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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sir Jimmy Savile, British disc jockey, television presenter (Top of the Pops, Jim'll Fix It) and charity fundraiser, died he was 84.

Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile OBE KCSG  was an English disc jockey, television presenter and media personality, best known for his BBC television show Jim'll Fix It, and for being the first and last presenter of the long-running BBC music chart show Top of the Pops died he was 84. He was also known for his fundraising and support of various charities, particularly Stoke Mandeville Hospital. He was widely described as a philanthropist and was honoured for his efforts.[1][2]

(31 October 1926 – 29 October 2011)

Early life

Savile was born in Leeds, the youngest of seven children (Mary, Marjory, Vincent, John, Joan, Christina and James) born to Agnes Monica (née Kelly) and Vincent Joseph Marie Savile, a bookmaker's clerk and insurance agent.[3] Savile almost died of pneumonia at the age of five months.
He was a Bevin Boy, conscripted during World War II to work as a coal miner at South Kirkby Colliery, West Yorkshire, England. He suffered serious spinal injuries in a mine explosion and spent a long period in recuperation.[4] Having started playing records in dance halls in the early 1940s, Savile claimed to be the first ever disc jockey. According to his autobiography, he was the first person to use two turntables and a microphone, at the Grand Records Ball at the Guardbridge Hotel in 1947.[5] Savile is acknowledged as one of the pioneers of twin turntables for continuous play of music,[6] though his claim has been disputed. (Twin turntables had been illustrated in the BBC Handbook in 1929 and were advertised for sale in Gramophone magazine in 1931.[7])
He became a semi-professional sportsman, competing in the 1951 Tour of Britain cycle race[8] and working as a professional wrestler.[9] He said:
If you look at the athletics of it, I've done over 300 professional bike races, 212 marathons and 107 pro fights. [He proudly announces that he lost all of his first 35 fights.] No wrestler wanted to go back home and say a long-haired disc jockey had put him down. So from start to finish I got a good hiding. I've broken every bone in my body. I loved it.[10]
Savile later lived in Salford, and worked as manager of the Plaza Ballroom in Oxford Road, Manchester, in the mid-fifties. He lived in Great Clowes Street in Higher Broughton, Salford, and was often seen sitting on his front door steps. He also managed the Mecca Locarno ballroom in Leeds around the late 1950s and early 1960s.[11] Mecca also owned the Palais, a dance hall in Ilford, Essex, and Savile did a stint as manager there between 1955 and 1956. His Monday evening records-only dance sessions (admission one shilling) were a huge favourite with local teens.[12]


Savile started his radio career working as a Radio Luxembourg DJ from 1958 to 1967. He ran the Teen and Twenty Disc Club (TTDC),[13] membership for life, on Radio Luxembourg. For a small fee listeners received a certificate and a small bracelet with a disc on it, inscribed with the show's name. He stated on the BBC television series Inside Out that the title Teen and Twenty Disc Club had been rejected by the BBC in favour of Top of the Pops as too long; also that he introduced dancing to records, so that he was the originator of the discothèque.
In 1968 he joined BBC Radio 1, where he initially presented Savile's Travels and the discussion show Speakeasy. His best-remembered contribution to Radio 1, however, is the Sunday lunchtime show Jimmy Savile's Old Record Club, where entire top tens from years gone by were played. This was the first show to feature old charts. It began in 1973 as The Double Top Ten Show and ended in 1987 as The Triple Top Ten Show, at which point he left Radio 1 after 19 years, although he could be heard presenting The Vintage Chart Show on BBC World Service between March 1987 and October 1989, playing top tens from the years 1957 to 1987.
From March 1989 to August 1997 he was heard on various stations around the UK (mostly taking the Gold format, such as the West Midlands' Xtra AM and the original Classic Gold network in Yorkshire) where he revived his Radio 1 shows.
In 1994, satirist Chris Morris gave a fake obituary on BBC Radio 1 (as a joke), saying that Savile had collapsed and died, which allegedly drew threats of legal action from Savile and forced an apology from Morris.
On 25 December 2005, and 1 January 2007, Savile presented shows on the Real Radio network. The Christmas 2005 show counted down the festive Top 10s of 10, 20 and 30 years previously, while the New Year 2007 show (also taken by Century Radio following its acquisition by GMG) featured Savile recounting anecdotes from his past and playing associated records, mostly from the 1960s although some were from the 1970s.


