Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Jim'll Fix It

Watching last night's Panorama, What the BBC Knew, in which the BBC investigates itself,  I was  reminded of how deeply we were all anaesthetised - for want of a better word -  in the seventies and eighties about the reality of who Jimmy Savile was: he was avuncular and eccentric, he was a good man; he was up there with Blue Peter and John Craven's Newsround, part of the safe furniture of childhood. My wee aunt with Down's Syndrome, a couple of years older than me, used to love him and I can see her vividly, grinning and giggling, her blue trousers, legs crossed, sitting on the floor watching Jim'll Fix It.

Last night showed a clip of Jim giving out medals to some cub scouts, instead of individual medals they got one big joint one, and he looped the medal strap round all of their necks. At the time, this would have been seen by us as playful and affectionate - watching now it's like he was putting a noose around their necks.

I reference Jimmy in my novel, my very ill character Helen wants Jim to fix it for her to be better. It's 1984. It feels odd  to re-read these words now.

At the weekends, I would sit clamped against the radiator or lie on the couch while Sean and his friends watched videos. Sometimes Ivan was there. The highlight of Saturday was watching Blind Date. I would fantasise about being chosen and worried sick about being sent on a date where you had to walk a lot. Sean said I should write to Jimmy Savile: Dear Jim, Please can you fix it for me to be healthy? I’m twenty-one and live in Scotland. I could see myself sitting in the television studio, with the medal round my neck, grinning idiotically at the audience. Rita and Nab would run on with tears in their eyes, thanking Jim for the miracle.

The  current disturbing BBC calamities aside, like so many, I cannot understand how others 'knew' of Jimmy Savile's crimes, but remained silent over the decades. Different culture back then or not I just don't get it.

1 comment:

Alfie said...

I don't get it either Nasim....how could it have been covered up for so long, so many people knew about it. He was a monster, who used his celebrity to get away with it....watching all the clips, when we were kids they seemed so innocent, now they seem very sinister...guess it was partly the culture at the time, but more, a huge cover up.