Louis Theroux defends controversial Jimmy Savile BBC documentary

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Louis Theroux defends Jimmy Savile doc

Louis Theroux stands by his controversial Jimmy Savile documentary (Picture: Getty)

Louis Theroux has defended his notorious interview with Jimmy Savile, revealing he was ‘struck’ by the shocking details after watching it back.

Theroux and Savile spent months together for the filmmaker’s special When Louis Met… Jimmy released in 2000, showing the pair bonding while following the children’s TV presenter’s day to day life.

Following Savile’s death in 2011, his monstrous past came to light as it emerged he sexually abused hundreds of women and children, subsequently giving Theroux’s documentary an entirely different context.

In Theroux’s book, Theroux The Keyhole, the 51-year-old wrote: ‘Depending on your point of view, I either made a revealing programme about or failed to make a revealing programme’ about Savile. 

Speaking to The Sunday Times magazine, he referred to his previous point and clarified: ‘It’s neither one or the other, is it?

‘’There’s plenty of ammo you could deploy in either direction. I’ve watched it since the revelations came out and I’m struck by how much is there. 

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Jimmy Savile (DEAD)with Louis Theroux (top). Savile featured in the television programme, 'When Louis Met Jimmy'.

Theroux regretted not doing more to call out Savile while he was alive (Picture: BBC)

‘It’s very far from soft journalism. We all knew he was doing some act. He would more or less invite people to believe he had secrets.’ 

In the film, Savile actually hints at his disturbing secret life, and tells Theroux: ‘We live in a very funny world. And it’s easier for me, as a single man, to say “I don’t like children”, because that puts a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt.’

After Savile’s death, Theroux filmed a follow-up programme with the knowledge of the presenter’s horrifying crimes and shared his guilt for not doing more to expose the sex offender.

In a statement on the BBC website, he wrote: ‘At the time [of the 2000 documentary], I’d done my best to be tough with him. I knew he was weird and, with all his mannerisms, rather irritating – I had no interest in making a soft piece about Jimmy the Charity Fundraiser.

‘The dark rumours – of sexual deviance, of being unemotional, of having a morbid interest in corpses – were one of the reasons I’d taken him on as a subject.

‘I wanted to get the goods on Savile. The trouble was, I had no clear sense of what those goods were.’

When Louis Met… Jimmy is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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