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Savilegate: Will the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal finish off the BBC?

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When asked by a reporter in 2001 whether he was concerned if he would be remembered as a “conning pervert and abuser when he died,” Jimmy Savile replied:

‘If I’m gone that’s that. Bollocks to my legacy. Whatever is said after I’m gone is irrelevant.’

The reporter then asked if Savile was ‘into little girls’, to which the BBC presenter replied:

‘I’d rather not even opinionate on this. I’ll leave it to the psychologists to sort out the psychology of child abuse.’

Every day a new allegation emerges about Jimmy Savile. These allegations now cover 6 decades, and include allegations of the rape of children, mentally ill patients and the sexual assault of a disabled girl. The police are currently investigating over 300 lines of inquiry.

Savile’s attacks occurred in hospitals, clubs and the BBC. And it is the latter organization that is coming under considerable scrutiny by the police.

The question is how did the BBC employ such an individual, when there were known allegations against him? And what was the everyday culture at BBC that could allow Savile’s behavior to go unnoticed? Uncommented upon? Even tolerated?

A glimpse of how things were at the BBC can be found in Stephen Fry’s second volume of autobiography, The Fry Chronicles (pages 296-297 of the paperback edition), where he described a meeting with the BBC executive Jim Moir in 1983.

Hugh [Laurie] and I were shown into his office. He sat us down on the sofa opposite his desk and asked if we had comedy plans. Only he wouldn’t have put it as simply as that, he probably said something like: ‘Strip naked and show me your cocks,’ which would have been his way of saying: ‘What would you like to talk about?’ Jim routinely used colourful and perplexing metaphors of a quite staggering explicit nature. ‘Let’s jizz on the table, mix up our spunk and smear it all over us,’ might be his way of asking, ‘Shall we work together?’ I had always assumed that he only spoke like that to men, but not so long ago Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders confirmed that he had been quite as eye-watering in his choice of language with them. Ben Elton went on to create, and Mel Smith to play, a fictional head of Light Entertainment based on Jim Moir called Jumbo Whiffly in the sitcom Filthy Rich & Catflap. I hope you will not get the wrong impression of Moir from my description of his language. People of his kind are easy to underestimate, but I have never heard anyone who worked with him say a bad word about him. In the past forty years the BBC has had no more shrewd, capable, loyal, honourable and successful executive and certainly none with a more dazzling verbal imagination.

Now retired, Moir recently told the Guardian that he had no knowledge of any allegations against Savile during his term at the Beeb, as either exec or as Head of Light Entertainment.

“There is so much talk about rumours, but I can tell you that neither from external sources or internally, neither by nods and winks or by innuendo, did I receive any scintilla of this story whatsoever, or discuss it or his behaviour with my superiors. There was not a scintilla of this either from Roger Ordish, his producer for 20 years.”

Should we be surprised? Not really. But it makes sense that Moir didn’t hear any allegations when it was seen as okay to use sexist, aggressive and offensive language such as ‘Strip naked and show me your cocks,’ or, ‘Let’s jizz on the table, mix up our spunk and smear it all over us,’ on a regular basis. This kind masturbatory boy’s club culture covers up for a lot of unacceptable behavior.
 
More on Savilegate, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Creep Out: Gary Glitter goes on ‘Jim’ll Fix It’


“We will haunt you in your dreams forever, luv!”

As Paul Gallagher has already comprehensively explained for Dangerous Minds readers here (and here), it seems that one of the BBC’s most popular family entertainment shows in its entire history, Jim’ll Fix It, might more accurately have been called Jim’ll Groom Ya, consisting as it did of a very widely alleged sexual predator and pederast, Jimmy Saville, granting special favors to an endless succession of children and teens…  some that he tried to extract favors from in return. They probably should have called the show Jim’ll Fuck It, but maybe not.

Why does it comes as no surprise that Gary Glitter, the English glam rock chart topper who enjoyed twenty-six execrable UK hit singles over three decades before his reputation was “irreparably tarnished”–as Wikipedia puts it in wry understatement–by convictions for child sex crimes both in the UK and Vietnam would have been a guest on the show? And, wouldn’t you know it, Mr. Glitter and Sir Jimmy coincidentally happened to be good buds. Indeed, they were so friendly that Saville gallantly stood up for Glitter in a 2009 interview (reportedly included in tomorrow’s ITV expose). Referring to Glitter’s 1999 conviction for possessing a computer full of child pornography, Saville boldly attested that his old friend “didn’t do anything wrong” because “he had not tried to show them in public or anything like that” (my emphasis).

