Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story Trailer: Netflix Takes On A Stomach-Churning Subject

Every now and again, a Netflix docuseries comes along that's so serious in its subject matter, it makes the running jokes about the streamer's penchant for kooky and bizarre true crime series stop dead in their tracks. "Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story" looks to be one of those. This isn't about a "Tinder Swindler," or a "Bad Vegan," but a man who allegedly harmed hundreds of people while maintaining tremendous public goodwill.

European viewers may register the name Jimmy Savile instantly, but for anyone who didn't grow up with the philanthropist and TV personality, this trailer comes as a shock. The first footage of a new Netflix series starts off by presenting a quick run-through of Savile's backstory, before revealing that he was ultimately accused of profound and prolific sexual abuse.

A sickening revelation

Initially, the trailer seems to be presenting a typical biographical documentary. "A big question I get asked," Savile says in stock footage, while lounging on a couch smoking a cigar, "is when did it all start? And why?" The first half of the two-minute trailer shows Savile, who worked as a DJ as well as on shows like "Top of the Pops," waving to adoring fans and visiting sick children. In archival footage and photographs, we see him hobnobbing with The Beatles, Margaret Thatcher, and more. Then the tone takes a sharp turn.

As the trailer unfolds, Savile's universal adoration is intercut with sickening information about the abuse allegations against him, many of which seemed to revolve around his hospital volunteer work. Supposedly comedic moments, like one in which he jokes about a photo a child drew of him as a monster, suddenly become stomach-churning. The trailer is incredibly effective at relaying the shock of the story for anyone unfamiliar, as it splices together footage and commentary about the man being knighted and meeting a Pope alongside news stories about his alleged crimes.

As heavy as all of this is, I appreciate Netflix committing to stories that clearly serve a larger purpose than a casual binge-watch. The streaming company has doggedly covered disturbing sexual abuse cases before, with projects like religious abuse series "The Keepers" and the stranger-than-fiction documentary "Abducted in Plain Sight." It's important to not hold these devastating stories in the same conversation with some of the more inconsequential, hook-based docuseries Netflix has since become known for.

"Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story" will premiere on Netflix on April 6, 2022.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).