The BBC is struggling to contain a crisis sparked by allegations of serial sexual abuse against the late Jimmy Savile, a longtime children's television host.

Dozens of women have come forward to say that Savile, who died a year ago at age 84, sexually assaulted them when they were as young as 13. London's Metropolitan Police says it has identified 40 potential victims.

The publicly funded broadcaster is facing questions about its failure to stop Savile's predatory behavior.

BBC Director-General George Entwistle said late Friday that the broadcaster would hold an inquiry into the "culture and practices of the BBC during the years Jimmy Savile worked here" in the 1970s and 1980s.

He said the BBC would also investigate why a report on Savile by its Newsnight program was dropped at the last minute in December.

Several women have claimed Saville had abused them as children, with the alleged abuse in some instances taking place on BBC property.

The abuse claims were reported last week by the ITV documentary series Exposure, leading to an initial police inquiry.