Assessment 1: 1,500 Word Analysis of Investigative Journalism
Louis Theroux: Savile (2016)
2016’s BBC documentary, Savile, follows British journalist, Louis Theroux, as he details the secret life of the late BBC entertainer, Jimmy Savile. A life which includes numerous posthumous sexual abuse allegations, much to the public’s surprise. Savile, who died in 2011, was a well known, eccentric character in the British public's eyes for many decades because of his notable charity work and his self-titled TV show, Jim’ll Fix It (19??-19??). By October 2012, thirteen British police forces had received allegations of sexual abuse from various victims ranging from (at the time of abuse) young boys and girls and adult women. After the Metropolitan police opened a formal inquiry into Savile and other individuals, they stated that they were pursuing over 400 lines of inquiry based on the statements of over 200 victims of Savile alone. By the end of the investigation, the number was said to be over 400. In 2000, Louis Theroux initially interviewed Savile as part of his BBC docuseries, When Louis Met… (2000-2002). The series followed Theroux as he accompanied a different celebrity in each episode as they went about their daily lives. The episode about Savile was voted one of the best documentaries of all time in a Channel 4 survey in 2005.
3 years after the Savile inquiry, Theroux expressed to many interviewers that he had intended to make a follow up documentary into his former look at Savile’s life and find out why he missed so much and how the entertainer was able to continue for so long. The documentary aired on the 2nd October 2016 and lasted 1 hour, 15 minutes.
1. In the documentary Saville (2016), Theroux goes beyond the basic factors that the average journalist would. One of the was in which he does this is by interviewing a selected amount of Savile’s victims in a very thorough way, something that no journalist had researched and fully publicised as of yet.
2. The overall analysis of the report of Savile is very well conducted. The documentary deals with Theroux’s struggle as a former friend of Savile but also as a journalist with a certain set of moral obligations to his profession.
3. The problem exposed, as mentioned before, is that Theroux is slightly biased when talking about Savile as he had interviewed him many times in the past and had built not only a professional relationship with him, but also a personal rapport. This is specifically seen in the documentary when Theroux visits his old flat in London, one where he explains that he had invited Savile to stay many times if he was passing though. This unusual connection sometimes gets in the way of Theroux’s journalistic research into Savile but not too much.
Another major issue that stands out in Theroux’s report is the fact that there is no mention of the BBC’s role in covering up Savile’s crimes,...