The other night we watched the latest Louis Theroux documentary, a sort of heartsearching ‘could I have known? should I have known?’ retrospective in which he interviews many of Savile’s victims plus the one person who believes he was innocent, his PA. This, given the way he took her for granted and then sacked her at a moment’s notice, represents some level of denial: I was reminded of Alan Partridge and his PA.
(I’m not sure why WordPress has added ‘We’ll always have Burgos’ here but we WILL always have Burgos so it’s no bad thing to be reminded of it…)
With Savile, hindsight is not just 20/20, it is god-like: how could we not have seen? Given what we now know, it is screamingly obvious that he was a devious, egomaniacal, controlling, slobbering, abusive sh*t, his very track-suits a sportier version of the dirty-old-man’s raincoat and his charity work an obvious cover. His victims were legion and their stories cannot be disbelieved. They are too similar, for a start: the gut-wrenching detail of him sticking his tongue down their throats, the episodes of fellatio, the girls he invited into his car; the ‘love-nest’ he created at the bottom of his mother’s garden: every detail points to a life dedicated to the pursuit of abuse and the hiding of it from others.
This is a hard programme to watch, especially the clips from the original where it is now clear that Savile is dancing round Theroux; taunting him, giving him little clues, laughing at his gullibility. One victim made the most perceptive comment in the programme: ‘Louis, do you think you were groomed?’ It must have been the ultimate challenge for Savile, to pull that off: having hoodwinked so many of the rich and powerful, becoming friends with the guy who had made a penetrating documentary on him must have been the ultimate ego-trip. But then, it was easy for him to get away with this hiding in plain sight: such was the mana that surrounded DJ’s that, like the priests of their age, they could go anywhere and do anything and usually went there and did it surrounded by adoring teenage girls.
Like the fact that the stars on Top of the Pops were all miming, it is now screamingly obvious that Savile was abusive. But that’s because we know. It’s sickening. And I wish I didn’t know. In some ways I wish I hadn’t seen the programme. But we have to see; because otherwise more people get away with this. Otherwise there are more victims, more silence, more suicide. More abuse. And this must never happen again.
Here’s the programme: