Jimmy Savile

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Savile in July 2006

James Wilson Vincent Savile (31 October 1926 – 29 October 2011) was an English DJ, television and radio personality and charity fundraiser. After his death, hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse were made against Savile and, after being investigated, the police concluded he had been a predatory sex offender and possibly one of Britain's most prolific.




  • [As a nightclub manager in Leeds, late 1950s] A high-ranking lady police officer came in one night and showed me the picture of an attractive girl who had run away from a remand home. "Ah," says I, all serious, "if she comes in I'll bring her back tomorrow but I'll keep her all night first as my reward." The law lady, new to the area, was nonplussed. Back at the station she asked "Is he serious?"
    It is God's truth that the absconder came in [to the club] that night. Taking her into the office, I said, "Run now if you want but you can't run for the rest of your life." She listened to the alternative and agreed that I hand her over if she could stay at the dance, come home with me, and that I would promise to see her when they let her out.
    At 11.30 the next morning she was willingly presented to an astounded lady of the law. The officeress was dissuaded from bringing charges against me by her colleagues, for it was well known that, were I to go, I would probably take half the station with me.
  • [T]here have been trains and, with apologies to the hit parade, boats and planes (I am a member of the 40,000ft club) and bushes and fields, corridors, doorways, floors, chairs, slag heaps, desks and probably everything except the celebrated chandelier and ironing board[.]
    • On his sexual escapades, As It Happens, pp. 138–139
  • [When asked about his freedom from emotional attachment to other people.] The tough thing in life is ultimate freedom, that's when the battle starts. Ultimate freedom is what it's all about, because you've got to be very strong to stand for ultimate freedom.
    Ultimate freedom is the big challenge, now I've got it, and I can tell you there's not many of us that have got ultimate freedom. I've got some considerable clout as well, all over. That is where the battle, the personal battle starts now.
    I've managed to handle complete and ultimate utter freedom. It's marvellous but it's dangerous.
    It would be easy to be corrupted by many things, when you've got ultimate freedom, especially when you've got clout. I could be corrupted.
  • [When asked if "rumours that he had been a psychopath, practised necrophilia and was into young girls might turn out to be true" in 2001.] Bollocks to my legacy [...[ If I'm gone that's that . . . Whatever is said after I'm gone is irrelevant.
  • An interviewer once asked what I did as part of my voluntary work [there] and I said, "Everything, from taking milk into the wards, to taking the lately deceased from the wards," and that suddenly became "he’s into" necrophilia. But that doesn’t bother me at all.
  • Anthony Clare asked me my feelings towards children, and I said, "I couldn't eat a whole one . . . I hate them!" [...] But that is because I want to shut up someone who's trying to go down that dirty, sordid road with questions like that.
  • [After being informed of an unnamed 1960s pop singer sleeping with 12 to 14 year olds.] Yes. I would never have time to excuse anything like adults being into children. In fact I'd rather not even opinionate on this. I’ll leave it to the Anthony Clares of this world to sort out the psychology of child abuse. But I will stand up and say this sort of thing is sickening, not part of my world at all.
  • Louis Theroux: So, why do you say in interviews that you hate children when I've seen you with kids and you clearly enjoy their company and you have a good rapport with them?
    Jimmy: Right, obviously I don't hate 'em. That's number one.
    Louis: Yeah. So why would you say that then?
    Jimmy: Because 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.
    Louis: Are you basically saying that so tabloids don't, you know, pursue this whole "Is he/isn’t he a paedophile?" line, basically?
    Jimmy: Yes, yes, yes. Oh, aye. How do they know whether I am or not? How does anybody know whether I am? Nobody knows whether I am or not. I know I'm not, so I can tell you from experience that the easy way of doing it when they're saying "Oh, you have all them children on Jim'll Fix It", say "Yeah, I hate 'em."
    Louis: Yeah. To me that sounds more, sort of, suspicious in a way though, because it seems so implausible.
    Jimmy: Well, that's my policy, that's the way it goes. That's what I do. And it's worked a dream.
    Louis: Has it worked?
    Jimmy: A dream.
  • But Gary [Glitter] has not tried to sell them [images of child pornography], not tried to show them in public or anything like that. It were for his own gratification.
    Whether it was right or wrong is, of course, it's up to him as a person. But they didn't do anything wrong but they are then demonised.
    If you said to that copper, what's Gary Glitter done wrong? Well nothing really. He's just sat at home watching dodgy films.
  • My business, there's women looking for a few quid, we always get something like this coming up for Christmas, because we want a few quid for Christmas, right.
    And normally you can brush them away like midges and it’s not much of a price to pay for the lifestyle.
  • [On Stoke Mandeville Hospital] I own this hospital, NHS runs it, I own it, and that's not bad.
  • Because I've never done anybody any harm in my entire life, 'cos… there's no need to [...] No need to chase girls, I've thousands of them on Top of the Pops, thousands on Radio 1. No need to take liberties with them, out of the question, and anyway it's not my nature.
  • When you’re doing Top of the Pops and Radio 1, what you don't do, is assault women, they assault you, that's for sure, and you don't have to, because you've got plenty of girls about, and all that, so dealing with something like this, is out of the question and totally wrong, full stop


