Jimmy Savile is the man who many of us grew up with on the radio and TV, as well as a champion for charities, but after allegations aplenty while he was alive, it was when he died that it all came out in the wash as to just how far his paedophile behaviour had gone. One line that stays with me from Louis Theroux‘s new documentary is about how Savile abused girls who were paralysed from the waist down. You can imagine how that played out, but what sort of sick mind goes that far.
You could say that in Savile’s defence, he was never tried nor convicted while he was alive, so there’s only the allegations to go on, but there were a hell of a lot of allegations – leading to his family moving his burial plot and demolishing his elaborate gravestone, so he is now in an unmarked grave, and he had a long-term association with another former radio DJ, Ray Teret, who was convicted in 2014 of rape and indecent assault against children under 18, leading to a 25 year prison term. All being well, he will die in prison, hopefully sooner rather than later with someone caving his head in.
Sorry, that’s an awful thing to say… I mean, ending a sentence with the word ‘in’, a preposition! Tsk! Tsk!
This documentary shows Louis speaking to a number of his friends and victims, trying to understand what made the paedo tick.
One victim talks about him sticking his tongue down her throat, and he stank of cigars, and how if she “fellated” him, he would offer to take her to London to appear on his 1973 programme, Clunk Click. What a shame that was never the sound of a prison cell door closing behind him. Meanwhile, his ex-personal assistant, Janet Cope, tells of things he got away with, such as making up the number of marathons he ran, and how he was, in my words, an emotionless bastard.
There’s also the things Savile said when he was alive. Clips from the original documentary include Louis asking him how he was feeling, to which Savile replied, “Regularly”. It also features footage that took place subsequently, during which Louis always kept filming as he continued to meet up with Savile, for a follow-up documentary and DVD promotion.
Yes, Savile showed himself up to be sleazy, but back then, he would’ve just come across as a relic of the ’70s. For Louis to have publically named-and-shamed Savile as a paedophile at the time, it could’ve ended his career, until Savile’s death, of course.
It’s weird to look back at life knowing what we know now. Like a lot of children of the ’80s, I grew up watching Jim’ll Fix It on a weekly basis, thoroughly enjoying it. His face also adorned everything relating to the Stoke Mandeville Hospital charity, for which we did some work on while I was at school.
Not everyone believes everything of which Savile was accused, and there’s an interesting question posed by one victim who asks Louis if he felt like he was mentally groomed, since he was hoodwinked by Savile.
This documentary does feel a bit directionless, without any real conclusion, but then there are no easy answers as, in a way, we all now have our answers – we just don’t like them.
Note that wWhen some of the most grim details are being given, the background music ramps up the ‘evil’ tone… when that’s completely unnecessary, as the words do the talking perfectly well. The way it’s been done here just treats the audience like they’re daft.
Louis Theroux: Savile isn’t yet scheduled for a DVD release (although many other of his documentaries already are), but if you missed this one, you can watch it on BBC iPlayer, up until November 1st, and click on the top image for the full-size version.
Writer/Presenter: Louis Theroux
Producer: Arthur Cary
Executive Producer: Aysha Rafaele