Airdate: When Louis met Jimmy

On Monday night ABC2 will screen a 2000 documentary in which Louis Theroux interviewed the late Jimmy Savile.

Savile, as we all know, is now the subject of UK police investigations into alleged abuse involving hundreds of potential victims.

This time capsule episode sees Theroux spending a week with the famed British personality at home, charity events and on holidays (the doco is so old it’s even in 4:3 not 16:9).

This week I asked Louis Theroux if he wanted to comment on his meeting with Savile in light of recent news, but he declined due to the sensitivity of the situation in the UK.

To me, that said a lot anyway.

There’s one moment in this special where Savile, forever puffing on a cigar and giving punchlines, is asked about being a former boxer. He tells Theroux he is still fit…. fit in hundreds of girls schools across England.


But the most telling moment of all was this exchange, when Louis asked him why he said he hates kids:

JS: “Obviously I don’t hate kids. But we live in a very funny world. It’s easier for me to say ‘I don’t like children’ because that puts salacious tabloid people off the hunt.”

LT: “Are you basically saying that’s so tabloids don’t pursue this whole ‘Is he, isn’t he a paedophile? line basically'”

JS: “Yeah. 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, the easy way of doing it when they say ‘[inaudiblle] children, Jim’ll Fix It‘ is to say ‘Yeah I hate ’em.'”

LT: “See to me that sounds more suspicious in a way.”

JS: “That’s my policy. That’s the way it goes.”

LT: “Has it worked?”

JS: “A dream.”

When Louis met Jimmy 8pm Monday November 12 on ABC2


  1. @HardcorePrawn,

    I was 20 years old when I landed in the UK in the early seventies and left in the early eighties so yes I did see plenty of him on TOTP and Jim I’ll Fix it.

    He would be what you would call eccentric and was not particularly my cup of tea, but then again I had lots of other things to keep me entertained in swinging London in that era.

    Yes looking back on it now he would have been a complete weirdo, but he got away with it for whatever reason and didn’t face the music.

    I did find the two programs that were recently shown on the expose of Mr Savile to be totally riveting and worth trying to catch up with them if you can.

  2. @Trix – I look fwd to seeing the people who have actively covered these crimes up being named and shamed (and gaoled, if warranted), as well as seeing the actual perpetrators punished.

  3. @Secret Squirrel, looks like he used the tactic of ‘hiding in full view’. I look forward to the Catholic clergy’s decades long abuse of children here in Australia being revealed in the same way.

  4. I’m not defending pedophilia but we have to understand that everybody had a very blase attitude towards it during the 1970s right up until the late 1980s. It just wasn’t an issue back then and was caught up in the whole sexual revolution thing.

    Indeed, I remember a segment on Steve Vizard’s Tonight Live in 1990 devoted to ridiculing Derryn Hinch and what was described as “his boring obsession with pedophiles”.

  5. @johnmw1,

    I grew up in the UK too, and would like to ask you, when you were younger and watched Jim’ll Fix it and TOTP, did you think Jimmy Savile was always a bit odd?
    I can remember my Dad and older brothers all saying that he was weird and creepy, and that certainly put me off him. It didn’t stop me from writing letters to Jim’ll Fix it though; happily, all my requests were rejected!

    I’m a little disconcerted by Louis Theroux’s silence in all this, as a fan of his I hope it isn’t later discovered that he found out about the abuse but did nothing.

  6. Wow, just wow. It’s almost like he’d been getting away with it for so long that he’d become really brazen about it. Thanks for the heads-up, David.

  7. jezza the first original one

    This is going to be compelling TV. After the sexual liberation of the 1960s it seems like many in the 1970s didn’t bother with boundaries and it happened across all society, just think of the alleged abuse carried out by certain clergy who are still to be held accountable

  8. David,

    I must watch this episode again, I don’t remember that bit, how ironic.

    I lived in the UK for many years during the peak of his career, and at the time he was worshiped and the public could not get enough of him.

  9. Just to mention things in retrospect, episode 1 of Series 44 of Have I Got News for You showed a clip from a previous appearance, where he stated that he had lived in a caravan for 12 years. And when asked what did he do, he replied “Anything i can get my hands on”.

  10. Such a shame for all those kids!

    My wife has just informed me that in the early nineties while working on board a very well known big white ship that Mr Savile was placed under house arrest and confined to his cabin until the next port of call for allegedly indecently assaulting a young 14 year old girl.

    How did he get away with it for so long?

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