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Louis Theroux: Savile on BBC Two

As a long term Louis fan, I had high expectations for his new documentary – and it did not disappoint.

Commencing with a chilling flashback to “When Louis met Jimmy”, Theroux’s original documentary with Jimmy Savile sixteen years ago, we see Louis warmly welcome a man who, although not known to him at the time, would later be revealed as the monster behind more than two hundred acts of sexual assault against vulnerable and young victims.

Throughout the film Theroux openly addresses the guilt he feels for having failed to see and reveal Savile for what he really was, and shares never-before-seen clips of him evidently harassing women. As a viewer you are left shocked at how those around him could possibly have been oblivious to his behaviour when, for example, he walked into a BBC office filled with young female employees and started undressing in front of them.

The viewer gets an insight into just how horrific Savile’s attacks were, such as when one very brave victim recalls how he assaulted her in hospital when the burns on her hands left her entirely helpless.

Equally shocking are some of the interviews with those who worked closely alongside Savile, particularly his personal assistant. She shows Louis some of the paintings she has of Savile in her home and remains steadfast in her belief that he had never done anything wrong and that everybody had given him a bad name.

As always, Louis keeps his composure throughout the documentary (an almost impossible feat for a viewer) as he is compassionate with victims and calmly challenging towards those that continue to support the paedophile.

Some reviews have claimed that Theroux was using his platform purely to make himself feel better about being so wrong about Savile in his original depiction, but I strongly disagree with this. It is clear from start to finish that all he is simply attempting to do right by the victims he felt he let down sixteen years ago, in this heart-breaking and thought provoking film.

Image: Nordiske Mediedager @ Flickr

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