Chris Morris

Savile, McLaren, the Great Child Abuse Swindle of 1980 and beyond

Over the years, an assortment of musicians, authors, TV presenters, comedians and satirists have hinted at the old cliche of truth being stranger than fiction (just a whole lot less publishable) with regard to what was in circulation as to Savile’s abusive and sinister side:

“It’s common for fiction writers to get round issues of legality or taste by creating a composite figure with nudgingly familiar details. While Savile was still alive, the crime-writer Val McDermid featured a character called Jacko Vance (Savile’s middle-name was Vince) in the Wire in the Blood books. Played in the TV adaptations by John Michie, Vance is a much-loved Northern TV celebrity who hid a predilection for raping and torturing young women” (Mark Lawson, The Guardian, New Tricks: was the series finale actually about Jimmy Savile? 31 October 2012)

1. 1978: The Great Child Abuse Swindle, Johnny Rotten & what McLaren knew

2. 1984: Jilly Cooper, Barnes Common, Elm Guest House and the ‘Activities’

3. 1987: Jerry Sadowitz & Savile ‘an expert in child abuse’

4. 1988: Savile on BBC’s Open To Question facing an incisive audience of teenagers

5. 1994 (4th January and 26th December): Jeremy Hardy and Chris Morris mock Savile with very different outcomes

6. 1997 & 2011: Val McDermid & Jacko Vance ‘Wire in the Blood’ and ‘The Retribution’

7. 1996: Irvine Welsh & Freddy Royle in ‘Lorraine goes to Livingstone’

8. 1998: Skinner & Baddiel ITV’s Fantasy World Cup 

9. 1999: Terry Wogan comments on Savile ‘haunting the corridors’ of the BBC

10. 2007 (June – November): Angus Deayton ‘rapped’ or ‘censured’ for delivering scripted remarks?


1. 1978: The Great Child Abuse Swindle: Johnny Rotten & what McLaren knew about ‘corruption and hypocrisy that underlay Top of the Pops’

“It’s easier to list the people I don’t want to kill.”

“I’d like to kill Jimmy Savile. He’s a hypocrite. I’ve heard he’s into all kinds of seediness which we all know about but aren’t allowed to talk about. I know some rumours. Aren’t I a bitch,” sneers Johnny Rotten in his sullen whisper.

“I’ve seen how supposed antichrists turned into bourgeoisie, Bond Street shops, the McLarens have opened a new shop in Bond Street. Yes I find that really strange.”

In 1978 Savile, aged 51-52, was busy penning God’ll Fix It, and joining Lord Longford et al on their Porn report jaunts, having escaped unscathed from the BBC Payola report of Brian Neill QC in 1971, ending with Janie Jones prosecution in 1974 (whom Savile later quizzes on Myra Hindley offering his own opinion). Despite the tragic suicide of Clare Uffland (Savile abuse girl labelled ‘delusional’ after suicide˚) and the convenient loss of her diary,  Savile’s subsequent reckoning with God (or as God?), during his December 1976  ‘moment of enquiry’ at Qumran, Dead Sea, sees him as satisfied with the direction in which he has taken his life.

Post Sex Pistols Fred Vermorel gives an astonishing glimpse into McLaren’s agenda, specifically in fuelling the music industry’s interest in paedophilia with his 1980 launch of Bow Wow Wow and an attempt to launch a magazine called ‘Chicken’, formerly named ‘Playkids’:  From the Archives: ‘At the end they even stole his death’, Fred Vermorel, 24 March 2014 – GQ magazine

“I now saw Malcolm’s plot. This was to embroil EMI and everyone else in a paedophile sex scandal. That would make Bow Wow Wow even more notorious than the Sex Pistols.”

Maurice Oberstein (1928 – 2001), was credited as being one of the ‘chief Architects of the UK record industry’ (The Independent Obituary, 25 August 2001). Oberstein appears to have worked hard at creating an image of zany eccentricity and creative flair through a range of gimmicks. Below is a clip of Oberstein in 1985  at the Brit Awards with one of his dogs named after record executives he admired… and would pretend to take the advice of in business meetings – see Vermorel’s article for more on gimmicks used by Oberstein like ‘Talk to the hat’.

“[Malcolm’s] other agenda was a genuine contempt for the music industry. He used to say the music industry was run by child molesters, meaning it fiddled with the sexuality of young kids to peddle bands. And of course, that is true.

He would illustrate his point with a lurid anecdote of how one evening he and a companion visited the legendary CBS executive Maurice Oberstein at home.  Here, they found a young boy naked under a blanket on the sofa. Oberstein boasted he’d picked the boy up at a railway station. For Malcolm, that symbolised the corruption and hypocrisy that underlay Top of the Pops, and all the other music biz rigmarole.

But rather than denounce Oberstein, he sought to expose this latent industry paedophilia by exacerbating it. A situationist tactic that could also have been taken from the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, who commended “the ecstasy of making things worse.”

Malcolm just loved “making things worse.” At the expense of anyone in the way.  Including 12 -year-old girls and photographers. Including me.”

Billboard Magazine, 26 July 1980

Billboard Magazine, 26 July 1980


2. 1984: Jilly Cooper, Barnes Common, Elm Guest House and the ‘Activities’

“During the ten years she lived at the edge of Putney Common Jilly Cooper walked daily on this expanse of green. For most of the time she lived there she kept a diary, noting the effects of the changing seasons and writing about her encounters with dogs and humans. The book is a distillation of those diaries: an affectionate and enthralling portrait – warts and all – of life on Putney Common. Never has Jilly Cooper written more lyrically about flowers, trees, birds and the natural world; more tellingly about the sorrows – as well as the joys – of caring for dogs and children; or more outrageously about the gossip, illicit romances and jealousies of life in a small community.” [From the Amazon synopsis]

For the newspaper coverage during August 1982 see Spotlight: Elm Guest House (The History of a Cover-Up) and Spotlight: In 1981 police were already investigation ‘child pornography ring’ linked to trafficking and murder and Keith Vaz and the Mystery of Barnes Common

Putney Common merges into Barn Elms Playing Field which Elm Guest House, no 27 Rocks Lane faced onto (MPs and Judges visited Elm Guest House, Coroner’s Court told, Exaro, 15 December 2012 and Met told of Savile’s link to Elm Guest House, Exaro, 16 February 2014). Jilly Cooper moved to the Cotswolds in 1982 leaving London behind and had her first big hit in fiction with Riders in 1985.

Fronting as a gay-friendly B&B used by politicians such as Sir Cyril Smith and Sir Nicholas Fairbairn (Solicitor Advocate for Scotland under Thatcher- more on him as defence counsel for spies in Dunoon here) and with reported links to Savile, it is also alleged the B&B catered to celebrities and members of the Establishment across a variety of institutions as well, all suggesting the small quaint Edwardian Elm Guest House was the source of a fair amount of gossip amongst locals if not for what was going on behind the curtains, but for the mere fact of the possibility of spotting a famous face disappearing through a non-descript door. Not least it seems from the gay house share four doors down from no 27 who share the gossip about the Elm Guest House ‘activities’ and wish to make it clear that being gay does not equate to being a child abuser, a point always worth noting. Where are those neighbours now 30+ years later?


Jilly Cooper's The Common Years

 3. 1987: Jerry Sadowitz & Savile ‘an expert in child abuse’

Nine years later, in the midst of the Cleveland Child Abuse scandal and the year Savile turned  61, Jerry Sadowitz  “don’t fuck about, get an expert in, Jimmy Savile” (on which more to come from  Tony Really Loves Me, Sir Stuart Bell MP’s 2000 autobiography and his crassly titled When Salem came to the Boro published in 1989). In the 1997 documentary broadcast on Tuesday 27 May ‘The death of childhood’ was shown on Channel 4, it was reported that 93 of the 121 children at the centre of the affair had been fond by the courts to be at risk of abuse and yet, as has happened in Sir Stuart Bell’s Guardian Obituary from 13 October 2012 it still had to be edited for the repeated myth that the Cleveland Abuse Scandal was a lot of nonsense cooked up by social workers and doctors.


The Independent, 26 May 1997

The Independent, 26 May 1997


4. 1988: Savile on BBC’s Open To Question

Not strictly falling into the arena of artistic licence giving expression to truth when suppressed but more an example of where the Emperor’s New Ideology falls down like in the face of inquisitive youth, it was after all, the children who pointed out the Emperor was naked. A well-prepared 18-year old Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosts incisive questions from an audience of 16-18 year olds directed at Savile – the first of which suggests he is obsolete. At 11:40 a question is asked which places the programme at some point after Savile had been appointed to the Taskforce at Broadmoor, and turning Broadmoor into a holiday camp. Savile gets increasingly voluble and defensive to comments like  “you seem to be quite an egotist.” A tiny glimpse into what he would have been like had he ever been put on trial perhaps?

[What bike factory in Londonderry did Savile open?]

5. 1994 (4th January and 26th December): Jeremy Hardy and Chris Morris mock Savile with very different outcomes

Within seven years of Sadowitz making his biting comments on Cleveland, mocking Savile appeared to become a more mainstream sport during 1994, sandwiched between a brilliantly drafted letter published in The Independent (4th January 1994) by Jeremy Hardy who scathes his way through an obituary to Jim’ll Fix It and doesn’t hear a peep from Jimmy (now aged 67-68) –  to a fake obituary from Chris Morris on Boxing Day which sees Morris suspended from the BBC and starts 1995 with Savile suing the BBC for ruining his Christmas.

Dear Sir Jimmy Savile: A comedian’s words of valediction to the nation’s trusted uncle

“It is with great sadness that I hear of the demise of Jim’ll Fix It, the show that made children’s dreams come true, especially recurring nightmares about old men in track suits. We shall all miss that showcase for a great English eccentric, with his extrovert clothes and jewellery. I often think that if you had been an entertainer, you would have been a sort of heterosexual Quentin Crisp: the white hair, the baubles, the affected halting speech, the air of a time that has passed.

I stress your heterosexuality because, with all the speculation about the private life of Britain’s favourite bachelor, it has never been suggested in any quarter that your preference is for anything but the female. Indeed, you have regaled us with anecdotes about your dalliances, some of which happened in the middle of marathon races] You put the ‘fun’ in ‘fun run’.

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 16.43.15I always thought that if there had been a glamorous assistant on the show, you might have married. But it was never to be. Rather than have a family of your own, you became a trusted uncle to the nation’s children. In a way you are rather like God, only with money.

Over the years you have raised a great deal of money for charity. It might even be said that you made a career of it. I know you are rather modest about your good works, and a lot of the things you get up to never make the headlines, but perhaps it was your agent or publicist who let slip every so often that as well as being a fundraiser and jogger you also do unpaid work as a hospital porter, such is your love of pushing the disabled around.

You clearly adore those less fortunate than yourself, which means most of us. But people with disabilities have had a special place in your studio. You wanted to elevate them from the status of mere people and make them mascots for the nation, filling our screens as a reminder that, but for the grace of God, we could look like that too.

As an active Conservative, you wish to free them from the shackles of welfare and public provision, remove the stain of dignity and independence, return them to the private sector with only the munificence of patronage to grovel to. One request before you go. My little girl would like there to be a National Health Service when she grows up. Can you fix it for her?

Your friend,

Jeremy Hardy”

By August 1994 Morris had already been suspended for 2 weeks for a fake obituary of Michael Heseltine MP a (The Independent, 21 August 1994) and was now required to work pre-recorded as opposed to live on air. On Boxing Day during a 2 hour show Morris did a fake obituary on BBC Radio 1 stating Savile had died, going out with a bang a the end of 6 months, one wonders whether he always knew he’d have to save Savile till last due to his litigiousness? Savile sued the BBC claiming it ruined his Christmas.

I am intrigued to read “Grave concerns” [The Times, Joseph, Joe (4 March 1995)] where a programme called The Obituary Show on Channel 4 included Savile reading his own obituary. “Now it is being repeated and Savile dies for us once again.” Please, no one join in with Savile’s edging ever closer to his own Christly self-image building. Would be interesting to see what Savile’s self-assessment in his own obituary for the programme tells us twenty years after Qumran in 1976 and sixteen years prior to his actual death.

The Times, 4 March 1995

The Times, 4 March 1995


6. 1997 & 2011: Val McDermid & Jacko Vance ‘Reality may be like this’ says Ruth Rendell


“Val McDermid grew up in a Scottish mining community then read English at Oxford. She was a journalist for sixteen years, spending the last three years as Northern Bureau Chief of a national Sunday tabloid.” When McDermid met Savile in 1977 she was working for the Sunday People in Manchester. She’d been so struck by his barely masked air of menace,that twenty or so years later her encounter with Savile and the rumours constantly circling him helped her create the character of a serial killer masking his means to dispose of bodies in morgues with volunteer charity work.

In the early hours of the morning on 1 October 2012, a few days before the ITV Exposure programme on Savile was due to be broadcast (with newspapers speculating on Savile’s darker alter ego), Val McDermid, the Scottish crime author tweeted:

@valmcdermid@bindelj I had Savile very much at the front of my mind when I created Jacko Vance in The Wire in the Blood…5:35 AM – 1 Oct 12


She said: “When I was working as a journalist there was always stuff about Jimmy Savile and young girls and stories that he was a serial predator.

“But it was a story we could never stand up because we could never get enough credible witnesses or a critical mass of people to make it happen.

“There was always talk but we never got to the stage of interviewing people who could make claims against him.”

She eventually told the story in another way – by penning two books featuring Jacko Vance – a serial-killing sexual predator who works as a chat show host and who enjoys watching the terminally ill die in hospital.

Ms McDermid now admits she largely based the character of Vance on Savile when she created him for her book The Wire in the Blood.

She added: “Jimmy Savile was very much in my mind when I wrote that character.” I based psycho on Jimmy Savile says Val McDermid [The Daily Record 28 October 2012]

I’d never read any Val McDermid so I did what any ex-book club member short on time and not having read the book does during their lunchtime… peruse the amazon reviews hoping for a plot spoiler and in doing so came across this:

Amazon reviewers said:

“In this case, the serial killer is a high-profile public personality described as the third most trusted person in England. McDermid’s descriptions of the hunt for this murderer, including the tangents and false leads, are well done. On the down side, the reader may have trouble keeping track of the many characters with common English names. McDermid’s graphic portrayals of the killer’s brutality may churn some stomachs.”

But it’s fellow crime novelist, Ruth Rendell, who comes closest to the mark with her review of the book:

‘This is a shocking book, stunningly exciting, horrifyingly good.

It is so convincing that one fears reality may be like this and these events the awful truth’

Ruth Rendell

Well precisely, and never more so than now it’s been revealed just how many similarities between Jacko and Jimmy were inspired by the rumours circulating Savile at the time. An attempt at a plot precis, now having read the book (very good I’ll read others but this one is over-shadowed by presence of Savile which renders it unenjoyable):

Jacko Vance, the third most trusted person in England, is a celebrity based in Yorkshire like Savile. The action is set mostly in Leeds and also at the coast to the East (Scarborough/Whitby way?) Jacko shares a distinct hatred for women with Jimmy (barring Savile’s few exceptions, notably ‘The Duchess’) and was on the surface a genial do-gooding celebrity. Jacko’s darker motive in volunteering for the local hospital in the morgue was a key to the morgue for late night access to burn body parts, including his own victims he’d imprisoned, tortured and raped.

Savile’s Autobiography As it Happens: An excerpt on “Frying My Own Pal”

 “Things happen to me that don’t really happen to normal people. A friend of mine in the South of England died and I went along to his cremation. On such occasions I really try to be inconspicuous but I am very difficult to disguise. Sure enough, creeping in behind a handful of mourners I am spotted by an eagle-eyed gardner. A tap on the shoulder and I am invited, by nods and motions, behind the scenes to the business half of the crematorium. Politely showing an interest in the somewhat gruesome impedimenta I am offered the well meant but astounding job of frying my own pal. This I do, guided by the experts, and rake out his ashes an hour and twenty minutes and several cups of tea later.” (As it Happens, p.118)

“To emphasize the wide variety of my happenings a husband once said he admited the work I did so much, would I like to make love to his wife of less than a year? This is I declined, but at the other end of the spectrum, at a hospital I had just called in at, I was asked by the short-staffed head porter if I could lay out the remains of an old man who had just been burned to death and his next of kin were coming within the next hour. This job I accepted because after all these years in the hospital world I am now quite good at that sort of thing.” (p.119)

Savile had waxed lyrical about death and being near death, as well as happening to hang out at the morgue in his autobiography As it Happens(1974) – Dan Davies gets across the repetitive monotony of Savile’s recurrent anecdotes, each a little parable in cold fear in In Plain Sight (2014) – and so any author seeking inspiration would have been able to read of this from 1974 onwards.

Jimmy was originally asked to help with the radio at Leeds General Infirmary, instead requesting Joe Tyrer, Head General Porter let him work in the morgue. Joe accompanied Jimmy and The Duchess to Buckingham Palace for his OBE in 1972. As to what he got up to in the morgue, Paul Gambaccini

So despite certain marked similarities, the ‘outlandish’ suggestion of Jimmy being a serial killer who used his morgue access to cover up his own crimes and otherwise treat it as his own personal playground, plus the fact Jacko was described handsome and charming, was sufficient subterfuge to mask the parallels between them to both Jimmy and the rest of us.

Since that first tweet Val has kept on speaking to newspapers, loudly and clearly: Scottish crime writer Val McDermid – Leading Tory will be named as a paedophile alongside Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith (Daily Record, 30 August 2013)

7. 1996: Irvine Welsh & Freddy Royle in Lorraine Goes to Livingstone

Following Paul Gambaccini’s revelations regarding Savile’s necrophiliac interests of 23 October 2012 live on air and much to Nicky Campbell’s consternation, less than 3 weeks after the ITV programme exposing Savile, The Evening Standard published Irvine Welsh model Ecstasy necophiliac on Jimmy Savile? (Evening Standard, 24 October 2012) as a number of twitter users started to comment on the similarities in an Irvine Welsh novella they’d read.  A character in Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy: Three tales of chemical romance novel, written in 1996, published in 1997, in the first section called Lorraine Goes to Livingstone, was the necrophiliac blackmailer Freddy Royle. In an interview with VICE magazine (31 October 2013) Welsh confirmed that he’d “heard some stories from people who work in the hospitals about Savile” and “it was also interesting to me that he was too big to take down.” (Irvine Welsh doesn’t regret choosing life, Nathalie Olah, VICE, 31 October 2013)

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 09.45.46

VICE Magazine, 31 October 2013, Irvine Welsh doesn’t regret choosing life

“..Freddy Royle, a necrophiliac TV personality. The hospital trustees turn a blind eye to Freddy’s nefarious pastime but have to do some fast talking when the new coroner begins asking questions.” Irvine Welsh

Rebecca Navarro, best-selling authoress of Regency romances, suffers a paralysing stroke. Assisted by her nurse Lorraine, originally from St Hubbins hospital, Rebecca plans her revenge on her unfaithful husband, Perky. Freddy Royle, hospital trustee, celebrity and necrophiliac, volunteers at the hospital and pays off morgue staff in order to abuse corpses. Perky and Royle run into one another at a Soho bookshop they chat casually over selecting porn.

When a famous rugby player dies at the hospital, the new pathologist Geoffrey Clements draws the attention of Alan Sweet, to the fact that the rugby player has been anally raped after death. Alan attempts to imply semen present would be due to changing room antics but Clements demands an inquiry. Alan and Freddy choloroform Clements and video him drugged being sexually assaulted/raped by two prostitutes as blackmail material.

As early as 1996 rumours of Savile’s necrophiliac driven desire for access to morgues was already in circulation since interestingly, both McDermid and Welsh choose to set scenes focusing on where, until recent reports of Savile’s necrophiliac activities, mainstream media was choosing not to go.


“Let me dwell on the phenomenon of being famous. I’ve not really had much time to think of it before. When I was ordinary I used to go to a turkish bath in Leeds. Sitting in the steam room would be an assortment of glistening, naked men. I used to wonder, why is that naked body rich and that one not? They look so alike now. It was easy to see why a rugby player was not a rugby player. God had just dished out a heavier or more muscular body than the norm. But why should one naked body command respect from another and what was the charisma that put one man well above his neighbour when we all sweated the same. I searched long for the answer.” (As It Happens, Savile, 1974, p. 75)


Nigel Hards, a former Thomas Cook employee in the Peterborough Telegraph 1 November 2011 – “recounted how Savile liked working at the mortuary at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, ‘because he thought it would be easier for loved ones if he was there when they came in.” (In Plain Sight, Dan Davies, Loc 7572). See further on my question as to whether Savile was on duty the night his old dancehall colleague from Ilford Palais, Bert Ambrose, was brought into Leeds General Infirmary Accident & Emergency?


8. 1998: Skinner & Baddiel ITV’s Fantasy World Cup – reminiscing on Skinner’s previous Savile

A letter from the mother of an 8 year old girl is read out asking when Skinner’s  Jimmy Savile World Cup comment slot would return as a feature of the show – Baddiel replies – “Jimmy Savile loves 8 year old girls don’t they, I won’t go on” and Skinner retorts “Jimmy Savile will love her slot, that’s what I’m saying”, and then proceeds to do a Jimmy Savile impression, which they then re-run with Skinner dressed up for full effect.

We need to talk about Jimmy: David Baddiel on why we shouldn’t let the Savile scandal sour the mood of a nation (Daily Mail, 29 December 2012).

9. 1999: Terry Wogan quips on Savile ‘haunting the corridors’ of BBC’s Broadcasting House

“I’ve heard stories of a strange haunted looking figure walking the corridors of Broadcasting House late at night, making a weird wailing noise, but enough of Jimmy Savile…”

10. 2007 (June – November): Angus Deayton ‘rapped’ or ‘censured’ for delivering scripted remarks?

Deayton rapped for Jimmy Savile gag (The Guardian, John Plunkett, Monday 5 November 2007)

Angus Deayton has been censured by the BBC for making a “pungently personal” joke about Sir Jimmy Savile and his late mother.

Deayton made the remark on BBC1 panel show Would I Lie To You?, his most high-profile job for the BBC since he was sacked from Have I Got News For You? five years ago.

“Sir Jimmy is quite keen on seeing how blue mouldy bits develop,” said Deayton.

“That’s why he stayed with his mum so long after she died. The blue bit in cheese is in fact a living fungus that smells slightly off and serves no useful purpose – much like Sir Jimmy himself nowadays.”

But not all the audience appeared to appreciate the joke. Nor did one of the show’s two regular team captains, Lee Mack, who told Deayton: “I am sorry but that is well out of order.”

The BBC’s editorial complaints unit intervened following a complaint from a viewer who said the joke had exceeded the bounds of acceptability.

“The scripted remarks, which focused on Sir Jimmy’s age and stories which had been current at the time of his mother’s death more than 25 years ago, were out of keeping with the tone of the preceding material and more pungently personal than warranted by his position in the public eye,” the ECU said.

The complaints unit, which deals with serious complaints about breaches of the BBC’s editorial standards, upheld the viewer’s complaint.

Deayton’s joke was included in an episode of Would I Lie To You? broadcast on BBC1 on July 28 this year.

It followed a part of the show in which guest panellist Claudia Winkleman admitted once writing to Jim’ll Fix It to ask to meet Abba.

She was offered the chance to find out how the blue bits were made in cheese instead.

The ECU said the issue would be discussed with the show’s producers – it is made by Zeppotron, part of Big Brother producer Endemol – and added the episode would not be repeated in its present form.”

Would I lie to You? (broadcast on 28th June 2007) was Deayton’s first re-appearance after 5 years largely spent in the televisual-panel-quiz-show-genre-wilderness following his sacking from the BBC for  a scandal involving prostitutes and cocaine use. If the Savile rumours were now ‘old news’ they’d circulated so widely, you’d see how one might feel a little narked at the hypocrisy if Savile’s behaviour appears to be puzzlingly both tolerable and employable by the BBC, especially as when made clear by the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit’s response, the remarks were scripted in any event?