Jim’ll Fix It was a long-running British TV show that specialized in granting people’s wishes. It ran from 1975 to 1994, in which time it became a well-known tradition for British viewers. The host was Jimmy Savile, who was later revealed to be a prolific sex offender and Gilles De Rais-level sicko, which is another subject for another time. In any case, on an episode that ran in 1987, the show responded to a request from a 14-year-old viewer named Dom Lawson who wrote in requesting to meet his favorite heavy metal band, Iron Maiden.
With a complete film crew recording his every movement, Lawson assisted the legendary group prepare for a show at Hammersmith Odeon on November 3, 1986. Lawson wrote about that day in The Guardian:
I was greeted by a couple of members of Maiden’s road crew, one of whom immediately pointed out that my T-shirt (bought from Woolworths in Hemel Hempstead) was in a fact “a bloody bootleg”. I was then led to the backstage catering area and introduced to a vast number of people, most of whom I recognised from the photos in the booklet of Maiden’s magnificent Live After Death live album. Being shy and self-conscious, I grinned and blushed a lot. I was terrified, yet I could hardly have been happier. Everyone in Maiden’s organisation was friendly and welcoming, including the band themselves: resolutely down-to-earth, they each came and said hello at various points during the day. I remember Steve Harris clocking my West Ham scarf (which I’d worn specifically to attract his attention, natch) and asking if I was a “proper ‘ammer”. I was (and am), and he beamed his approval. I practically wet myself.
... During those few hours backstage I got to tune Steve’s bass guitar, play on Nicko McBrain’s insanely huge drum kit, eat in the canteen with the road crew and, best of all, clamber aboard the road crew’s tour bus to film a slightly ludicrous skit which involved me pretending to wake up on the bus, peer through the curtains on my bunk and be given the news that it was time to get to work setting up the band’s gear. I loved every second of it.
As you can see, Lawson writes quite well, which makes sense insofar that he carried his love of heavy metal through to adulthood, working for two popular magazines, Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. You can even read his glowing review of Iron Maiden’s 2003 album Dance of Death (to his credit, Lawson is discriminating in his admiration of Iron Maiden—he disliked Maiden’s two previous efforts, No Prayer For The Dying and Virtual XI).
I don’t know much about the individual guys in Iron Maiden, but this clip will win you over if you have any doubts—they all seem like terrific fellows. I remember Bruce Dickinson popping up in a documentary about Monty Python, so I already knew he was a good bloke and always keen for a laugh, and this clip certainly confirms that impression.