Netflix: “Jimmy Savile – A British Horror Story”

TV star Jimmy Savile is surrounded by young girls as he talks to the TV camera. Two out of three adore it, but the third continues to try to avoid it, wanting to visibly escape something, while also maintaining that “radiance” that is essential for a family fun show. Her appearance is a mocking indignation – but you can understand how uncomfortable she feels. A prisoner of the situation – while Savile makes the TV clown, his right hand, invisible to the camera, is definitely somewhere in the young woman.

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When the nearly three-hour Netflix documentary “Jimmy Savile – A British Horror Story” ends, you take a deep breath and wish the white-haired man with cold eyes and the horse’s smile a #metoo à la Harvey Weinstein process. Which unfortunately is impossible. Just after his death two days before his 85th birthday (he was buried in a curved coffin of gold) the British ban on Savile was broken and the stories of victims of abuse became noisy. What one might have heard over the decades of their careers was finally heard – and believed.

Jimmy Savile – a pop star in his own right

Jimmy Savile? You have to take a little interest in the media history of pop music in this country to be able to classify the disc knight, the cyclist, the wrestler who was born in Leeds in 1926 and who worked in the mines as a teenager during the war years. From the beginning, Savile was the presenter in “Top of the Pops”, the legendary British pop television show. And Netflix documentary photos show him in the mid-1960s as a sort of court joker for the Rolling Stones and surrounded by the Beatles.

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Savile appears as a stand-alone pop star, whom the girls adored as if she were the fifth fab alongside John, Paul, George and Ringo. The apologists later said that the young women who came under his pressure for immediate sexual pleasure may have been group, special fans who, in the heyday of Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, sought to part camp with the stars of popit. One of the countless lies associated with male violence against women.

The television man put himself on stage as the embodiment of the good

Netflix director Rowan Deacon’s documentary follows the story of Savile’s life. For the first 80 minutes, the subtitle “A British Horror Story” is almost the only allusion that something else should come in the glamorous year that blurs the image of the benefactor, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s favorite, Prince Charles’s friend and adviser.

Guilty Victims: In the documentary “Jimmy Savile – A British Horror Story”, Sam Brown tells how the abuse by the TV star ruined his life.

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Someone testifies that a man not particularly gorgeous, but quite eloquent, who appears in almost all cases in colorful sportswear, artificial silk, is loudly applauded by the British of all generations for every eye and every grip. He makes programs for children, he starts raising funds for hospitals and care facilities, he saves institutions and becomes a brand for good in the UK.

The sex offender gives suggestions – they laugh at the TV

Vague remarks in front of the camera are appreciated, just as when men were still expressing their enthusiasm for women with sharp whistles and a slap on the back was still considered a minor offense. You can hear Savile worrying in front of cameras in the still sober Kingdom. But even more fascinated by the moderators, who not only let the big Jim run away with everything, but also laughed and laughed at everything that can be seen as a subtle self-incrimination in light of later revelations. Everyone plays together. Why? Because there is no empathy? no sensibility Because you would like to be yourself a leader of all professions?

And so slowly a monster emerges from the media superman, a strange creature that reveals nothing about itself, increasingly considering its merits and popularity as untouchable. In an article published in the newspaper, with which he wants to control even his “dark side”, Savile calls himself a “godfather”. And this sense of power is quite similar to that of the mafia bosses of Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Although Don Vito Corleone would never have thought of petting and raping 14-year-old schoolgirls.

Help was not expected in patriarchal society

There were over 400 charges against Savile. At the end of this two-part series, which Netflix proudly calls a mini-series, Deacon gives its victims a chance to speak. The forbidden confession of a blonde woman makes clear the scale of the violence: the shame of forced sex (which is never sex, but violence and consequently crime) fell on the side of the one who was wronged.

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The hopelessness of those seeking help in a society that is shaped by male sexuality and that blames female victims of male sexual violence for this becomes clear. Fear of other people, of bondage and a normal, liberated sexuality, self-blame and self-hatred become apparent as a consequence. One person’s lust for the moment becomes the catastrophe of another’s life. Just allowing the story to be told has a liberating effect, even if the injuries can never be forgotten.

In the end, the man stands stunned in front of a man who was allowed from all sides to make “prey”, who formed alliances with politicians and the police to protect himself, who everyone looked at from the other side and did not hear, that children and young people, but also helpless, sick, and disabled adults in the institutions for which he collected money and abused it wherever possible. And even more astonished are the colleagues of the past, who look desperately at the camera, as if the weight had just fallen from their eyes.

There must have been some sharp questions

However, what the documentary lacks is depth and sharpness. You are concerned, thanks to the (not only) Netflix documentary method of constructing narrative tension and increasing it with dramatic music. If you wanted to delve deeper into the psychological depths of evil, if you wanted to understand the causes of collective fading, it would take a little more length and filmic effort. The director could have pressed her fingers deeper into the wounds of personal failure, could have led those who supported the system and the beast to disgusting answers with difficult questions. So Savile’s documentary in its incompleteness does not stand free from the suspicion of sensationalism – a “British horror story” with a social vampire appearing rather “creepy”.

“Jimmy Savile – A British horror story” Documentary, two episodes, directed by Rowan Deacon (on Netflix)

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