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Malcolm Muggeridge was a serial groper who 'caused much hurt to those close to him', niece admits

Malcolm Muggeridge was a serial groper who 'caused much hurt to those close to him', niece admits
The former deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph was 'anything but a saint in his first sixty years', says his niece, but his conversion to Christianity was 'genuinely life changing'

By Ben Farmer
February 24, 2015

Malcolm Muggeridge, the journalist and renowned broadcaster, had serious flaws and "caused much hurt to those close to him", his niece has said, after allegations he was a "serially incontinent groper" during his time at the BBC.

The former deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph was "anything but a saint in his first sixty years" but she said his well-publicised conversion to Christianity had been genuinely life changing.

Sally Muggeridge, in a letter to the Telegraph, said the transformation had seen him adopt a more austere lifestyle and give up meat, sex, smoking and drinking.

Allegations about a host of esteemed and now dead BBC broadcasters have been disclosed in a new book about the corporation during the 1970s and 1980s.

Senior male broadcasters and executives "abused their position" with women and "the great Huw Wheldon and the apparently saintly Malcolm Muggeridge both groped incontinently", the Guardian reported last week.

His niece, who is the international president of the Malcolm Muggeridge Society, says he was reportedly nicknamed "The Pouncer" within the BBC and was also described as "a man fully deserving of the acronym NSIT -- not safe in taxis".

She said the society had "never sought to paint Muggeridge other than a man with very great gifts but also some serious flaws. The latter caused much hurt to those close to him, particularly his wife, my aunt Kitty."

It was therefore "all the more remarkable, perhaps, that Muggeridge was able to effect such a life-changing transition in his sixties to born-again Christian, adopting a much more spartan lifestyle: not only giving up sex, smoking and drinking but also becoming a vegetarian."

She said, "I knew him as a devout man of faith with whom I enjoyed long country walks near his home in Robertsbridge, deep in conversation about religious matters. Sexual impropriety was neither feared nor encountered."

The new book, Pinkoes and Traitors: The BBC and the nation 1974-1987, also alleges that an unnamed man "in a position of authority," would proposition women for spanking. A group of women complained about his actions and he was eventually moved out of the way to a job in America with an "expensive apartment" in New York.

According to the author, Jean Seaton, a media professor and BBC historian, women working at the BBC reserved a particular dislike for presenters on the Today programme, who were described as "misogynist" and "patronising".

One woman said that Robin Day, the renowned political interviewer, asked Joan Bakewell if men "stare at your breasts" during interviews.


I knew Malcolm and Kitty Muggeridge in the late 60s when I met him at an Anglican Retreat Center near Robertsbridge in Sussex. It was at the time of the Czech invasion by the Soviets and a group of young Czech Christians had fled the country to start new lives in England. When we met there was an instant connection. He later invited me to his home where I met Kitty, his wife. They took me - a young man without family who had left his home country of New Zealand to study abroad - under their wing. Over the following two years, I was repeatedly invited to their country home away from the temptations of London. They cared for me as their son during that time. All their children had long since grown and gone. I did a television show with Malcolm, Why Christianity with people like A.J. Ayers fulminating against Christianity. We bonded further.

After his conversion, of course, Muggs, as he was affectionately known, was totally faithful to his wife Kitty (but they previously had what might be described as an open marriage for many years.) She had a child by another man and Muggs himself was certainly promiscuous in his unregenerate years. Their lives were changed through their encounter with Christ. They touched neither wine nor meat, and did not smoke. Both chose to live celibately, faithfully reading the Book of Common Prayer each day.

This scurrilous attempt to blacken Muggeridge because of recent revelations of celebrity Brits like Jimmy Saville and Stuart Hall, both sexual perverts and pedophiles, is outrageous both to the Muggeridge legacy as a Christian who was once described by the Rev. John Stott as a "prophet" and to the contribution he made to the Christian cause at a time when England was fast heading towards modernity and paganism.They will forget that St Mugg was a groper when he was one of them, and stopped when he was one of us!! He was, then and now, a light in the darkness. I loved them both and treasure their memory.

David W. Virtue DD

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