Coffee & TV’s Steve Waugh and Danny Boyle have co-directed the title sequence for Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story which launches on Netflix today. Created by 72 Films and directed by Rowan Deacon, the documentary series utilises archive footage and interviews to examine how the disgraced television star Jimmy Savile managed to conceal his crimes for over five decades.
Rowan tasked Steve and Danny to build the sequence’s narrative around Savile’s gravestone and detailed epitaph. The gravestone and its destruction was recreated in CG so it could be used as a metaphor to depict the scale and nature of Savile's betrayal of a nation.
Danny Boyle, animation director, Coffee & TV said: “We really wanted to vividly portray the story of Savile’s reputation using his gravestone as a metaphor, from the grandeur and stardom he achieved in his lifetime right through to the collapse of his ‘national treasure’ persona under the vast weight of evidence surrounding his awful crimes.
The challenge was to create a piece that was both cinematic and narrative-driven using only the gravestone as our subject so the pre-production process was quite involved. Starting with visual and contextual research, storyboarding, and a full previs process to figure out how best to build the narrative using such sparse material. We wanted to give the grave a demi-mystical, monolithic appearance so we played with the sense of scale using stark cinematography. We carefully highlighted certain phrases from the epitaph that now in hindsight bore double-meanings with regards to reality we now know. We made it so the gold glinted but wasn’t polished and we destroyed the grave, not in a dramatic explosion, but in a sad crumble. We wanted everything we did to convey the content and tone of the documentary.”
Steve Waugh, Creative Director, Coffee & TV said: “We’re really thankful to Rowan for trusting us to bring her concept to life.This was such a dark and sensitive subject matter to deal with and we had to walk a really fine line of visually representing Savile’s power and his rise to the heart of the establishment without the piece feeling celebratory.”