The Untold Story of Jimmy Savile

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The Untold Story of Jimmy Savile

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Cassondra Feltus
The crimes committed by this deceased British TV personality will shock you to your core. For this video, we'll be looking at the horrific crimes of one of Britain's most beloved, and now disgraced, media personalities. Our video includes his Career in Radio & Television, Public Image & Celebrity, Investigations, and more!
Transcript

The Untold Story of Jimmy Savile


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re discussing The Untold Story of Jimmy Savile.

For this video, we’ll be looking at the horrific crimes of one of Britain’s most beloved, and now disgraced, media personalities.

Have you watched Netflix’s docuseries “Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story”? What’s your reaction? Let us know in the comments.


Career in Radio & Television


In 1958, Leeds native Jimmy Savile began his music career as a DJ at Radio Luxembourg. On January 1, 1964, BBC premiered the first episode of “Top of the Pops,” one of their most watched programs. Jimmy Savile hosted the episode, and would go on to essentially be the face of the show through July 2006. Savile would go on to host and present in other BBC shows like Tyne Tees Television’s “Young at Heart,” and “Clunk-Click.”

In May 1975, Savile got his own show on BBC called “Jim’ll Fix It.” Children would write letters to the show asking if Jim would “fix it” so they could make their dreams a reality, like driving James Bond’s car. BBC received thousands of letters every week, and soon, millions of viewers were tuning in. This made Savile a childhood hero to many, and something like a Santa Claus with all the wish granting. After Savile granted their wish, the kids would receive a coveted medal saying “Jim Fixed It For Me.”

Charity Fundraising & Volunteer Work


Savile quickly became a household name, and he used that recognition to regularly raise money for charities in the UK. In 1968, after years of volunteering and fundraising at Leeds General Infirmary, Savile asked to become a porter. It was an odd request, but the hospital took him up on the offer, and he happily transported patients between wards. In 1981, he established the Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust, and the Leeds-based Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust three years later.

Savile was appointed as a fundraiser for Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1980, and over three years, he raised millions for the hospital’s new National Spinal Injuries Center. In 1987, he was appointed to a management board for the psychiatric hospital Broadmoor - despite having no professional medical experience. The following year, he was made chair of a task force overseeing management. Shockingly, he was given his own rooms and set of keys, plus the authority to make management decisions. Savile had unrestricted access to the entire hospital.

Public Image & Celebrity


Being a regular face on television through his hosting gigs and charity work, Jimmy Savile appeared to be a man of the people. His working class background added to his likability, and he charmed his way into the hearts of a nation. Part of his mass appeal was his peculiar, flamboyant personality. He sported blonde hair, tracksuits, jewelry, and often smoked a cigar. But beneath this eccentric persona was a sinister pattern of behavior. Savile was a prolific predator hiding in plain sight.

Rubbing elbows with the British Royal family certainly helped him maintain his family-friendly image. He became friends with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who later lobbied for him to be knighted. And despite hesitation from others, Savile was knighted, by both the Queen and Pope, in 1990. Prince Charles of Wales came to Savile for advice, both on politics and on his marriage!

Personal Life

Despite being everywhere in the media, Savile managed to keep the details of his personal life private. Naturally, interviewers attempted to convince him to open up about any romantic partners, but were met with Savile’s usual distractions and denials. He was a proud bachelor, and spent most of his time with his mother, Agnes, who he affectionately called “the Duchess”, until her death in 1972.

From the 1970s on, rumors began to spread about Jimmy and underage girls, and it became almost a passing joke in popular culture. However, many people on the inside knew that there was truth there. In 1990, journalist Lynn Barber interviewed Jimmy Savile in a (now infamous) profile for The Independent, where she directly asked him about the rumors. True to his reputation, Saville dismissed them. Documentarian Louis Theroux brought up the rumors while interviewing Savile for an episode of his series “When Louis Met” in April 2000. Again, Savile denied them. Local police looked into allegations in 2007, and again in 2008, but concluded there was insufficient evidence.

Jimmy Savile’s Death


On October 9, 2011, Jimmy Savile died at age 84. The country mourned their fallen hero, and thousands attended his funeral on November 9. Two days later, the BBC aired a tribute special featuring colleagues praising the late media personality.

Though rumors were widely spread about Savile’s behavior throughout his career, it wasn’t until after his death that substantial investigations were launched. In November 2011, BBC’s “Newsnight” began an investigation into Savile, but before their findings were broadcast, an editor pulled the plug. A few months later, The Sunday Mirror exposed the axed investigation.

Investigations


As the scandal grew, an ITV documentary in 2012, “Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile”, featured accusations of abuse from several women. As it turned out however, this was just the tip of the iceberg. The BBC and National Health Service began their own investigations. The Director-General of the BBC appointed former High Court judge Dame Janet Smith to review Savile’s activities while he worked there. Her report, published three years later, revealed that Savile had abused dozens of people on BBC premises - and that some BBC staff were aware, but afraid to complain to management.

Meanwhile, police were also investigating, and in November 2012 announced allegations of abuse on a “staggering” and “unprecedented” scale.

From 1955 to 2009, Savile assaulted 450 people, many of them very young. His growing fame allowed him access to vulnerable viewers, children, and hospital patients. He preyed upon young guests and audience members at his BBC shows “Top of the Pops” and “Jim’ll Fix It,” even groping at least one victim on camera.

Savile also took advantage of patients at the several hospitals he’d been given access to. At Leeds, he had his own room, and for Broadmoor, a set of keys. He’d regularly visited Duncroft Approved School for Girls, where he’d take teenage girls for rides in his car.

A year after his death, Savile’s family members decided to remove his gravestone from Scarborough cemetery. Many of his honors were stripped, charities named after him were closed down, and other memorials were removed.


In the Media


A number of books and documentaries have chronicled Jimmy Savile’s life, some praising the British TV icon, others investigating the years of lies and pain he inflicted on others. In 2020, the BBC announced a drama series about the life and crimes of Jimmy Savile. “The Reckoning” starring Steve Coogan is set to release in 2022, though it has already drawn some criticism for its subject matter.

On April 6, 2022, Netflix released “Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story,” a two-part docuseries featuring archive footage of the disgraced media personality, and interviews with survivors and whistleblowers. In all the media attention surrounding the “scandal,” it’s important to give voices to the victims, something that was not afforded to them in the past.
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