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Movies PopWrapped | Movies

James McAvoy Denies Interest In Playing Disgraced British DJ

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


10/02/2013 12:22 pm
PopWrapped | Movies
James McAvoy Denies Interest In Playing Disgraced British DJ
Media Courtesy of Jake Walters for The Observer

Shelby Arnold & Kirsty Wallace

Staff Writer & Content Editor

James McAvoy is quite the actor, having played a wide variety of roles including Charles Xavier, it seems like his range and talents could lead him to anything. Except playing the disgraced British DJ Jimmy Saville. Irvine Welsh, the writer of the new movie Filth, said in an interview that McAvoy expressed interest in playing the late DJ and television presenter, after allegedly discussing the subject of child abuse on the set of the movie. McAvoy apparently said to Welch “If you ever write a script about it, I'd love to play Jimmy Savile.” Jimmy Saville was a well-known DJ and TV personality in the UK, having hosted Top of the Pops in the 1970’s and hosting TV show Jim’ll Fix It during the 1980’s.  Saville was also a well-respected charity fundraiser who raised millions of pounds for Leeds General Infirmary and Stoke Mandeville hospitals in the UK.  There was always an air of eccentricity to Saville, who never married and kept his mother’s room as a shrine following her death.  However, in 2012 a year after his death, allegations of abuse at the hands of the entertainer began to be reported to the police dating back to 1964.  Many of his victims never spoke out at the time because Saville was a powerful force within the industry and they feared they would not be believed.  The Metropolitan Police force set up “Operation Yewtree” in order to investigate the allegations and several other high profile arrests were made as a result.  The total number of allegations against Saville currently stands around 214 and include “34 rapes across 28 police forces” some against people who had special educational needs, and the physically disabled. The fall-out from these allegations have also called into question the actions of the BBC who were Saville’s employer at the time of the alleged attacks and also hospital chiefs who allowed Saville unsupervised access to children. Welsh wrote a short story in his 1996 anthology Ecstasy called “Lorraine Goes To Livingston” which tells the story of Freddy Royle a children’s TV presenter who turns out to be a pedophile and necrophiliac, who commits the offences whilst doing hospital charity work.  This story was published over 15 years before the offences against Saville were made public however there were a number of rumours regarding Saville for many years.  Welsh is keen to make it clear in an interview with Radio Times that he had “nothing to do with the hospital services, or NHS Trusts, or the BBC”.  In the same article he also clarified the similarities between the short story and what came to be known about Saville; "So how come I knew this rumour about Jimmy Savile, this eccentric British institution? There must have been so much stuff on the grapevine. But there was a whole culture then of not addressing these issues." Since Welsh's statement to the Radio Times, McAvoy's publicist has publicly denied that the actor said anything of the sort. “James did not make that statement. He has never expressed interest in playing the role of Jimmy Savile.” Filth, a story about a vice riddled detective in Scotland, opens in UK cinema on October 4th.


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