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Cass Jones, Sandra Laville – Guardian.co.uk Dec 6, 2012

The veteran BBC commentator Stuart Hall has been charged with three counts of indecent assault which date back to the 1970s and 1980s.

The former It’s A Knockout presenter, 82, was arrested on Wednesday morning and later that day charged with sex offences.

It is alleged he abused three girls aged between eight and 17 years between 1974 and 1984, according to the Crown Prosecution Service. Hall was released without charge on an allegation of rape and a further allegation of indecent assault but bailed to appear before magistrates on the other charges in Preston on 7 January 2013.

John Dilworth, head of the CPS’s north-west complex casework unit, said: “Following investigations into allegations of sexual assault by Stuart Hall I have reviewed all the evidence that they have gathered and have authorised Lancashire police to charge him with three counts of indecent assault.

“The charges are that between 1 September 1974 and 31 December 1974 he indecently assaulted a woman who was then aged 16 or 17 years, that between 1 January 1983 and 31 December 1983 he indecently assaulted a girl then aged 8 or 9 years, and that between 1 July 1984 and 27 September 1984 he indecently assaulted a girl then aged 13 years. He has been bailed to appear at Preston magistrates court on 7 January 2013.

“This decision is made in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors and I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.”

Hall was arrested by Lancashire police at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire at around 8am on Wednesday morning and taken to a local police station for questioning.

Two marked police vehicles remained on the driveway of his home for several hours and one uniformed officer left carrying two bin bags.

The allegations against Hall are not part of Operation Yewtree, the Metropolitan police’s investigation into Jimmy Savile and other individuals, it is understood.

A spokesman for the Lancashire force said: “The allegations are historic. We are not prepared to discuss further.

“We take all allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously.

“We would encourage people with any information about sexual abuse or who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge it will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity.”

Hall is one of the BBC’s longest-serving commentators. He still appears on Radio 5 Live’s Sport’s Report on Saturday afternoons, and received an OBE in the last New Year honours list.

When Hall received his OBE, he said he was overjoyed.

“It’s a great surprise, totally unexpected. I’m grateful,” he said. “I’ve always regarded myself as a second-rate provincial hack. Well, that was yesterday. Now I’ve got the OBE I’m still a provincial second-rate hack but I’m a good one.

“It’s a recognition that you’ve put something in. I’ve worked for charity now for the last 52 years, I’ve raised millions of pounds and it’s a little thank you. I feel, in my 82nd year, a little glow of pleasure.”

Hall made his name nationally as a presenter of It’s a Knockout in the 1970s and 1980s, and its European equivalent Jeux sans Frontières.

He has worked on a number of programmes from his base in the north west, including Look North, North West Tonight and Granada Reports.

The BBC said Hall would not be working at the corporation while police continue their investigation into the allegations.