|THE SUNDAY EXPRESS - HOME AFFAIRS EDITOR -TED JEORY|
BBC's Bergerac filmed at notorious Jersey home where abused children suffered
ABUSED CHILDREN were still living at Jersey’s most notorious care home when the BBC began filming its Bergerac detective series there in the Eighties, the Sunday Express has established.
It had previously been thought the BBC filmed there only after the home closed in 1986, but victims and production figures have told the Sunday Express that crew and cast, including star John Nettles who played
Detective Sergeant Jim Bergerac, were there at least a year earlier.
The BBC said that despite “extensive searches” of its records, it was unable to confirm the finding.
However, footage on YouTube from the fourth series of Bergerac, which aired in 1985, shows the detective driving into the grounds of the home, then walking through the main door.
About a dozen of the home’s most vulnerable children were still at the site in the more remote east of the island.
Sources on the island said the BBC, whose show ran for a decade from 1981, had demanded to use the home because production bosses had become increasingly frustrated at distractions and logistical problems at their previous urban location.
By 1985, the children had been moved into the Aviemore wing, a smaller annexe to the main home.
A production source said an interconnecting corridor was locked during the regular two-week filming jobs, but star-struck young teenagers were free to mingle with the cast in the grounds and at catering trailers.
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by any of the BBC crew and cast while at Haut de la Garenne, and allegations of rapes and beatings there only surfaced much later.
However, the irony of the BBC filming a detective series at a home where so many complaints of abuse had been ignored by police—some allegations even concerned ex-officers—has not been lost on the former residents.
And that the States of Jersey government cashed in on the tourism generated from Bergerac while failing in a duty of care to the children makes the decision doubly wrong in the eyes of victims.
One man who was at Haut de la Garenne at the time wept as he told the Sunday Express last week how he begged the police in the Eighties to investigate the home’s staff.
“They didn’t want to know,” he said. “No one listened to us.”
He added: “We all loved it when Bergerac was there. I even met John Nettles, but looking back it was completely inappropriate of the BBC to be there.
“It shows the complete lack of responsibility that the States of Jersey had for us kids in their care.