Jimmy Savile was the original presenter of 'Top Of The Pops', a tireless charity worker and consummate showman, in death as in life.
Jimmy Savile was one of those eccentric Englishmen for which this nation is renowned, but he was also a one-off. A Yorkshireman to his roots, Savile was born in Leeds, the youngest of seven children, on October 31, 1926, and although it was not the start of his broadcasting career, it was the BBC's flagship popular music programme Top Of The Pops that brought him his first real taste of fame, he presented the very first edition, on New Years Day, 1964, and never looked back. Forty-two years later, he also co-hosted the very final edition, on July 30, 2006.
From 1975 to 1994, he hosted his own show Jim'll Fix It, in which he “fixed” things for members of the public, young and not so young, from the mundane to the outlandish. People would write in to the BBC with their wishes, and the lucky ones would appear on his programme. Extensive footage from Jim'll Fix It can be found on the YouTube website.
Jimmy Savile was best known though for his outrageous dress sense or lack thereof, his mannerisms including the big cigar, and perhaps most of all for his tireless charity work. It was this that earned him a knighthood in 1990, along with many other honours. He may have been Sir James to the Queen, but he was Jim to everyone else, a rare example of a man no one ever had a bad word to say about, and with good reason.
For some personalities and famous people, charity work is something to put on their CV or to let the world know about; there was nothing of this about the self-effacing Jimmy Savile, not only did he run marathon after marathon, he also did stints as a hospital porter. In spite of his success, he did not come from a privileged background, and had worked as a miner, among other things in his youth.
Because he never married, tongues were known to wag on occasion, partly due to the scurrilous gossip that any single man of a certain age can expect, and partly due to propagandists who would like to claim such an amiable personality as one of their own, but Jimmy Savile was emphatically heterosexual. If he had so little or no time for romantic attachments, that was because he lived life to the full without them. In view of the high divorce rate and the surfeit of psychotic females of all ages, who's to say he made the wrong decision?
The 84 year old Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile, OBE, KCSG was found dead in his home on October 29, two days short of his birthday. His funeral takes place today, November 9, his gold coffin having been displayed at the Queens Hotel, near the central railway station. He will be buried at Scarborough, the seaside town immortalised by his fellow loiner Michael Chapman in his songPostcards Of Scarborough. He has asked that his coffin be buried at a 45 degree angle so that he can have a view of the sea.
Jimmy Savile (1926-2011) man of the people, born and died at Leeds, and will live forever in our hearts.
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