Viewers have been left feeling ‘shocked’ and uncomfortable by a new Louis Theroux documentary, which revisits his relationship with Jimmy Savile in a bid to understand how he was duped by the paedophile presenter.
- Louis Theroux: Savile aired on BBC2 last night
- Revisits Theroux’s relationship with presenter who he met in 2002
- Claims he knew there was something amiss and was trying to expose it
- Some viewers sympathetic, but others questioned how he’d been duped
The documentary maker interviewed Savile for the BAFTA-winning ‘When Louis met Jimmy…’ in 2002 and remained on good terms with him afterwards, even inviting him to stay at his house.
And in last night’s documentary Louis Theroux: Savile he set out to understand how he and many others failed to see what the presenter was really like.
Although there is no suggestion that Theroux could have known about Savile’s crimes, some viewers claimed he wasn’t tough enough on him at the time.
Megawolverine tweeted: ‘Truth is, Louis full well knew the rumours about Savile and bottled it. Simple as that.’
Laura Hindley said she felt the documentary was an exercise in Theroux ‘making himself feel less guilty’.
And WistfulCass praised one of the victims interviewed in the documentary who challenged the presenter about his interactions with Savile.
Well said that woman: “Didn’t you feel mugged off by him? He only gave you what he wanted to give you”,’ she wrote.
Tim_Brannigan felt the acclaimed documentary maker should have been more thorough in investigating Savile’s crimes back in 2002.
‘Hmm, Louise Theroux was “hoowinked” and played”,’ he wrote. ‘Some basic research among BBC staff was beyond the master interviewer?’
Others found the revisiting of Savile’s crimes difficult to watch, with Cameroneyles describing it as ‘harrowing stuff’, while Tashalea88 said it was ‘shocking and uncomfortable’, and Shelldaynight said it was ‘very uncomfortable viewing’.
MoaneyMo commented that it was hard to watch because of hearing Savile’s ‘shrill voice’, saying ‘it turns and angers me’.
Meanwhile Paul Nasr was ‘on edge’ just ten minutes in and Aak1880 said her skin was ‘crawling’.
Wolfinsin added: ‘Nothing I’ve seen has made me this angry and upset in a long time.’
Davidwaters1711 admitted it was a different experience to what he’d expected.
‘I thought this would be interesting in a weird sort of way but it’s genuinely difficult to watch,’ he said.
Others were suypportive of Louis and said that he shouldn’t feel guilty for being taken in by Savile.
Phil_Turner_esq tweeted: ‘Louis Theroux shouldn’t feel guilty that he was hoodwinked by #Savile. 99.99% of the British population were. Savile was a master deceiver.’
RobNManning added: ‘Savile duped all of us. don’t feel guilty, it makes you another victim and there were too many of them. He was a monster.’
After Savile’s death in 2011, aged 84, it emerged that the broadcaster and long-time charity campaigner had sexually abused hundreds of women and children.
He molested victims as young as five at NHS hospitals during decades of unrestricted access and as many as 72 victims while working at the BBC.
His earliest victim at the BBC was assaulted in 1959 and his latest in 2006, while working on Top of the Pops.
In his 2000 documentary, Theroux questions Savile over rumours that he was sexually interested in children.
During a chilling exchange Savile says: ‘We live in a very funny world.
‘And it’s easier for me, as a single man, to say ‘I don’t like children’, because that puts a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt.
Theroux asks: ‘Is that basically so the tabloids don’t pursue this whole is he or isn’t he a paedophile line?’
Savile replies: ‘Oh, aye.
‘How do they know whether I am not? How does anybody know whether I am? Nobody knows whether I am or not. I know I’m not… That’s my policy and it’s worked a dream.’
It has since been revealed that Theroux tried to report sexual abuse carried out by Savile after making the film, but it was not followed up.
The filmmaker claims he reported the presenter in 2001, after a woman came forward and told him she’d been one of his girlfriends, along with others, when she was 15, but a BBC producer did not talk to police.
The filmmaker has since spoken of his guilt about not doing more to expose Savile.
In a revealing piece on the BBC website, he said that, like it was suggested by Savile’s victims, he had been ‘hoodwinked’ by the paedophile.
He wrote: ‘At the time [of the 2000 documentary], I’d done my best to be tough with him. I knew he was weird and, with all his mannerisms, rather irritating – I had no interest in making a soft piece about Jimmy the Charity Fundraiser.
‘The dark rumours – of sexual deviance, of being unemotional, of having a morbid interest in corpses – were one of the reasons I’d taken him on as a subject.
‘I wanted to get the goods on Savile. The trouble was, I had no clear sense of what those goods were.’