“The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.”
They certainly do, as this clip from an edition of the longtime BBC music show Top of the Pops abundantly proves.
I was wondering how best to explain this bizarre clip, in which an evil kiddie-fiddling nonce, Sir Jimmy Savile, introduces the hit single to children’s TV series The Smurfs. The combination of these two unrelated things makes me feel queasy.
It starts with Savile interviewing Father Abraham, the stage of name of Dutch singer Pierre Kartner, who gained considerable success with “The Smurf Song.” The smarmy, reptilian Savile is full of the same fake charm he used to hood-wink a nation, before he introduces TOTP’s resident dance troupe, Legs and Co. (Gawd bless ‘em), who then interpret the The Smurf Song through the power of dance.
Sir Jimmy Savile was the world’s first disc jockey, spinning records on twin-turntables long before the twin decks became standard kit. Savile’s fame as a DJ ensured his later TV career, where the peroxide blonde freak made a career as TV and radio host on the BBC. At the same time, Savile was sexually abusing every girl, boy, man, woman (and probably dog) he could get his jingly-jangly hands on. Savile was like a modern Gilles de Rais. Surprisingly, after his death in 2011, a nation mourned his passing until stories of his sexual excess ruined his sainted reputation.
According to police estimates, there were an incredible 450 people abused by Savile. This figure may be as high as 1,350.
So, here, we have a moment of classic Seventies’ British telly. Not exactly Masterpiece Theatre, but one that shows how England’s greatest nonce hid in plain sight as a respected member of the British Establishment and as a much-liked (I can’t say “loved”) BBC entertainer.
I’ve had my share of weird trips but this one is certainly a dodgy tab of Smurf-flavored blotter acid!