Detectives were today questioning Freddie Starr over allegations dating back to his television heyday that he took advantage of his celebrity status to impose his peculiar brand of humour on unsuspecting members of the public. Since the story broke, several hundred people have come forward alleging that they did not find the 1980s television performer funny.
‘In 1985 I was an impressionable 17-year-old living with my parents,’ said Sandra from Buckinghamshire, who remains plagued by feelings of guilt and anger at what she was subjected to. ‘I remember we were all sat round the television about half past seven one night when the show started. He began to goose step back and forth in a Nazi uniform. It was grotesque, but the more he did it, the more the studio audience laughed so he just kept on and on. My parents and my friend Josie from next door seemed amused but I just sat there feeling embarrassed. I knew then that something wasn’t right.’
Police investigators are said to be pursuing a number of lines of inquiry, including questioning TV bosses and production staff who worked on Starr’s show, as well as writers who are alleged to who have procured material for him. One writer who wished to remain anonymous said that the lack of humour in Starr’s performances was an ‘open secret’, yet bosses refused to act upon concerns at the time for fear of damaging ratings and scaring away advertisers.
‘Starr was a predatory performer, and he knew what he was doing was wrong,’ said Detective Stubbing who is leading the investigation for the Met Police. ‘But his victims were in a difficult position, and in the face of some of these jokes it’s not surprising that their natural instinct was to remain silent and pretend it hadn’t happened. The question that the television companies need to answer is how was he allowed to get away with this for so long.’
Freddie Starr’s agent today confirmed that his client would ‘fight these allegations all the way and would not allow them to tarnish his reputation as a respected alleged sex offender.’