Louis Theroux is to make a second BBC documentary on Jimmy Savile in an attempt to discover how the disgraced former DJ was able to hide his crimes.
The film-maker first visited the subject 15 years ago in one of his best-known documentaries, When Louis Met Jimmy. He has since said he felt a burden of responsibility for failing to unmask Savile as a child abuser.
During the three months of filming in 1999 and 2000, Theroux struck up a friendship with Savile that lasted until 2004, even occasionally staying at his home. This time, the BBC said, Theroux will speak to Savile’s friends, family and victims to discover how he was able to commit his crimes.
“At the time, he knew there was more to him than met the eye and, while he succeeded in showing a different side of Jimmy Savile, the darkest side of this hugely complex celebrity eluded him,” the BBC said.
While Theroux was unable to fully expose the truth about Savile in that first film, he did confront him over sexual abuse allegations. The BBC has since faced questions over why it did not investigate Savile in the light of the issues raised by Theroux’s film.
Earlier this year, Theroux said he had been trying to work out how he missed the truth about Savile, which finally came to light in 2012. “I feel a sense of responsibility,” he said.
Speaking on the comedian Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre podcast, he said: “I think none of us wants to believe that someone we know is a sex offender. I knew when I was making it there was his sexual side that I had not fully understood.”
The BBC said that Theroux would try to “understand the personality of a man who was able to commit such a spectrum of sexual crimes; how someone he once called a friend used his celebrity status to commit these crimes; and how the power of this public image afforded him immunity”.
It added: “Louis will also explore the impact those crimes had on his victims, and the legacy of their revelations. How exactly did Jimmy Savile get away with it for all those years?”
Kim Shillinglaw, the controller of BBC2, said she was pleased to see Theroux “revisiting this important – and deeply personal - subject for us, asking difficult questions about the life of Jimmy Savile and those around him and exploring the impact his crimes had on his victims”.