This, for me, is the moment, 12 years ago, that Jimmy Savile, revealed to the world that he was not one of Britain’s most-loved entertainers and charity fund-raisers, but an evil paedophile:
This is a still shot taken from a documentary by celebrated interviewer and documentary film maker Louis Theroux called “”When Louis met Jimmy” filmed in 2000.
In light of the hundreds of allegations of rape and abuse of children made against Savile, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) re-broadcast the documentary.
Apart from showing Savile to be completely eccentric (he had no stove in his flat, smokes a cigar while exercising on his treadmill, never has guests around, prefers sleeping in a minivan to his Highland cottage), manipulative (he turns a question from Theroux about a secret stash of alcohol into an accusation that he may not be a teetotaler) and disturbed (he turned his dead mother’s bedroom into a Norman Bates-like mausoleum complete with her dry-cleaned dresses hanging up in the closet and earlier tells the cameraman that while working as a dance hall manager in the 1950s he liked to “tie people up” that were causing trouble), there are many clues, which in hindsight, point to the hundreds of accusations that emerged a year after Savile’s death.
And so to this photo and the expression it captured.
It comes towards the end of a the hour-long documentary as Theroux and Savile sit side-by-side on a train.
The discussion turns to Savile’s relationships with children.
Theroux asks Savile why he has said in the past that he hates children.
Savile’s response is that by saying he hates them: “it puts a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt”.
Theroux’s response is to ask Savile if this served to put and end to questions about “Is he or is he not a paedophile?”
“Yes,” says Savile. “How does anyone know whether I am or not? Nobody knows whether I am or not. I know I am not.”
Theroux says: “To be honest that makes you sound more suspicious.”
“Well that’s my policy,” Savile replies, shaking his head.
“And it’s worked a dream.”
After a moment’s thought, Theroux asks: “Why have you said in interviews you don’t have emotions?”
“Because if you say have emotions you have to explain them for two hours.”
Savile yawns and adds:
“The truth is I am very good at masking them.”
There is silence. The camera zooms in and crops Savile’s face.
And there’s THAT expression.
Savile looks towards the floor, his eyes lowered in shame and bewilderment.
Perhaps, at that moment he is remembering what he has done to all those innocent young people and who he really is – a sick, lonely old man.