1. ITV Report

Midlands college refuses to take down 'distasteful' Jimmy Savile painting

The painting was done by a former student Photo: Newsteam

A Midlands art college is refusing to take down a painting of Jimmy Savile, dressed as a knight in shining armour.

South Staffordshire College have said the artwork, done by a former student, was supposed to be an 'ironic' swipe at the alleged cover-up of the entertainer's crimes.

One art student, who did not wish to be named, has described how the painting has been divisive.

"It does split opinion in the college. Some people think it's distasteful but some think it's interesting.

"It causes a debate and I guess that's the point of art in many ways."

After Jimmy Savile died in 2011, hundreds of people came forward to say they'd been abused by him Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Another student added:

"I think they probably should take it down now everything has come out about him.

"It's in the corridor not even in a room so you can't avoid it if you go to the art department.

"They say Savile had hundreds of victims so it's possible a family member of someone affected by him will come to this college.

"I don't think they would want to see a giant portrait of him grinning like that."

South Staffordshire College in Lichfield, where the pictures is displayed Credit: Newsteam

South Staffordshire College have since said they are going to add a caption to help explain the artwork.

"The artwork in question is intended to be an ironic comment on organisations that ignore or cover up important issues, going some way to explain why Jimmy Savile’s abuse continued undetected for so many years.

"It has received a number of positive comments on this basis and one expression of concern, from a member of South Staffordshire College’s non-teaching staff.

"The person in question has now had the opportunity to discuss the artwork and the college has assured her that the well-being and safeguarding of its learners are at the very heart of its activities, indeed this is one of the concepts behind the painting.

“The purpose of exploring these issues is in enabling discussions to take place rather than allowing them to be swept under the carpet.

"As an additional safeguard we are creating a caption for the piece which will explain the thinking behind it.”

– Andy Nash, Art Lecturer, South Staffordshire College