A body language expert has claimed that Jimmy Savile gave away his guilt 25 years before the sex scandal claims surfaced by eating a banana during a television interview.
In a new documentary special titled Faking It: Jimmy Savile, expert Cliff Lansley speaks about Savile’s interview with Andrew Neil in 1995, where half-way through he dug a banana out of his pocket and ate it.
Lansley strongly believes that this was Savile’s method of hiding the truth about abusing young girls.
For over five decades, Savile was the biggest name in British showbusiness. Flamboyant and unmistakable.
He was the face of some of the BBC’s most iconic programmes, including Top Of The Pops and Jim’ll Fix It.
While charismatic on screen, Savile kept private life to himself, allowing only brief glimpses behind the curtain, such as his 2000 documentary with filmmaker Louis Theroux.
In one of the most revealing interviews of his career, Savile joined journalist Neil for a conversation on Is This Your Life? where the host tried to scratch away at the truth behind Savile’s playboy image.
Straight away, Savile used his persona of the ‘zany DJ’ to avoid the questions, so instead, he took out a banana and ate it.
Speaking in the documentary, Lansley began: ‘What we can see as behaviourists, is that we can see signals of anxiety when he’s scared, and we’ll see what he’s thinking and feeling from his body.
‘Why have a banana prepared in your pocket and bring the banana out and eat it?
‘Because he knew he would get some difficult phases in the interview, and therefore having some props handy, would help him to counter that and get the audience engaged again. Get them on his side.’
Forensic Psychologist Kerry Daynes went on to add that during the interview Savile had ‘smoke and mirrors in place’.
She noted: ‘I mean what a use of a banana in order to avoid questions about his sex life.
‘Andrew Neil is a very well-respected interviewer but there’s a subtle pulling of rank there, as soon as the banana comes out, the question that he’s been asked leaves the mind of the audience. It’s a way of going, “look, look over there!”.’
For journalist Jonathan Maitland, Savile’s attempt to deflect Neil’s tricky questions was a deliberate move.
‘This is a guy who absolutely understood TV,’ he explained. ‘You could be asked the most difficult question in the world, but if you do something stupid you can get them off your back.’
It was only until after Savile’s death in 2011 that the abuse allegations against him came to light.
By 2012, police were pursuing 400 lines of inquiry based on testimony from 200 witnesses, describing abuse on an unprecedented scale.
Thanks to the testimony of survivors, the investigation into Savile – Operation Yewtree – was a watershed moment in how victims of sexual abuse are treated.
Faking It: Jimmy Savile is available to stream now exclusively on Discovery+
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