Tuesday 20 February 2018

Coleen Nolan: sisters saved me from sex assault in Savile's room

The Nolan Sisters (clockwise from left) Coleen, Maureen, Linda and Bernie
The Nolan Sisters (clockwise from left) Coleen, Maureen, Linda and Bernie
As a 14-year-old appearing on 'Top of the Pops' in 1979, Coleen was invited by presenter and DJ Jimmy Savile to come to his hotel
Jimmy Savile

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

NOLAN Sister Coleen has revealed how her sisters saved her from the clutches of Jimmy Savile.

The singer was 14 years old when she was seen by millions of television viewers being hugged tightly by Savile when she appeared on 'Top of the Pops' in 1979 with the Nolan Sisters.

The singer has told of her horror at being "intimately cuddled" on-screen by the DJ.

But she has now revealed that off-camera, the star invited her to his hotel suite, where she believes she would have been sexually assaulted. However, her sisters told her not to go.

Coleen believes she would have been molested had her sisters not intervened and said she had a "lucky escape".

"When someone that famous wants to spend time with you, you're thrilled. I thought 'Oh wow'. But my sisters told me, 'That's not right Coleen, that's just weird'," she recounted.

Sister Linda Nolan (53) remembered: "If we hadn't been there, God knows what would have happened. It could have gone very wrong. Coleen probably didn't think for a minute what could have happened. It was exciting for her to meet a big TV star. When she told us about the hotel suite she said it would be great and we said 'I don't think so'".

The Nolan sisters were speaking out after Coleen featured in ITV documentary 'Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile' in which five women claimed they were assaulted by the radio and TV personality while schoolgirls in the late 1960s and 1970s.


Since it aired Coleen said she has been bombarded with abuse for commenting on her experience with Savile. "I've had people saying they don't believe me, saying I'm just jumping on the publicity bandwagon. But why would I make up something so vile? People don't know me if they think I'd do that.

"Considering what's come out, I feel thankful nothing like that happened to me. If I had gone ahead with it and innocently met him then obviously I would have had the same fate. Why else would a fully-grown man ask a 14-year-old girl to go to his hotel room?"

The singer-turned-TV presenter said she was never propositioned again by Savile after her sisters' intervention.

The youngest Nolan sister said the memory stayed with her right up until Savile's death last October, aged 84 from pneumonia, when she refused to pay tribute.

"I said I didn't want to. I didn't want to say I was really sad because that would have been a lie. As a kid I watched shows like 'Jim'll Fix It', which I loved.

"But I never really liked him. I think it related to his hotel offer.

"There was always something about him that I didn't trust. Even then I thought he was a dirty old man," she said.

The 46-year-old said she understands why Savile's victims are only coming forward now.

"I would never have said in an interview what he'd asked me, especially being so young. I never would have publicly said he invited me to his room. When you're young, that kind of attention puts the fear of God in you. What's also upsetting is people criticising the women for only coming forward now, saying it's too late to do it. But it's never too late for them to tell the horror of what went on. To go through it alone is what makes it even more sad and tragic," said Coleen.

Since the documentary aired, 40 victims have now come forward claiming they were molested by Savile.

Irish Independent

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