Jimmy Savile made a ‘hidden in plain sight’ joke in harrowing Have I Got News For You appearance
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Now that the BBC has released a brand-new trailer for the new drama The Reckoning all about Jimmy Savile - many viewers are looking back on his career and pointing to the many harrowing moments from it.
The four-episode new series, set to premiere next month (9 October), was announced back in 2020 with Steve Coogan portraying the disgraced entertainer.
One incident in particular sees Savile making a ‘hidden in plain sight’ joke in a harrowing Have I Got News For You appearance. You can watch the chilling clip below:
According to the BBC, the drama written by Neil McKay will ‘trace the life of Jimmy Savile, a man who, for decades, became one of the UK’s most influential celebrities, but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history following revelations of extensive and horrific abuse’.
The broadcaster added: “Savile used his involvement in multiple organisations, such as the BBC, hospitals, prisons, and charities, to legitimise himself, forging friendships in show business, politics, journalism, the Catholic Church and even the Royal family to cement his position.”
The British DJ and TV presenter managed to continually carry out horrific sex offences while remaining in the public eye for decades.
He died in October 2011 aged 84, having never been brought to justice.
However, countless examples of his TV appearances show how the paedophile managed to 'hide in plain sight'.
Host Angus Deayton asks him: “You used to be a wrestler didn’t you?” to which Savile responds: “I still am,” adding, “I’m feared in every girls’ school in the country.”
The audience laughs at the innuendo, which appears to be a reference to the rumours at the time that Savile was a paedophile, something he denied while he was alive.
But the insurmountable evidence to show Savile was a prolific sex offender has since come to light, giving this comment a sickening backdrop.
Many viewers found the clip difficult to stomach, with one writing in the comments on YouTube: "He laughed at the world whilst committing terrible acts against children and we all laughed along with him."
Another said: "Disgusting how he openly said such things, to put people off from accusing him of it."
Savile's habit of joking on TV about the rumours surrounding his crimes was explored by director Rowan Deacon in Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story.
Having analysed 700 hundred hours of archive footage, Deacon concluded that Savile adapted his approach to 'hiding in plain sight' across the decades.
She said: "I think in the 1960s and 1970s what's most shocking is that his what we now describe as lascivious, creepy, assaulting behaviour on women, which is happening in front of the camera on broadcast footage, what's shocking about that is not that he's doing it, because we now know what we know, it's that nobody blinks an eye, it's completely normal.
"So I think that the social conditions at the time normalised that kind of behaviour.
“I don't mean the things that we found out that he was also doing, but the sort of public lasciviousness and creepiness [that] was not judged as anything problematic."
Deacon feels Savile's tactics changed by the 1990s, as by then he was seen as a 'creepy and strange figure', so he himself became the 'source of the rumours' - something we can see in his Have I Got News For You appearance.
"He's the one saying the creepy things and suggesting that he's up to no good, and I think he does a kind of double bluff with the audience," she said.
"So it's quite confusing and people end up thinking, 'Well, he's sort of saying it so it can't be true.'
"And I think that kind of psychological game that goes on, it's quite complex, that we can now look back at in the archive and we also asked our interviewees who were in the archives to look back at it themselves, which was kind of an interesting experience.”
She added that it ‘really helps us to understand how this happened in a way that’s illuminating’.
The Reckoning premieres on BBC One and iPlayer on 9 October.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 10am–8pm Monday to Friday. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111.
Or alternatively, contact The Survivor’s Trust for free on 08088 010 818, or through their website thesurvivorstrust.org