  • My dad, Vince, who was a bookmaker's clerk, gave me a drag on one [a cigar] at Christmas, thinking it would put me off them forever, but it had the opposite effect.
  • [On his mother who he nicknamed the "Duchess"] When she died she was all mine. She looked marvellous. She belonged to me. It's wonderful, is death.
  • It was good while it lasted.

Quotes about Jimmy Savile

The true story is his victims, and how the BBC, Department of Health, Conservative party, Catholic church, police forces, local councils and libel law let them down. ... a monster for whom the British establishment – political, royal, broadcasting, ecclesiastical, medical, charitable – provided a dazzling shield. —Mark Lawson
He targeted the institutionalised, the hospitalised – and this was known. Why did Jimmy Savile go to hospitals? That's where the patients were. —Paul Gambaccini
Savile was a callous, opportunistic, wicked predator who abused and raped individuals, many of them patients and young people, who expected and had a right to expect to be safe. —Jeremy Hunt
  • [Marjorie] Wallace remembers witnessing a brief encounter while visiting the twins. "Jimmy Savile jumped up onto this table," she said. "He looked at the two girls, pointed and said to June 'I’ll have you firs' and then to Jennifer 'you’ll be second'."
    "I said, 'Jimmy, you better get off,' and he just jumped off. And that's when the two girls pointed to their heads and said, 'We thought we were the mad ones'."
    She added: "I felt a chill when I looked into his eyes … I wrote to the Department of Health, expressing great concern about his behaviour in Broadmoor. I got nowhere."
  • Late on the night of our last ever interview, almost a year before his death, Savile was slumped in his armchair, sucking on a giant cigar and drinking a succession of double whiskies. He maintained that he had only started drinking alcohol after his quadruple heart bypass in 1997. Perhaps it was the scotch, but he was in an unusually reflective mood, troubled even, when he suddenly launched into a bitter and totally unsolicited diatribe about the conviction of Gary Glitter.
    He was adamant that the glam rock star, real name Paul Gadd, had done nothing wrong beyond having "a few dirty pictures" on his personal computer. Savile proceeded to lay the blame for Glitter's demise squarely with the press.
    I countered that the singer had, in fact, been convicted and imprisoned for a series of sexual abuse charges involving minors. We were seated in the front room that overlooked Scarborough Bay. That was where I left him.
  • I was in my wheelchair, but I just remember [Savile's] hands being everywhere and just lingering those two, three, four seconds slightly too long in places they shouldn't [...] It was in a busy room full of people in a studio so it was quite discreetly done and you don't kind of realise what's happening at the time, especially when you're 14 and it's the first time you've ever been in a studio and you're very excited. But I do remember feeling uncomfortable and he had these huge rings on his fingers.
  • The expression which I came to associate with Savile's sex partners was either one used by production assistants or one I made up to summarise their reports ... "under-age subnormals". He targeted the institutionalised, the hospitalised – and this was known. Why did Jimmy Savile go to hospitals? That's where the patients were.
  • Savile was a callous, opportunistic, wicked predator who abused and raped individuals, many of them patients and young people, who expected and had a right to expect to be safe. His actions span five decades – from the 1960s to 2010.
  • As a nation at that time we held Savile in our affection as a somewhat eccentric national treasure with a strong commitment to charitable causes. [...] Today's reports show that in reality he was a sickening and prolific sexual abuser who repeatedly exploited the trust of a nation for his own vile purposes.
