How Jimmy Savile used a banana to evade questions about his personal life


It is worth watching this YouTube video. It is a programme called “Is this your life?” made by Open Media for Channel 4 in 1995. In it, Andrew Neil quizzes Jimmy Savile on a whole range of topics. In hindsight, it is a remarkable display of the evasion techniques that Savile used to avoid questions about his private life. At a key point in the questioning about his relationship with women, Savile suddenly produces a banana and eats it, finishing by holding the remains in his mouth. Andrew Neil is no slouch when it comes to interviewing. He makes an excellent job of trying to pin down Savile. But he seems a little off-beam at one point (again, with hindsight). The insinuation of his questioning is, in one respect, that Savile had relationships with men and used his allusions to relationships with women as a smokescreen.


  1. In hindsight, a master class in evasion and obfuscation. It’s almost worthy of using it in some advanced media training classes on how to use humour, bonhomie and props to avoid the awkward body language when a straight answer is required.

  2. I watched quite a few minutes of it, starting a few minutes before the banana came out. Jimmy Savile did not in this interview avoid questions on his private life, quite the opposite in fact, he played up to it and encouraged Andrew Neil to press further and led him on a merry dance. I would guess it was also agreed in advance that Andrew Neil would question him at some length on his private life.

    This is not a probing interview by somebody who wants to dig deep with a suspicion that something is not quite as it should be, it’s entertainment pure and simple. However there are a couple of clues that all is not OK. In the clip with Charles Hillington (I think it is) he refers to girls 16 and above. Secondly Jimmy states he doesn’t like girls that know too much. Hmmmm.

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