Saville’s statement betrays a personal “philosophy” ideal for one leading such a quintessential double life: on the one hand, a light entertainer and philanthropic “saint,” and on the other a prolific sex offender (allegedly or whatever). The moral dimension, for Saville, apparently enters only in so far as what is or is not public, which is to say on television: if someone is abused and it isn’t on primetime – to paraphrase the old Zen adage – did it really happen?

Which is what makes the following excerpt from Jim’ll Groom Ya Jim’ll Fix It so uniquely disturbing, as it sees the two friends and former national treasures collaborate to make a young lady’s “dream” of being a singer come true. The lady in question, while not exactly the full ticket, is twenty-one, thank Christ (guests on Jim’ll Fix Itwere predominantly, but not unanimously underage), though this doesn’t seem to deter either sexual predator from getting their sleaze on.

Glitter’s actual performance is something else. I don’t think I’ve seen him in action since I was a kid and he was singing Christmas songs, but what must have at the time looked to any sentient observer like just a bloated parody of glam rock (meets rap?), has retroactively become something ten thousand times more sinister than Alice Cooper must’ve seemed in 1972. Glitter’s entourage – his “gang” – stomp about in bondage-wear for a minute, until Gary himself enters, prowling the stage and glowing bright red, for all the world an actual fucking demon (the tune is even called “Red Hot”). The manner in which Saville and Glitter enclose the half-witted woman at the end is pretty damn creepy too (”Shy, Gary?”). At least he didn’t perform “Do Ya Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah!).”  Now THAT might’ve been too OTT.

All in all, it’s easily the scariest performance I’ve ever seen. Looking at this shit in retrospect, that tens of millions of adults considered this – and Jim’ll Fix It in general – good family entertainment blows my tiny mind.
 

 
After the jump, the presciently named 1974 Gary Glitter documentary Remember Me This Way…

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Jimmy Savile: Legendary DJ’s belongings auctioned off for charity

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‘Now then now then… ‘

An auction of the late Sir Jimmy Savile’s belongings raised almost half-a-million dollars yesterday in Leeds, England. 700 on-line bidders competed with 350 buyers at the Savile Hall for an excess of gold lame suits, platform shoes, and a selection of the DJ’s bling.

549 lots were up for grabs in a sale organized by Dreweatts. These included gold lame suits, jogging gear, kilts, cigars, cigar boxes, shoes, trainers, furniture, records, record player, photographs, cartoons, numerous awards, assorted glasses, memorabilia, including Christmas cards from Royalty, and Jim’ll Fix It medallions, presentation gifts and the famous red-upholstered chair.

The auction lasted 13-hours, which saw the legendary DJ and broadcaster’s Rolls-Royce (nick-named “The Beast”) sold for $200,000, his famous red chair sold for $13,300, and individual items, such as one highly sought after Jim’ll Fix It medal reach $3,130.

All of the items reached over their original asking price:

Lot 174 - A pink satin padded bedspread with a gold J.S. monogram was sold for over $200.

Lot 185 - A novelty egg cup teapot with picture of Sir Jim holding it raised $60.

Lot 549 - Sir Jimmy’s favourite ashtray complete with a Romeo Y Julieta cigar - went for $220.

All money raised will be donated to charity.

The auction catalog can be seen here, and more on the story here.
 
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Edinburgh Evening News front cover printing plate.
 
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A photograph of Jimmy Savile with Elvis Presley.
 
More of Sir Jimmy Savile’s booty, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
When a 70-year-old Grandmother played keyboards with Thin Lizzy

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If you ever needed another reason to love dear Phil Lynott then just watch this short clip from Jim’ll Fix It - Jimmy Savile’s classic dreams-come-true TV series - from 1982, in which 70-year-old grandmother, May Booker wrote to Sir Jim asking if he could fix it for her to play keyboards with her favorite band - Thin Lizzy. And you can guess what happened next.

May is rather good, and she has a fun time with Phil - who is such a delightful charmer.
 

 
With thanks to Tara McGinley
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment