hat happens to a house after the monster that lived in it comes to light?
After Jimmy Savile died in 2011, the full scale of his crimes came out. Four-part drama The Reckoning is airing on the BBC on 9 October 2023, detailing his sex offences and the culture that allowed his behaviour to go unchallenged.
Savile’s many properties play a major role in The Reckoning, which is billed as a factual drama, and combines archival footage, talking head interviews, and dramatised scenes staring Steve Coogan as Savile.
One framing device used in the series includes scenes of Savile being interviewed by his biographer, journalist Dan Davies, at his penthouse flat in Leeds.
Also feaured in the programme, Savile survivor Susan details how the local celebrity assaulted her at his terraced house in Leeds in 1972, when she was aged 21.
A trainee optician, Susan requested by Savile for a home visit. When she arrived he locked the door and attacked her, before making her agree to an interview for his BBC Radio One programme.
In an interview with the Guardian, Susan described the house she was assaulted in as “disgusting”.
“There were dirty tracksuits on the floor, empty cornflakes boxes on the side. It was just horrible,” she said.
After his horrific deeds came to light, memorials to the disgraced DJ were unceremoniously scrapped.
Leeds, his hometown, scoured an inscription bearing his name off a memorial wall in its Civic Hall.
His headstone was removed the Woodlands Cemetery in Scarborough and taken to landfill, and the borough council took down a gold commemoration plaque and the footpath sign with his name on it.
But disposing of the property portfolio of a reviled public figure is more complicated, particularly when they have passed into private ownership.
Savile owned multiple properties around Leeds, Scarborough and Scotland.
Here’s what happened to them after his crimes were revealed posthumously.
Savile was born at Consort Terrace in 1926 and spent his childhood years there. Located in the studenty Burley area of Leeds, the redbrick house was a stop on the lavish funeral cortege held for Savile.
The house still stands, and a six-bed student house on the same street is currently on the market for £480,000.
Savile purchased the penthouse flat overlooking Roundhay Park in the 1970s and lived in it until he died there.
He reportedly asked the previous owner to leave all their furniture behind for him, including a distinctive white couch. There was reportedly no oven in the house, as Savile never cooked for himself.
Photographs of Savile at the three-bedroom apartment show him reclining in a mid-century-style chair against the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The scene has been recreated by Steve Coogan, who plays Savile in The Reckoning, in the promotional materials for the four-part series.
There has been at least one recorded allegation of abuse at the property.
It was also the location of the Friday Morning Club, a regular gathering for tea and cake hosted by Savile and attended by his friends – including members of the West Yorkshire police force.
Savile’s penthouse was reportedly bought by his former neighbours in 2013 for £250,000. It was sold again in 2014 for £300,000 and gutted.
However, in 2016 the penthouse was torn down and replaced as part of re-development plans.
The three-bedroom Scarborough flat purchased by Savile for his mother, who died in the property, also features in The Reckoning. Savile infamously preserved her bedroom there as a shrine.
Louis Theroux spent time with Savile during filming for his 2000 documentary When Louis Met Jimmy.
“I bought it because I liked it,” Savile told Theroux. “She came to live here because she liked it.”
Theroux commented on the suede wallpaper and the wardrobe full of regularly dry-cleaned clothes that belonged to Savile’s mother.
The road outside the flat was originally going to be renamed Savile’s view, but the revelations of Operation Yewtree put paid to that.
After his death the flat was bought by millionaire Sir Rodney Walker, who campaigned for the NSPCC, for the use of his grandchildren. Walker raised £25 million for the charity’s Full Stop campaign against child abuse.
Although the scandal delayed the deal, Walker went through with the purchase.“We are buying a piece of property. It could have belonged to anybody,” said Walker at the time.
“The only effect it had on me was to delay the completion of the sale and set me back about five months. There were no second thoughts.”
Savile purchased a two-bedroom cottage in Glencoe after spotting it on Scottish cycling holiday.
Called Allt-na-Reigh, it had once belonged to Hamish McInnes, a well-respected mountaineer who founded the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team.
The property has remain unoccupied since his death and has become a magnet for both vandals and ghoulish content makers who film their explorations of the abandoned house.
At least 20 incidents of abuse were recorded there.
It was bought at auction for £212,000 after his death, but the buyer never lived there.
Currently it is believed to be owned by the family of the businessman Harris Aslam, who bought it for a reported £350,000.
Aslam is reported to have consulted with the local community over the best way to remove the site’s association with its previous owner.
He hopes to demolish the house and replace it with a contemporary family home designed by the architect Jon Frullani, along with a memorial to McInnes.
Yes the property does have a dark history – but only for a certain period. I think we can do something really positive with it,” said Mr Aslam.
However, Mountaineering Scotland launched a complaint against the design, which they argue would negatively impact views of the surrounding highland landscape.
As of today the house still stands, while the Highland Council continues to review the planning application.