Monday, January 12, 2009

Jimmy Savile (1926 – 2011)

James Wilson Vincent Savile was born in Leeds in 1926. Born to Agnes (The Dutchess) Monica (Kelly), and Vincent Joseph Marie Savile, a bookmaker's clerk and insurance agent, he was the youngest of 7 children. Jimmy left school at 14 but because he was too young for call up he became a Bevin Boy (child labour) to work down a coal mine. Later he sold scrap metal and was passionate on sports, he competed in the 1951 Tour of Britain cycle race. His love of music saw him earn extra pocket money playing records at the local dance halls.

Innovative in his way he started to use two turntables and a microphone for continuous play of music. This gave him an edge and he soon became popular as a pioneering DJ in the North of England. In the mid fifties Jimmy became the manager of the Plaza Ballroom in Manchester, always the extrovert he greeted his patrons, sitting on the front door steps. He moved to Mecca Locarno ballrooms and was the assistant manager at Ilford and Leeds dance halls up until the early 60s. By which time he had become a regular Radio Luxembourg presenter and stayed there for almost a decade.

Jimmy became a professional all-in wrestler and was known mostly for his showmanship. His visual image was too good to be contained to radio and when Tyne Tees Television's started a new music programme in 1960 called Young at Heart, Jimmy became the resident anchor man. A natural he proved a popular attraction dying his hair for each program.

In 1964 Jimmy was chosen to appear in the first edition of Top of the Pops (BBC), and remained a regular until the program closed in 2006.

Jimmy featured in a BBC television series called Clunk, Click, (1973) which was eventually replaced two years later by Jim'll Fix It and ran between 1975 and 1994.

In the early 70s he championed the promotion of seatbelts in the UK with the highly successful Clunk Click Every Trip, public information films; and later in the 80s fronted a long running series of advertisements for British Rail's InterCity 125.

In 1968 he started Jimmy’s Savile's Travels and Speakeasy show (BBC 1969 -1973). In the same year, Jimmy Savile replaced Alan Freeman's Pick of the Pops with the Sunday Afternoon Double Top Ten (later retitled the Old Record Club in 1978). The program ran for fourteen years after which Jimmy left Radio 1(1987).

For the next decade he worked with several commercial radio stations, including Radio City Gold. Jimmy was well known philanthropist and throughout his career championed charity including raising money for the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where he worked for many years as a volunteer porter. He also volunteered his time as a hospital porter at Broadmoor Hospital, and Leeds Infirmary. By the beginning of the new millennium Jimmy was more or less retired but did make rare appearances on both radio and television.

He ran in over 214 marathons and completed his last (London) in 2005, aged 79. Jimmy passed away at his home in Leeds on 29th October 2011.

After his death allegations were made of improper behaviour which has subsequently led to a major inquiry involving alleged sexual improprieties involving minors and patients in hospitals Jimmy was known to visit. The once brilliant career of Sir Jimmy Savile has been dashed as more scandalous allegations emerge.

Operation Yewtree is a police investigation into sexual abuse allegations, predominantly the abuse of children, against the British media personality Jimmy Savile and others. The investigation, led by the Metropolitan Police Service, started in October 2012.

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