WAS I SHOCKED when the after-death revelations about Jimmy Savile began, after the airing of an ITV documentary called "exposure, the other side of Jimmy Savile"? Well not really.
Getting to the age where pretty much nothing shocks you anymore, the programme, researched and presented by former police detective Mark Williams-Thomas who had been a police investigator in the 2001 successful prosecution of paedophile DJ Jonathan King, the programme showed a very different side to Savile and interviewed women who claimed to have been sexually molested and raped by the television presenter. The programme went on to say that not only did the BBC know of Savile's penchant for under age girls, it turned a blind eye to it as he was untouchable, bringing in huge viewing figures and loved by the public. An open secret at the BBC with Esther Rantzen now saying she had heard the strong rumours and now regrets doing nothing about it, so much for the founder of Childline.
The fact is people did know about it.
In 2007 Savile was interviewed under caution by the police after an allegation of indecent assault at the Duncroft Approved school for girls in Surrey, where Savile was a regular visitor. There was apparently not enough evidence to prosecute and no further action or charges were brought. In 2008 he again was accused of sexually molesting young girls at Jersey's childrens home Haut de la Garenne. He initially denied ever visiting the home but later admitted he had done so after the publication of a photograph showing him surrounded by young children at the home . Yet again there was insufficient evidence to convict him.
I was a teenager in the seventies when Jimmy Savile was the God-like figure on Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It, an eccentric figure, a sort of cross between Worzel Gummidge and Woody Allen, he had a face for radio and in fact that's where he made his name, first at Radio Luxembourg in 1958 and then on to Tyne Tees Television in the early-sixties where he became known for his flamboyancy and odd ways.
The hair, gold medallions, large cigars, the shell-suits and catch phrases caught on with the public and he was pretty much untouchable to any criticism on his, at-best dubious, behaviour. It would seem now that his presenting of television programmes that mainly involved children and very young women must have been manna from heaven for him.
He was a bizarre icon for six decades. A miner, wrestler, cycle racer, dancehall manager, marathon man, Britain's "first DJ", Mensa member, book reviewer, Top of the Pops presenter, fundraiser, and perhaps most famously the fixer who could one day realise all our childhood dreams – except it would seem he gave nightmares to many, not dreams.
A bachelor until his death, with his personal life rarely reported by the media, he lived with his mother who he referred to as the Duchess and kept her bedroom and wardrobe exactly as it was after she died, every year he had her clothes dry cleaned. He defended his pal Gary Glitter, now a convicted paedophile by saying "all Gary's done is watch a few dodgy videos". Glitter was convicted and jailed for four months in 1999 for downloading 4,000 images of children and then deported from Vietnam in 2008 for assaulting two girls aged 10 and 11.
Described as a philanthropist, Savile raised millions for charities such as Leeds General Hospital, Broadmoor Hospital and Stoke Mandeville – where the latest allegation is that he sexually abused a brain damaged child. Giving such large sums of money gave him protection and was unbelievably allowed to roam in all these hospitals without supervision, having on site accommodation given to him by Broadmoor and Stoke Mandeville – how could someone awarded an OBE in 1971 and a knighthood in 1990 be some kind of monster – and that's how he got away with it till he died . Women knew they would not be believed so kept quiet until the recent documentary gave them the courage to come forward.
Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile was buried in a gold coffin in Scarborough at a 45 degree angle so he could see the sea: more fittingly he should have been buried face down looking at hell as thats where he belongs. The eulogy "It was good while it lasted" now removed and destroyed, adorned his grave. Well maybe it was Jimmy, but not for your victims.