As one of the most famous personalities in English society, Jimmy Savile reached millions through his work as a disc jockey, radio host, and television host. Believed to be the first DJ to use twin turntables to have a constant supply of music, Savile quickly moved through a variety of roles in his profession, including work with Radio Luxembourg and Tyne Tees Television in 1958 and 1960, respectively. By 1964, he had produced the popular television program Top of the Pops; by 1975, he began presenting a program entitled Jim’ll Fix It, wherein he arranged for people’s wishes to come true. In addition, during his career, he was widely praised for his charitable work, including ample fundraising efforts for Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary, and Broadmoor Hospital. In 1971, he was honored with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; in 1990, he was knighted.
However, all of Savile’s positive contributions to the profession and to society as a whole were overshadowed by allegations of rampant sexual abuse. Almost a year after Savile died, numerous individuals made allegations of sexual abuse; thirteen different police forces were investigating charges by October 2012. Ultimately, the scale of victims and the abuse they claimed to have endured was described as being “on an unprecedented scale,” suggesting that Savile had been abusing victims for decades as part of a larger network of such practices; by December, there were 589 total victims, 450 of whom pointed the finger at Savile. A report published the following January identified 214 acts of abuse by Savile on 50 different victims; none were corroborated, but all were described as criminal activities despite being unable to prosecute Savile for his actions. While some allegations had been made against Savile during his life, none were able to be taken to trial as the victims’ stories could not be confirmed. The severity of the abuse that was discovered, though, led to the creation of an independent inquiry into sexual abuse of children and what could be done to address the problem before it reaches such systemic proportions again.