Savile abuse survivor reveals how he targeted her in hospital church

Jimmy Savile abuse survivor Sam Brown says she feels sorry for ‘that little girl’ after watching her own story in BBC drama The Reckoning – revealing how he would target her as she reached for the collection plate in hospital church

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A woman who was abused by Jimmy Savile from the age of 11 until she was 13, after she met him in the chapel at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, says watching herself as a little girl on screen in new BBC drama The Reckoning was ‘difficult’. 

Speaking yesterday ahead of the first episode of the four-part series, which sees Steve Coogan playing Savile, she told Woman’s Hour how Savile targeted her after spotting that she took the collection plate around every week at the hospital’s Saturday evening church service.   

Savile died in October 2011 aged 84 having never been brought to justice for his crimes – the drama recounts the story of the disgraced children’s entertainer’s upbringing, his early career and horrific child sex offences, and has faced a backlash from some of his victims.

Brown, who’s married with children, told Woman’s Hour host Emma Barnett that she was abused ‘continuously’ after first meeting Savile. 

Steve Coogan playing paedophile Jimmy Savile in new BBC drama The Reckoning, the first episode of which aired last night

Abuse survivor Sam Brown appeared on Woman’s Hour ahead of the first episode, saying she ‘felt sorry’ for the little girl she saw on screen as her own story of abuse was retold

Savile, who died in October 2011 aged 84 having never been brought to justice for his crimes, 

She explained how her family went to church on Saturday evenings every week and it became her job to take the collection at the service, which Savile would attend every few weeks.

She says she ‘sensed a power’ in Savile and ‘knew straight away that he was going to touch me in ways I didn’t like to be touched. 

She said the paedophile ‘was very good at doing taster sessions to see who he could do what to.’

Brown said Savile silenced her such was his depraved behaviour, saying: ‘I had to stretch past him to get a collection plate in church – I could see everyone in the congregation. I turned around, he’d touch my shoulders and my back. 

‘When he used to put his whole fingers and his whole hands into my mouth, there was no plainer way for him to tell me I had no voice. I had no voice, I had no power.’

Brown told Woman’s Hour host Emma Barnett that the abuse began when she was 11-and-a-half after Savile attended church on a Saturday evening at Stoke Mandeville Hospital at the same time as she and her family did

Revealing how Savile would often put his fingers and whole hand into her mouth, she said ‘There was no plainer way for him to tell me I had no voice’ – and that she grew up feeling ‘invisible’

Brown said the abuse left her feeling ‘invisible, unimportant, I wasn’t really a person’. 

She also told the programme that she hoped it would awaken people to the fact that children are still abused daily, saying: ‘I want everybody to learn. I worked for Social Services and people think this is something that only happens now and then. Abuse of children is every single day – kids are being brought into care daily who have been used and abused.’

Brown also appeared on GMB on Tuesday, revealing what it was like being involved in the making of the controversial drama. 

Ms Brown told Susanna Reid and Ed Balls that she felt invincible until during filming, when she first saw Steve Coogan dressed as her abuser, and did not realise she was speaking out loud her thoughts of panic.

The four-part series is being screened by the BBC, despite backlash from victims of the sex offender

Steve Coogan filming the BBC drama ‘The Reckoning’ as he plays the part of paedophile Jimmy Savile

‘When I saw that child, when me and my husband Jim just watched it by ourselves, I felt really sad for that little girl’

She revealed how Coogan had tried to reassure her saying: ‘Sam, I’m in dress, I’m in character, I’m not him. Remember I’m acting.’ 

Ms Brown also spoke about what it was like when she first saw actor Steve Coogan as Savile on set.

‘I kind of thought that I’m a bit invincible and everyone was saying “have you thought about how this is going to feel” and I was like “Yeah no problem”.

‘Then there was a graveyard scene, so he [Steve Coogan] began to walk up to us and inside of my head I was screaming like “Give me a minute, give me a minute, step back.” 

‘I was doing all of this in my head, not realising that this was coming out of my mouth, I didn’t even know I was saying this.’

When Susanna asked Ms Brown what it is like to see what she went through represented on screen in the new drama, she revealed: ‘I am an adult looking back on a child, with my adult views.

‘It started when I was about eleven and this went on for about three years. When I saw that child, when me and my husband Jim just watched it by ourselves, I felt really sad for that little girl. 

‘I really felt sad for her and Jim was like, “Well that’s you”. But it was quite a lot to see me as a child because I looked at her as a child.’

‘You’re not having that opportunity to learn and this is very relevant to all the other groomers. The pattern is the same.’

Ms Brown, who was abused by Jimmy Savile at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Church, spoke to Susanna Reid and Ed Balls 

The Reckoning, which will trace the disgraced former star’s upbringing, his early career and prolific child sex offences, finished filming in January 2022 (Jimmy pictured in 2006)

Savile, who died before his ‘monstrous’ crimes were exposed, hid in plain sight and abused his position as a TV star to prey on vulnerable children and get close to them. 

Allegations against Savile indicate that he sexually assaulted more than 400 people over a 54-year span, with his victims ranging from five to 75 years old.

READ MORE: BBC deny their controversial Jimmy Savile drama has been delayed after it was claimed ‘bosses were urging more focus to be placed on the victims’


The BBC’s decision to chronicle Savile’s life has received backlash from victims who feared the drama would exploit their pain for ratings and glorify his crimes.

The public service broadcaster has said it worked with his some of his victims to portray the story ‘with sensitivity and respect’. 

Ms Brown said she wants The Reckoning to be a hard watch ‘because this wasn’t easy for us guys and if it isn’t a hard watch, you aren’t coming away with anything. 

‘You’re not having that opportunity to learn and this is very relevant to all the other groomers. The pattern is the same.’

She also shared why she believed that Savile was able to get away with his crimes for so long. 

‘Do you know what, I think it is the same with any groomer, they have an absolute charm.

‘He had a charm to everyone else, not to me. I knew that when I walked into that little presbytery room, that I had to go in and get the collection plate from, I knew when I walked in there that he filled that room with power and I couldn’t look up.’

When Ed asked Ms Brown why she didn’t think she was brave, she said: ‘I don’t think I am brave, I use all of these opportunities for everyone that can’t. That’s not bravery, that’s my job.

‘I feel strongly enough to do this and my life is to do this. We all kind of think that everyone looks at us and kind of thinks we are a bit rubbish and you know we aren’t really worth much and that is what you feel like. 

‘I want everyone at home to know that… We are strong and we have succeeded as people, that’s really important for me.’

In August the first official still for the new drama was released ahead of its broadcast 

READ MORE: How did Jimmy Savile get found out? A timeline of the paedophile BBC DJ’s horrific sex crimes that took years to expose due to TV star’s unequivocal influence


When asked what Ms Brown would say to the people who ‘allowed’ Savile’s abuse to continue, she replied: ‘I don’t know who I would have been. I’m a person that couldn’t fit education in my brain because I was too busy being alive.

‘You know the general thing of not loving anyone and not feeling worthy of love. I don’t know who I would have been if they would have stopped it and if they would have saved all these people and now I would say to them “It’s your fault and you are accountable.”‘

She continued ‘Anybody who knows about any abuse, and that is every day of the week, if you do not raise that, you are party [to it].

‘You need to raise that and if somebody isn’t going to listen, then you talk to somebody higher than that because otherwise, you are the person enabling for us to have a real tricky life.’

The next episode of The Reckoning will air on October 10th on the BBC at 9pm. 

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