Review: Louis Theroux: Looking Back on Jimmy Savile

It was on Louis Theroux’s wedding day in 2012 that he discovered the Jimmy Savile, a man he once called a friend, was a prolific sexual abuser. It is hard to imagine what Louis, a documentary maker famous for his insight and intelligence, felt when he discovered that he, like many others, had been duped by Jimmy Savile. 15 years on the BBC documentary “When Louis Met Jimmy”, Louis sets out to understand how a man at the centre of British entertainment and charitable endeavours was able to get away with an unthinkable number of sexual crimes.

One thing that is evident from the new documentary it that Theroux feels like he let himself, and many others, down when he let Jimmy off the hook. In flashbacks to his original documentary in 2000, in hindsight, Theroux sees that there were clues that he either ignored, or missed. Inappropriately touching women in a local restaurant and disturbing and contradictory remarks about his personal relationships were just a few of these clues. Chillingly, as Savile left Louis’ house in the original documentary, his cab was followed by little kids running behind shouting delightedly, “Jimmy! Jimmy!” (Source: The Radio Times).

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It is hard to imagine how tough it must be for a famed documentary maker to face the fact that he failed to do what documentary makers are supposed to do, get to truth. Louis, admirably, does not shy away from this in the 2016 documentary. This is crystallised in his interviews with victims who had watched his originally documentary. One female victim laughs as she told Louis bluntly: “I thought, ‘Poor Louis, he’s really, really been hoodwinked.’" (Source: The Radio Times).

Louis’ attempt to put the record straight, opposed to ignoring his interactions with Jimmy Saville is truly admirable. I won’t give any more away here. Watch it. The 75 minute programme is harrowing and chilling, but provides a crucial insight into how Louis, and the nation, was hoodwinked into praising an individual who was performing sexual crimes right under their noses.

Watch this documentary now on BBC iplayer: Louis Theroux: Looking Back on Jimmy Savile.

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