Others including his own mother, played expertly by Gemma Jones, knew he was a liar – and suspected him of much worse – but failed to speak out as they were seduced by his wealth and fame.
The four-part series starring Steve Coogan began last night and shows how the broadcaster became a sex monster who hid in plain sight.
Episode one begins with Savile and his wingman, fellow abuser Ray Teret, grooming young girls after picking them up at club nights in Leeds, where staff helped grab victims off the dance floor so the DJs could attack them.
BBC executives are shown ignoring warnings about Savile’s character because they were desperate for him to host Top of the Pops, a show Savile used as a cover to abuse countless people including children. Even when one 15-year-old killed herself after he raped her, the Beeb’s bosses still stood by him because TotP was a ratings hit.
And even his mother, who he worshipped and called The Duchess, tells a priest of his ‘sins’ and the ‘terrible darkness in him’.
These are real life characters who appear in The Reckoning, the actors who played them, and what they were like in real life:
BAFTA-winning actress Gemma Jones plays Agnes Kelly, the mother of Jimmy Savile. She died in 1972, a time where her son was prolifically abusing women and children.
In The Reckoning Savile’s mother, whom he called ‘The Duchess’, is repeatedly shown being disapproving of her son’s behaviour, clothing and lifestyle.
In one scene she confesses to a Catholic priest that she didn’t love him and that her sixth son was an unhappy accident.
She also admits: ‘I worry that there is terrible darkness in him’ – and that he has committed mortal sins – grave acts that can lead to damnation if a person does not repent.
But later in the episode she accepts a new home from him by the sea in Scarborough and before her death she was delighted and ‘proud’ when he received an OBE and presented Songs of Praise.
Savile claimed before his death that she was unable to give him much affection when he was growing up, but hinted at some understanding between mother and son, saying that after she raised him for the first half of his life, he raised her as he became older and more independent.
In a 2011 interview with The Sunday People he said: ‘My mother never got round to being proud. If anyone said, “What is Jimmy like?” she would say, “I don’t know what he’s up to, but he’s up to something”.
Ray Teret was Jimmy Savile’s friend, co-conspirator, chauffeur and later a convicted sex attacker.
Teret, a former Radio Caroline DJ who had nicknames including The Rat and ‘Ugli Ray’, was mentored by Savile in the 1960s.
The pair became so close that people referred to Teret as Savile’s ‘shadow’ and drove the star around the country in the 1960s and 1970s.
He used his celebrity status in the Manchester club scene in the 1960s and 1970s to prey on many of his victims.
In 2014 he was found guilty of seven rapes and 11 indecent assaults on girls as young as 13. Teret was acquitted of assisting Savile to rape an alleged victim, but was found guilty of raping the same complainant himself.