From The Vaults


Ever since the Jimmy Savile scandal broke, the one question that has been asked but never satisfactorily answered is how he got away with it for so long. Warren Ellis has recounted a conversation he had in the late 80s/early 90s about tabloids, celebrity scandal and Jimmy Savile.

This person had, I think, just finished telling me about the special Vault kept at The Sun newspaper, where they put all the stuff about “celebrities” that they can’t print but might like to use one day. They’d pay off the people who brought these things to them – the one example I remember was a guy who’d bought a flat from a TV presenter and, upon moving in, found explicit Polaroids of said TV presenter stuffed behind a fitted wardrobe, and, like any scumbag would, took them to The Sun to sell – and put the materials in the Vault. The cover story about the Vault was that The Sun were protecting our beloved celebrities from themselves. But everyone knew what the Vault was really there for.

My drinking companion had, I think, just finished telling me about this – unless that was someone else, some other time, because, hey, drunk – and, after another drink, said, “and then there’s Jimmy Savile.”

The unnamed source goes on to detail the rumours that are now in the public domain (paedophilia as well as necrophilia). With so many stories swirling around him, how did Savile continue as if there was nothing amiss?

“Go on, then. Now you know about Jimmy Savile. What’re you going to do about it? Knowing that you’re going to cut off tens of millions to, for argument’s sake, a children’s hospital if you shop the bastard. Ignoring for a moment that he’s also probably been shagging kids in a BBC broom closet since 1964 and everyone’s been saying ‘Oh, that’s just Jimmy and his funny ways.’ Ignoring for a moment that he did those ‘This Is The Age Of The Train’ TV ads for the fucking Government. Ignoring what it’d do to the families of the dead, let alone the alive. Ignoring that he’s met the Queen, he’s odds-on for a fucking knighthood, he visits Thatcher at Chequers every New Year’s Eve and everyone your age still fucking deifies him because of Jim’ll Fix It. The charity work that buys him access to kids alive and dead also saves thousands more kids every year. What’re you going to do?”

What would you do?

Jimmy Savile and the Price of Silence (Warren Ellis, Vice)

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