Louis Theroux heard rumours about sex offender Jimmy Savile when he was a child

Louis Theroux interviewed Jimmy Savile in 2000. (Getty)
Louis Theroux interviewed Jimmy Savile in 2000. (Getty)

Louis Theroux has told how he remembers hearing rumours about Jimmy Savile when he was growing up in the 80s.

The documentary-maker questioned the former Top Of The Pops host about the rumours when he interviewed him for his When Louis Met programme in 2000 - several years before Savile was exposed as a prolific sex offender.

But he said he had first heard gossip about the Jim’ll Fix It star long before that.

He told The Independent: “Growing up in the 1980s, the idea that Jimmy Savile might be a paedophile or a necrophile, it occupied the same drawer as the idea that a pop star had his stomach pumped and they found 10 pints of semen, or that a Hollywood actor had a rodent removed from his rectum.

“Both of them are rumours that are not true. That Jimmy Savile goes around fiddling with kids – I thought that was in the same category.”

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Sir Jimmy Savile attends the ceremony to name Cunard's new cruise-liner Queen Elizabeth II in Southampton Docks in Southampton, England.
Jimmy Savile is thought to be one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders. (PA)

Theroux said it later struck him as odd that most children heard the rumour in playgrounds in the 80s, so he imagined those in the media would have heard the rumours too.

The TV star spent a week with Savile in 2000, interviewing him for his documentary series.

In one scene he asked Savile why he had said he didn't like children, and Savile explained it was to put people thinking he was a paedophile off the scent.

"I know I'm not (a paedophile)," Savile told Theroux.

Savile’s crimes were not exposed until after he died in 2011 at the age of 84.

Sir Jimmy Savile at the Help the Aged NPI Awards in London. 09/03/2004: The veteran charity worker is planning to build what is thought to be the world's first specialist spinal unit for children, it emerged, Tuesday March 9, 2004. The 77-year-old fundraiser aims to collect   500,000 for the four-bed unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury.
Jimmy Savile died in 2011. (PA)

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Theroux has since revisited his documentary and in 2019 said his interview with the presenter was “the strangest and most upsetting event” of his career.

The broadcaster also said that his experience with Savile, knowing what he knows now, had given him a “strange sense” of responsibility when it came to standing by other victims.

Savile is now believed to be one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.

Watch: Coleen Nolan claims Jimmy Savile invited her to his hotel when she was 14