their careers continued.

Here’s everything you need to know about the documentary and their stories.

Paul Gambaccini, Sir Cliff Richard and Neil Fox all feature in Channel 4’s The Accused: National Treasures on Trial (Credit: Channel 4)Paul Gambaccini, Sir Cliff Richard and Neil Fox all feature in Channel 4’s The Accused: National Treasures on Trial (Credit: Channel 4)
Paul Gambaccini, Sir Cliff Richard and Neil Fox all feature in Channel 4’s The Accused: National Treasures on Trial (Credit: Channel 4)

What is The Accused: National Treasures on Trial about?

The documentary has been fimed 10 years after police began investigating prominent television and media figures over historical sexual crimes.

The investigation was initally launched against former DJ and Top Of The Pops presenter Jimmy Savile, who was found to be one of Britain’ most prolific sex offenders.

Following the revelations about Savile and his crimes, other famous people from the era were also investigated, including radio and television presenter Paul Gambaccini, chart-topping singer Sir Cliff Richard and broadcaster Neil Fox.

The documentary will feature exclusive interviews with the three men as they reflect on the way in which the investigation changes their lives.

Police and journalists who championed the Operation Yewtree investigation will also be interviewed to provide background on the situation.

What happened to Paul Gambaccini?

Paul Gambaccini was a well-known radio and television presenter who hosted shows on Radio 1 over more than 16 years.

He was first placed under investigation by police and arrested on suspicion of historical sexual offences on 1 November 2013.

Mr Gambaccini was released on bail, with his spokesman telling the media that he denied all allegations.

On 14 October 2013, it was announced that Mr Gambaccini was no longer under investigation and would not be charged.

The incident led to Mr Gambaccini giving evidence to a House of Common Home Affairs Select Committee in which he said the investigation had turned him into “fly paper” to encourage others to speak up.

He was also reported by the BBC to have believed that his bail was extended repeatedly as other high-profile celebrities were being found guilty of offences and officers did not want the optics to be seen that a Radio 1 DJ was found not guilty.

As a result of the bail situation, he campaigned for a 28-day bail limit to be put in place, which then-Home Secretary Theresa May eventually signed off on.

He also sued the Metropolitan Police for £200,000 citing a loss of earnings while the investigation was underway.

What happened to Sir Cliff Richard?

In 2014, Sir Cliff Richard’s property was infamously raided live on BBC News following a complaint made to the Operation Yewtree team.

The raid on ther Berkshire property did not result in an arrest and Sir Cliff denied any allegations made against him.

He was vocally critical of the BBC’s coverage of the raid, with Sir Cliff later suing the broadcasting corporation alongside South Yorkshire Police.

While South Yorkshire Police made a £400,000 settlement for the the case, Sir Cliff took the BBC to court, seeking a judgement at the High Court, despite the broadcaster making a public apology for the coverage.

The singer was said to seeking “very substantial” damages in the case, describing the footage caught live by the news channel as “shocking and upsetting”.

On 18 April 2018, Sir Cliff won his case against the BBC, with the BBC confirming that they would not be appealing the decision.

The BBC repeated its public apology and Sir Cliff won around £400,000 in damages, with The Guardian reported that the BBC was forced to fork out around £1.9million to cover legal fees and damages by the end of the case.

What happened to Neil Fox?

Neil Fox is a well-known radio and television presenter, who would go on to gain further fame by appearing as a judge on Pop Idol alongside Pete Waterman and Nicky Chapman in the 2000s.

He was arrested on suspicion of historical public offences on 30 September 2014, which came after allegations were made by two seperate women.

Despite both Mr Gambaccini and Sir Cliff’s allegations being part of Operation Yewtree, Mr Fox’s arrest was not connected to the investigation.

He was initally released on bail, however further arrested after three more women made allegations against the presenter.

Mr Fox was once again released on bail before being arrested a few days later in relation to an allegation made by another women.

Eventually, he was charged with nine counts of sexual offences against six seperate women, three of which were under the age of 16 at the time. The incident were alleged to have taken place between 1991 and 2014.

Mr Fox pleaded not guilty to all counts, before pleading guilty to six additional charges.

Before the beginning of his trial on 5 November 2015, prosecutors cleared him of five of the charges.

Eventually he was found not guilty on all charges at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court trial on 14 December 2015.

Judge Howard Riddle said during the ruling: “We heard evidence of about 10 allegations from six women. We believed each of the complainants. The question we must ask is whether we are sure of the facts alleged, sure of the context in which they occurred and sure that they amount to criminal offences.”

In response to the trial, Mr Fox said: “This case has once again raised concerns about how high-profile cases such as this have been investigated by the CPS.”

When is The Accused: National Treasures on Trial on?

The Channel 4 documentary will air on the channel at 9pm on 24 August.

The show will be available to watch on catch-up service All4 shortly after it has aired live.

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