BBC orders feature doc on Savile abuse scandal

Directed by Olly Lambert of Minnow Films, Abused: The Untold Story will examine the cultural impact of the Jimmy Savile case while telling its story from the survivors' points of view.
March 19, 2015

The BBC has commissioned a feature documentary about the Jimmy Savile child sexual abuse scandal that will air on BBC1 next year.

Directed by BAFTA winner Olly Lambert of UK indie Minnow Films, Abused: The Untold Story (working title) will “give a voice to those individuals who have been affected by child sexual abuse over the last 50 years, and uncover the long-term impact it has had on the rest of their lives,” the UK pubcaster said in a statement.

Two years ago, British police opened an investigation into allegations that the late BBC presenter (pictured) used his celebrity and charity work to sexually abuse children. Nearly 600 alleged victims came forward during the ensuing inquiry, of which 450 said they were abused by Savile.

The 90-minute doc will examine the cultural impact of case and explain how it marked a shift in the public’s understanding of child sexual abuse. It will feature interviews with individuals who tell their stories for the first time, as well as their families and the professionals who supported survivors throughout the inquiry, Operation Yewtree.

“The revelations about Savile and the launch of Operation Yewtree marked a watershed moment in our cultural understanding of child sexual abuse,” Lambert said. “What is now being revealed is not just the shocking events themselves, but the extraordinary and complex ways in which they have shaped entire lives.”

“We want to tell the story from the perspective of the survivors, the people whose individual voices have often been lost among the scandal and headlines,” added executive producer Colin Barr. “Hopefully the film will help remove some of the stigma around talking about abuse and might help give confidence to other victims who’ve remained silent until now.”

An independent report into how Savile and former BBC host Stuart Hall – who was sentenced to an additional two years in prison last year on two counts of indecently assaulting an underage girl, over and above the 30-month term he was serving after pleading guilty to a range of other assaults over a 20-year period – will be published in May 

The review, which is being led by Dame Janet Smith, has interviewed 375 witnesses in connection with Savile and more than 100 in the Stuart Hall investigation.

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Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.