New Netflix documentary explores Jimmy Savile ‘hiding in plain sight’

The director of a new documentary about Jimmy Savile said he aims to examine the disgraced entertainer’s relationship with the British public and establishment in order to explain how he has been “hiding from plain sight” for so long.

he new two-part Netflix show Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story delves into 50 years of archival footage to examine how one of TV’s biggest stars got away with his crimes as a prolific sex offender.

It also examines Savile’s relationship with the Prince of Wales, particularly the letters they exchanged over many years, in which the presenter often offered advice on public and family matters.


The Prince of Whales and Jimmy Savile exchanged many letters over the years (Gareth Copley/PA)

The documentary’s director, Rowan Deacon, told Times Radio that some of the material examined was Savile’s correspondence with Charles, which she said gave them an “understanding of the nature of their friendship,” which she says wasn’t the case previously fully understood.

She said: “I think what was most interesting and why we included that in the film, which deals very broadly with a lot of the reasons why Jimmy Savile wasn’t arrested before he died, is that the relationship was one that Prince Charles trusted and respected Jimmy Savile.

“And I think that’s really interesting because I think what we’ve tried to do is look honestly at our relationship with the British public with Jimmy Savile to try and explain how he got away with it.

“And I think there was a temptation after the revelations to say, ‘Oh, I always knew, I always hated the man.’ That seems to be the usual response we got when calling people.

“And I think that’s not helpful because I don’t think the archive footage or the recordings brought that out. I think that is not the case. He was trusted and respected. And I think we need to look at that to understand how abusers behave and how that happened.”

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Speaking to the Times 2 supplement, Deacon noted that they “didn’t imply for a moment” that the prince knew what Savile was “really up to.”

The director also said that much of the more than 700 hours of footage the documentary team viewed was cleared away following revelations about Savile’s years of sexual abuse.

Through her analysis, she feels that his approach to “hiding in plain sight” has changed over the decades.

She said: “I think the most shocking thing about the 1960s and 1970s is that his what we now describe as lascivious, creepy, aggressive behavior towards women happening on camera on television recordings, what’s shocking about that isn’t that He’s doing it because now we know what we know, no one bats an eyelid, it’s perfectly normal.

“So I think the social conditions of the time normalized that kind of behavior.

“I don’t mean the things that we’ve found out he does too, but the kind of public horniness and creepiness[that]wasn’t judged to be problematic.”


Jimmy Savile died in 2011 at the age of 84 after never being brought to justice for his crimes (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Deacon believes Savile’s tactics changed in the 1990s, as she believes he was previously viewed as a “creepy and strange character” to the point that he became the “source of the rumours” himself.

“He’s the one who says the scary things and implies that he’s up to no good, and I think he’s kind of playing a double bluff with the audience,” she said.

“So it’s quite confusing and people end up thinking, ‘Well, he kind of says it, so it can’t be true.’

“And I think that kind of psychological game that’s going on is quite complex that we can now look back on in the archives and we also asked our interviewees who were in the archives to look back for themselves, which was kind of interesting experience, really helps us understand how this happened in an insightful way.”

Savile died in 2011 at the age of 84 without ever having been brought to justice.

Charles, the rest of the royal family and most members of the public were unaware of his crimes prior to the revelations.

Today he is considered one of the most successful sex offenders in Great Britain. New Netflix documentary explores Jimmy Savile ‘hiding in plain sight’

Fry Electronics Team

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