If you haven’t heard about Jimmy Savile, then all I can say is welcome back to Earth, I hope your break on another planet was a pleasant one. This much-loved children’s entertainer, DJ, TV presenter, fundraiser in the UK was revealed to be a predatory paedophile posthumously in 2012. It would appear that his, “oddness” was a well-known characteristic of the man few questioned, but somehow he got away with his prolific history of abuse and managed to charm his way into getting access to hundreds (possibly thousands?) of vulnerable children.
Journalist Dan Davies explores how Savile was able to hide in plain sight and his meteoric rise in radio and TV. His book looks at Savile’s life, in his own words, and tweezes what truth can be ascertained from the public facade he put on.
This book was undoubtedly going to be a difficult read, but ever since the story broke, I have been asking, just how he managed to get away with it? Dan Davies’ book provides details in abundance about Savile’s life and the BBCs handling of the Newsnight report. This is a book that needed to be written about a story that had to be told. As distasteful as I found it reading about Savile I cannot dispute that lessons need to be learnt and a no tolerance or exceptions policy against abuse needs to exist in society, which put this book on my to-be-read list this year.
I cannot deny the book had an adverse effect on me and I never knew or met the man. I can only imagine the way those around him felt when details of his abuse emerged in the public domain. It’s sad that nothing can be done to change the past, but a lot can be done to prevent such blatant abuse of power and position both now and for generations to come.
I found reading parts of this book dull as my interest in Savile as a celebrity was never really there and apart from remembering him hosting the iconic show Jim’ll Fix It, I never had much interest in this oddball celebrity. However, the sinister undertone throughout the book and the temporal representation of how the story of his abuse was broken did interest me. The alien culture within the BBC up to and including 2012 still makes no sense to me.
This is a book for inquiring minds, for those who have questions they want to follow up and I am glad I read it, even though this may possibly be the only non-fiction book mentioned here for some time.