Wire in the Blood writer Val McDermid based her evil character Jacko Vance on Sir Jimmy Savile!

by Lynn Connolly

Author Val McDermid, who of course wrote hit drama Wire in the Blood, has revealed that she based one of her most evil characters, Jacko Vance, on the persona of Sir Jimmy Savile, who Val branded a “deeply unpleasant man.”

Revealing to the Daily Star that she first met Savile when she worked as a reporter some 35 years ago, Val went on to say that the former DJ and TV presenter, set her “teeth on edge” whenever she met him.

So decades later, when Val became an author, she recalled those feelings about Savile while creating the serial killer character Vance – who was played by Coronation Street’s John Michie – even making the character’s seemingly altruistic work for charities part of the storyline.

The paper adds, “Val created Vance as a TV star known for his charity work with a secret lust for torture, murder and under-age girls…

“In Wire In The Blood, he hangs about hospitals and tours towns in a show called Vance’s Visits – a nod to the Radio 1 show Savile’s Travels.”

She told the paper, “When I wrote Wire In The Blood Jimmy Savile was very much at the forefront of my mind.

“But I had to make sure he didn’t pick up on it – that’s why I made Jacko Vance handsome and charismatic.

“When I was a journalist there were certain names mentioned in respect of sexual abuse of children and he was always spoken of.

“People often asked me where I had got the inspiration for Vance. They never guessed it was Savile…

“Of course, I steered them away from any hint it was him. He was notoriously litigious.”

Police are of course investigating claims that Savile sexually abused at least 450 people over six decades before his death last year aged 84.

The police action over those allegations, named Operation Yewtree, has seen the officers in charge arresting a number of celebrities in connection with the inquiry.

Here’s a reminder of one of the episodes of Wire in the Blood that features the character of Vance…


Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.