In 1960 he presented Tyne Tees Television's music programme Young at Heart. Although the show was broadcast in black and white, Savile dyed his hair a different colour every week.[14]

Jimmy Savile presenting Top of The Pops in 1964.
On New Year's Day, 1964, he presented the first edition of the BBC music chart television programme Top of the Pops from a television studio – a converted church (now demolished) – in Dickenson Road Rusholme, Manchester. On 30 July 2006 he also co-hosted the final edition, ending the show with the words "It's number one, it's still Top of the Pops", before being shown turning off the studio lights after the closing credits. When interviewed by the BBC on 20 November 2008 and asked about the revival of Top of The Pops for a Christmas comeback, he commented that he would welcome a "cameo role" in the programme.[15]
During the early 1960s he co-hosted (with Pete Murray) New Musical Express Poll Winners' Concert, annually held at Empire Pool, Wembley, with acts such as The Beatles, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Joe Brown and the Bruvvers, The Who, and many others. These were filmed and recorded and later broadcast on television. On 31 December 1969, Savile hosted the BBC/ZDF co-production Pop Go The Sixties, shown across Western Europe, celebrating the hits of the 1960s.
Savile is also remembered for a series of Public Information Films promoting road safety, notably "Clunk Click Every Trip" which was promoted the use of the car seatbelts, the clunk representing the sound of the door and the click the sound of the seatbelt fastening. This led to Savile's hosting his own Saturday night chat/variety show on BBC1 from 1973 entitled Clunk, Click, which in 1974 featured the UK heats for the Eurovision Song Contest featuring Olivia Newton-John. He also fronted a long-running series of advertisements in the early 1980s for British Rail's InterCity 125, in which he declared "This is the age of the train". After two series, Clunk, Click was replaced by Jim'll Fix It which he presented from 1975 to 1994.
He was interviewed by Dr. Anthony Clare for the radio series In the Psychiatrist's Chair, where Savile appeared to be "a man without feelings."[16] In 1995 he was interviewed at length by Andrew Neil for the TV series Is This Your Life? (made by Open Media for Channel 4).[17] In April 2000, he was the subject of an in depth documentary by Louis Theroux, in the When Louis Met… documentary series. "When Louis Met...Jimmy" was voted one of the top fifty documentaries of all time in a survey by Britain's Channel Four.[18]
Savile visited the Celebrity Big Brother house on 14 and 15 January 2006. During these visits he "fixed it" for some of the housemates to have their wishes granted; for example, Pete Burns received a message from his significant other and friend while Dennis Rodman was able to trade Savile's offering for a supply of cigarettes for other housemates.
In 2007 Savile returned to television with Jim'll Fix It Strikes Again, in which he showed some of the most popular 'fixits' ever, recreating them with the same people, as well as making new dreams come true.[19]

