Netflix Exposes Prince Charles and the Royals’ Deep Ties to Jimmy Savile, the U.K.’s Most Notorious Pedophile
In a TV interview clip shown early in Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, the famous DJ and Top of the Pops host is told that, while his biography Love Is an Uphill Thing features a collection of entertaining anecdotes, it never provides insight into his real off-camera self. As the world found out in the aftermath of his 2011 death—a mere two days before his 85th birthday—Savile most certainly had a private life, as well as good reason to keep it a secret: He was an apex predator, a serial pedophilic sex offender who abused hundreds upon hundreds of innocent children and young adults between 1955 and 2009. Worse still, he managed to shield that ugly side of himself via the very celebrity that afforded him his opportunities for monstrousness, aided by an establishment—be it the media, the public or the prime minister and royal family—that was all-too-willing to turn a blind eye to the sordid rumors that dogged him for decades.
Rowan Deacon’s Netflix documentary Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story (out now) offers up few bombshells regarding the reign of terror perpetrated by the British celebrity; U.S. viewers who are less familiar with Savile will glean more from it than U.K. audiences, who’ll likely find it to be a thorough recap rather than a shocking exposé. Split into two feature-length installments, it’s a thorough examination of the life and career of one of Britain’s most famous 20th century figures, a man who parlayed his numerous broadcasting triumphs into friendships with Margaret Thatcher and Prince Charles and Princess Diana, as well as reporters, police officers, and everyday folks who naturally gravitated to his warm, jovial, eccentric personality. To millions of fans, he was “our Jimmy,” a reputation furthered by his hit series Jim’ll Fix It, in which he made the dreams of young children (who wrote to him) come true on air.
On Jim’ll Fix It and Top of the Pops, Savile—recognizable by his mop of long bleach-white hair and trademark cigar—presented himself as equal parts court jester, Northern lad, roguish playboy, and Santa Claus. What truly endeared him to his homeland, however, was his passionate and seemingly altruistic interest in charitable work. Spearheading the fundraising campaign to repair Stoke Mandeville Hospital (and its acclaimed spinal injuries center), volunteering as a porter at Leeds General Infirmary, and overseeing the management of Broadmoor Hospital, home to dangerous and high-security psychiatric patients—this despite his total lack of medical expertise—Savile cultivated an image as a selfless do-gooder committed to giving back to those most in need. The result was a dual persona: a weird rock ‘n’ roll luminary who was also a Christ-like humanitarian.