The director-general of the BBC, George Entwistle, says he "deeply regrets" the experiences of the women who allege that the late Sir Jimmy Savile sexually abused them.
Speaking to the Today programme, Mr Entwistle said: "I would like to apologise to each and every one of them for what they have had to endure here."
Responding to calls for an internal inquiry, he said: "We need a comprehensive examination of what went on.
"At the heart of what went on are a series of criminal allegations about the behaviour of Sir Jimmy Savile. The way to deal with those is to make sure the police are allowed to make the examinations and inquiries they need to make.
"It's critically important that we start by putting the BBC at the disposal of the police, which is what I did last week."
He says the investigation must be done in two phases. The first phase is the police inquiry. This would be followed by the BBC taking a "proper look" on the broader question of "what was going on and whether anyone that knew him, knew anything".
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