Personal life

Savile was famous for his yodel[20] and his catchphrases included "how's about that, then?", "now then, now then, now then", "goodness gracious", "as it 'appens" and "guys and gals". Savile was frequently spoofed for his distinctive appearance, which almost always consisted of a track suit or shell suit, along with gold jewellery. A range of licensed fancy dress costumes were released with his consent in 2009. Savile was also very well known as a heavy cigar smoker, and often smoked them for the public eye.[21] In July 2005 he was named as one of the Radio Times "Top 40 most eccentric TV presenters of all time".
He was a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists[22] and drove a Rolls-Royce.[23] He was also a member of Mensa.[24] He was chieftain of the Lochaber Highland Games for many years, and owned a house in Glen Coe. His appearance on the final edition of Top of the Pops in 2006 was pre-recorded as it clashed with the games.[25] While still alive he arranged for a bench, in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, to be dedicated to his memory, with the words 'Jimmy Savile – but not just yet!' added as an inscription.[26][27]
A bachelor, Savile lived with his mother (whom he referred to as "The Duchess") and kept her bedroom and wardrobe exactly as it was when she died. Every year he had her clothes dry cleaned. Savile's personal relationships were rarely the subject of media report or comment during his lifetime. He claimed in his autobiography that he had had many intimate relations with members of the opposite sex, describing his first introduction to women in detail and then adding: ".. there have been trains and, with apologies to the hit parade, boats and planes (I am a member of the 40,000 ft club) and bushes and fields, corridors, doorways, floors, chairs, slag heaps, desks and probably everything except the celebrated chandelier and ironing board."[28] Savile claimed that the key to his success on Jim'll Fix It had been that he disliked children, although he later admitted to saying this to deflect scrutiny of his personal life. He did not own a computer, explaining that he did not want anybody to think that he was downloading child pornography.[29]
In November 2007 Savile was robbed by a fan who made off with his glasses whilst in a Leeds hotel. According to Savile, he was walking down a corridor of the Queens Hotel at around midnight after attending a function at the hotel when he became aware of a woman walking beside him. He assumed the woman was going to hug him but she instead reached for his glasses before sprinting off down the corridor. He later said "I thought it was marvellous, it was just like old times!". Savile promised his 'assailant' a box of chocolates for giving him a "1960s thrill in 2007".[30]

Charitable works

Aside from his TV and radio work, Savile carried out a considerable amount of charity work and is estimated to have raised some £40 million for charity.[31]
One of the causes for which he raised money was the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where he worked for many years as a volunteer porter. He raised money for the Spinal Unit, NSIC (National Spinal Injuries Centre). Savile also raised money for St Francis Ward – a ward for children and teens with spinal cord Injuries.
Savile also worked as a volunteer at Leeds General Infirmary and at Broadmoor Hospital. In 1988 he was appointed chairman of a task force set up to advise on governing Broadmoor. Savile had his own room at both Stoke Mandeville and Broadmoor.[32]
From 1974 - 1988 he was the honorary president of Phab (Physically Handicapped in the Able Bodied community).[33]
He also sponsored medical students at the University of Leeds to perform undergraduate research in the Leeds University Research Enterprise scholarship scheme (known as LURE), donating over £60,000 every year.[34] In 2010 the scheme was extended with a commitment of £500,000 over the following five years.[35] Following Savile's death in October 2011 it was confirmed that a bequest had been made to allow continued support for the LURE programme.[36]
Savile was also well known for running marathons (many of them again for Phab, including their annual half marathon around Hyde Park). He completed the London Marathon in 2005, at the age of 79.



Savile's coffin on display in the Queen's Hotel, Leeds, 8 November 2011
Police and paramedics were called to Savile's home at Roundhay, Leeds,[44] at 12:10 pm on 29 October 2011, where they found his body.[45] He was two days short of his 85th birthday. He had recently been treated in hospital for pneumonia, and police said that they were not treating his death as suspicious.[44] His closed satin gold coffin was displayed at the Queens Hotel in Leeds[46][47] together with the last cigar he smoked and his two This Is Your Life books.[48] About 4,000 people visited to pay tribute.[49] His funeral took place at Leeds Cathedral on 9 November 2011,[50] and he was buried on 10 November at 12:30 pm at Woodlands Cemetery in the seaside town of Scarborough.[51][52] As his will had specified, his coffin was inclined at 45 degrees to fulfil his wish to "see the sea".[52][53] The coffin was later encased in concrete "as a security measure".[54]



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