  • Savile was a highly unusual personality whose lifestyle, behaviour and offending patterns were equally unusual. As a result of his celebrity, his volunteering, and his fundraising he had exceptional access to a number of NHS hospitals and took the opportunities that that access gave him to abuse patients, staff and others on a remarkable scale. Savile's celebrity and his roles as a volunteer and fundraiser also gave him power and influence within NHS hospitals which meant that his behaviour, which was often evidently inappropriate, was not challenged as it should have been. Savile's ability to continue to pursue his activities without effective challenge was aided by fragmented hospital management arrangements; social attitudes of the times, including reticence in reporting and accepting reports of sexual harassment and abuse, and greater deference than today towards those in positions of influence and power; and less bold and intrusive media reporting. While it might be tempting to dismiss the Savile case as wholly exceptional, a unique result of a perfect storm of circumstances, the evidence we have gathered indicates that there are many elements of the Savile story that could be repeated in the future. There is always a risk of the abuse, including sexual abuse, of people in hospitals. There will always be people who seek to gain undue influence and power within public institutions including in hospitals. And society and individuals continue to have a weakness for celebrities. Hospital organisations need to be aware of the risks posed by these matters and manage them appropriately.
  • Although already well advanced on becoming one of history’s most prolific criminal sex offenders, Savile shows a peculiar proclivity for public near-confession. In his book God’ll Fix It, he admits to being “an abuser of things and bodies and people”, a formula that can in retrospect allude to both sexual abuse and necrophilia (“bodies” and “people” are oddly differentiated). Elsewhere in God’ll Fix It, he repeats his regular hope (also expressed in many interviews) that his good works will provide enough “on the credit side” for God Almighty to overlook the “debit side”. As he boasts that the black lines in the ledger add up to tens of millions of charitable donations, he is effectively confessing that the red entries have nearly equal value. How much bad would you need to do to require so much good? At the time, it never occurs to us his accounting is absolutely precise.
  • I struggle to write the next paragraph but [Janet] Smith, in her section 5: 262, records what happened with the pellucid neutrality of legal prose:
    He said “hello” to everyone except [Saville’s victim, legally codenamed] C23. Then he stood beside her, grabbed her round the waist with his right hand, put his legs round her left thigh (so that her leg was between his two legs) and rubbed his crotch up and down. So far as C23 can remember, he did not say anything. She felt that he was giving a performance. Fortunately Mr Lawson saw what was happening, came over and distracted Savile, then positioned himself between Savile and C23. The interview took place.
    There is one detail Smith omits for the proper reason that it is experienced by a witness not a victim. When I block Savile, he is furious, thwarted. His strength is extraordinary for a man four months away from 80 but I have enough height and heft to hold him off, though not without briefly feeling his erection against my leg. (Many have suggested that his favoured baggy leisure wear was doubly calculated for easy removal and to advertise his arousal to his prey without doubt.) Let me be clear that this experience is nothing at all compared to the impacts on his victims, but it is a weird memory to have and gives me some tiny insight into the suffering he inflicted.
  • I drive up to Woodlands Cemetery and work out from newspaper photos where Savile’s grave must be. His headstone – a vast granite triptych with the inscription It Was Good While It Lasted, a DJ’s last glib jingle – was pulverised at midnight two years before, its fragments used for landfill. Someone appears to have laid a single flower on the grassy knoll, unless the wind filched a tribute from an undisgraced grave. A tag with the council logo is tied on the fence behind, in line with the mound. Is that so they know where he is in case of exhumation or removal? Others seem to be following this ghoulish route; a group arrive as I leave. There is a sense of not being able to believe the scale of the fall until seeing what was an extravagant shrine (to a man called “a saint” in BBC coverage) but is now just scruffy lawn.
  • [T]he true story is his victims, and how the BBC, Department of Health, Conservative party, Catholic church, police forces, local councils and libel law let them down. ... a monster for whom the British establishment – political, royal, broadcasting, ecclesiastical, medical, charitable – provided a dazzling shield.
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