Two-and-a-half years after the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal rocked the BBC, the broadcaster has commissioned a feature-length documentary that will look at the impact of predatory attacks on survivors, including those assaulted by the former Top Of The Pops host. Abused: The Untold Story will examine how the Savile scandal, and arrests stemming from the official police inquiry that followed, Operation Yewtree, changed people’s understanding of child abuse. It’s due to air next year.
The BBC says that after the horrific revelations in the Savile case, and spurred on by Operation Yewtree, many people finally felt able to come forward and speak out. The film will feature exclusive interviews with many of those individuals as well as their families and the professionals who have supported them. Abused: The Untold Story is intended to shine a light on the crimes and explore how and why they were allowed to happen, unchecked, for such a long period of time.
Separately, a report into how the late Savile and another ex-BBC host, Stuart Hall, carried out abuse while at the corporation is to be published in May. It was commissioned by the BBC in 2012 to review the culture and practices at the broadcaster during the years Savile and Hall worked there. More than 475 witnesses were interviewed for the report.
The criminal investigation, Operation Yewtree, began in late 2012 after the allegations against Savile first surfaced publicly. It looked not only at the former BBC star, but also others in the media, resulting in the convictions of such well-known personalities as former pop star Gary Glitter, and BBC TV host Rolf Harris. A separate investigation led to jail time for Hall. The Giving Victims A Voice report released as part of Operation Yewtree in 2013 said Savile used the celebrity he earned through high-profile BBC hosting gigs to gain access to children and dupe institutions, including the BBC itself, into failing to spot his crimes. He was found to have committed 214 criminal offenses against children and young people — some as young as 8. The report at the time said he carried out offenses on BBC premises from 1959 up until the last Top Of The Pops recording in 2006.
BAFTA-winning director Olly Lambert (Syria: Across The Lines) is helming Abused: The Untold Story for BBC One. Minnow Films is producing. Executive producers are Colin Barr (Our War) and Clare Sillery for the BBC.