Savile: Portrait of a Predator, ITV, STV 9pm, ITV Hub

Ten years ago, Sir Jimmy Savile died. His funeral was an event that featured on the news. The great and the good appeared, in sombre tones, mourning our loss. People lined the streets to pay their respects. Sir Keith Stammer was Director of Public Prosecutions. Operation Yewtree was set up in London in 2012 to investigate his alleged sexual offences after girls from Duncroft, a children’s home in Surrey, featured in the tabloids saying he’d sexually abused them. Detective Gary Pankhurst said he followed up on hundreds of reports. He classified Savile as a high-functioning psychopath.

Spokesmen from Surrey Police admitted they’d interviewed the 80-year-old Savile in 2009. A familiar pattern emerged of Savile getting away with everything short of murder.

The question WHY is easily answered.

He was wealthy.

He was a celebrity. He didn’t work for the BBC. The BBC worked for him. They created a show, Jim’ll Fix It, and it did. It fixed it for the serial paedophile.

He counted Margaret Thatcher and Prince Charles as his personal friends. He was part of the British establishment, given a knighthood in 1990. He had access to Kensington Palace and wandered about at will. Princess Diana thought he was creepy, when he tried to lick her hand. Prince Charles failed to comment on Savile’s posthumous reputation as a serial paedophilic abuser of around 500 mostly preadolescent girls. That’s an estimate by NSPCC. Being a conservative, that is a conservative number.  

He had high-ranking policemen friends that acted as minders.

He had criminal friends that acted as minders.

He could play nice, but he could also play scary.

Sylvia Edwards, now 63, appears on the programme. Back then, in the nineteen-seventies, she’s been given the nod by Savile, picked up by runners for Top of the Pops, a show regularly watched by 15 million. There she is onscreen beside celebrity Jimmy Savile as he speaks to his audience at home in their living rooms. The moron’s moron and fellow psychopath, ex-American President, admitted he grabbed women by the pussy, but it was never shown on camera. But here it is on loop, a blonde and very pretty mop-topped girl, jumping up and twisting away as Savile rams his hand up into her pussy.

It was treated as a joke. When she complained to a cameraman, he told her to go away, get lost.

He picked his victims—they were poor and powerless.

A former bass player with Sparks, Ian Hampton, said: ‘I think he regarded Top of the Pops as a happy hunting ground for young ladies. On one occasion I was on Top of the Pops, Savile disappeared with a young girl to a dressing room’.

Claire McAlpine (her image with Savile shown above) for example, an adolescent, who appeared dancing for the cameras on Top of the Pops. She became pregnant, aged fifteen, and killed herself. Her mother had complained to BBC management about her being in Savile’s dressing room.

Hampton asked a producer of the show what was happening with Savile? He wasn’t given answers. Told he was being ridiculous.  

Literally, powerless with a woman interviewed anonymously, telling how she was in a wheelchair, a patient at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Savile took her away in her wheelchair to abuse her. She was paralysed from the waist down, but she remembered his eyes.

He did charity work. Kerching, this led to lucrative contracts with state institutions such as British Rail, paying him handsomely for acting as their spokesman on child safety, for example. Savile joked that he’d squared it up with Him upstairs for a few things he’d done. Quid pro quo. A peripatetic bachelor, he had the right credentials to become a priest. He had the equivalent of a knighthood with the Roman Catholic Church.

A two-and-a-half-year independent inquiry in France about the abuse of children by clergy, over the past seventy years, found that at least 330,000 children were victims of sexual abuse by clergy and lay members of church institutions.

“The Catholic church is, after the circle of family and friends, the environment that has the highest prevalence of sexual violence,” the report said.

There’s little reason to believe that similar figures of abuse didn’t also happen in the United Kingdom. And again, these are probably underestimates.

Jimmy Savile was a serial sexual abuser. As each spokesman or woman for the institutions involved run for cover, does this programme offer us anything new?

The Trouble With Our Trains, BBC 2, 9pm.

potters bar

The Trouble With Our Trains, BBC 2, 9pm.

Twenty years after privatisation, in which the number of rail passengers have doubled,  Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford examine what was once British Rail, but is now a hotchpotch of different companies competing in the rail market. Only they aren’t. Four billion pounds of government money a year still subsidises the rail network and eight billion pounds are spent on fares, but after rail disasters such as Potters bar when seven people died when a train became airborne after hitting defective points, Network Rail, who admitted safety breaches, were renationalised and renamed Railtrack, who were responsible for the upkeep and upgrading of the railway infrastructure. Privatisation didn’t work and cost lives, but the experiment in which the government as paymaster that subsidies rich people to provide consumer value continues with rising fares and rising discontent among rail passengers.

I had no idea who Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford were before the programme, but I gather Hewer is a businessman and Mountford models herself on dear Margaret Thatcher. Even she had to admit that it came as something of a shock to find that the one of the best examples of integrated and forward planning was in the country of her birth – Northern Ireland. But, oh dear, Northern Ireland Railways were never nationalised.

Hewer talks to a financial analyst who points out that the returns for train providers such as Virgin Rail at 3% to 4% on capital, which aren’t that great, but what he fails to say is the returns are like government bonds, with no risk and guaranteed, and the extras such as company executives wages that grown exponentially year on year with no great justification are not included in the profit, but the cost. In addition fines worth millions paid to, for example, Virgin Rail by Railtrack for not allowing trains to run is a scam that any racketeer would be proud. Let me put it quite simply it’s so lucrative that the company running Germany’s railways have invested in British Rail that is no longer British Rail, which  leave us, the poor British public, indirectly subsiding the surplus profit of a German network.

Hewer and Mountford conclude we can’t turn the clock back and all in all the public-private divide works and we’re doing not a bad job. Bullshit. Railways are a monopoly franchise. The government owns the railways, paying money to landlords to manage it for them makes ideological sense, but not economic sense. We don’t need to renationalise them, we just need to allow the cash cow that is franchising to run out and take them back into state control.