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Line Of Duty Fans Shocked At Jimmy Savile Reference In Season 6

Line Of Duty Fans Shocked At Jimmy Savile Reference In Season 6

The BBC cop drama referenced the infamous paedophile in its season 6 plot.

Joanna Freedman

Joanna Freedman

Line Of Duty season 6 returned to screens last night, and fans were surprised when paedophile Jimmy Savile cropped up in the investigation into Gail Vella's death.

In a plot twist nobody was expecting, Jim'll Fix It presenter Savile - whose horrific child sex abuse came to the surface back in 2012 - was brought up in the BBC One hit series.

As Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) watched footage of investigative journalist Gail Vella (Andi Osho) covering Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank's court case, ties to a child sex abuse ring were uncovered.

During the court case, it was also alleged that senior officers could be involved in the abuse ring, and Savile's crimes.

The disgraced TV frontman came up on the BBC drama (
BBC)

"A jury found retired Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank guilty of all charges. What that jury didn't hear, and only now am I allowed to report, are allegations Patrick Fairbanks suppressed police investigations into child sexual exploitation that transcended local political figures such as counsellor Dale Roche," Vella says in the news report.

"It's now a matter of public record that Jimmy Savile cultivated relationships with senior police officers. Savile exploited those relationships to intimidate anyone attempting to investigate his offending.

"We now realise what Savile was getting out of those relationships with senior police officers, but what remains unknown, and uninvestigated, is what those officers were getting out of their relationship with Savile".

Noting Vella's knowledge could ruin the lives of many, Arnott then suggested she could have been anybody's target, from someone in the world of organised crime to a child abuser - or even a bent senior police officer.

Vella's report meant she was a target for many (
BBC)

Since his death, over 450 people have spoken out against Savile and accused him of abuse or attempted abuse when they were minors.

After Savile's mention in the documentary, fans were surprised, especially given that it was a BBC drama, and the DJ spent his whole life going undetected for his crimes, in no small part thanks to the glory he had built from his continued work on shows on the channel.

'Jimmy Savile, I bet nobody had that on their #LineofDuty bingo card!," one person wrote after the episode aired.

While another wrote: "Did "Line of Duty" actually go there with the mention of Jimmy Savile.... Really!!! #LineOfDuty".

"A Savile storyline? Poor taste to put it politely," a third wrote.

AC-12 watched Vella's report (
BBC)

As a fourth concurred: "As much as I love Line of Duty using Jimmy Savile as part of the plot is appalling. Using a known peado like Saville in perhaps the most watched show on TV is a serious error of judgment and the shows a real lack of sensitivity from the BBC #LineOfDuty".

Some viewers were more forgiving, however, suggesting the real life references only added to the realism of the dark plot.

Former IRL Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal said: "Jimmy Savile has been involved in more criminal conspiracies than anyone I've ever dealt with - real & fictional No surprise he turns up in #LineOfDuty".

While another viewer wrote: "Really interesting how there are elements of real criminal cases in this series of #LineOfDuty - eg Jimmy Savile, Jill Dando, Daniel Morgan. It all adds to the realism, and I dare say is writer Jed Mercurio using the show to channel some quite specific social commentary".

Featured Image Credit: PA