Jimmy Savile: What they said when he died
JIMMY Savile tributes. Now look at them.
Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn: “He was just a complete one-off. I think he was a bit of a lonely character as well. In the privacy of his own life I don’t think he had very many friends. I’ve never known anyone quite like him. He was a blunt speaking northerner, but also kind and very respectful.”
Prince Charles: “The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are saddened to hear of Jimmy Savile’s death and their thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Alan Franey, former Chief Executive of Broadmoor Hospital: “I spent a lot of time with him and would say I knew him probably as well as anybody else knew him…I spoke to him last Wednesday and asked him how he was, and he said he was feeling very tired and short of breath. Mentally, he was very alert. But he said to me: ‘I’m coming to the end of the tunnel’…He spent a lot of his life involved in raising [money for] charity and was passionate about helping people. Jimmy had a very normal upbringing but it was a tough upbringing and he never forgot his roots. He felt that he was in a situation where he could raise funds for people using his position in showbiz and he successfully did that.”
David Hamilton, DJ: “We were together at Radio 1 in the ’70s and the station was full of eccentric personalities, but he was certainly the most flamboyant of all.One of the essential things about Jimmy was that he was a man of the people. He knew his audience, he was very much in touch with his audience. I think the public were his family. Probably of all the DJs I worked with, I knew him less than any of the others. He kept himself very much to himself. He didn’t drink so he wasn’t the sort of man who would go down to the pub and have a bevvy with you.”
Paul Bruce, who appeared on Jim’ll Fix It: “It was every child’s dream to get on that programme. It was fantastic to meet the guy and go on the programme, and I had 15-17 million people watching me on a Saturday evening. He was a great guy.”
Catholic Herald: “I love that remark to a Broadmoor patient: “what do you want to go round strangling crumpet for?”; there’s a touch of genius in that — also a reflection of the invulnerability of the truly innocent man, so much and so obviously on the side of everyone he talked to that he could only stay safe in any company.”
Graham Smith from Harrogate, Yorkshire, neighbour and colleague: “I lived in the apartment directly below Sir Jimmy for a few years and worked as a documentary cameraman on Jim’ll Fix It. I got to know him quite well as neighbours as well as professionally. I also worked with Sir Jim on a video for Leeds General Infirmary. I was always impressed with the way he was around the hospital. He would chat with everyone and spend time with everyone. He was never too busy, he really liked people and he was happy to spend time with them. “Margaret Thatcher asked him to look after the wives of the G7 leaders during a conference. He took them to Stoke Mandeville. They were confronted by a man in tracksuit and a jewellery but by the end of the day, they were eating out of his hand.”
Mark Thompson, BBC director general: “I am very sad to hear of Sir Jimmy Savile’s death. From Top of the Pops to Jim’ll Fix It, Jimmy’s unique style entertained generations of BBC audiences. Like millions of viewers and listeners we shall miss him greatly.”
Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary: “Sir Jimmy Savile was one of broadcasting’s most unique and colourful characters. From Top of the Pops to making children’s dreams come true on Jim’ll Fix It, a generation of people will remember his catchphrases and sense of fun. But his lasting legacy will be the millions he raised for charity, tirelessly giving up his time and energy to help those causes he was passionate about.”
Dave Lee Travis: “Deep down inside him there was a guy which was very hard to get to. I’ve known Jimmy Savile for over 50 years, that’s a hell of a long period to know somebody, and I’ve never had an absolutely in-depth straight conversation with him because he’s constantly got a sort of invisible shield up. He likes to keep his distance from everybody, even friends. He’ll joke his way out of something if he doesn’t want to answer you… I think probably enigma is a good word for it.”
Charles Kennedy MP: Sir Jimmy was “a true and long-standing friend to the West Highlands over decades of diligence and decency”.
Marie Jackson, Wolverhampton: “As a kid, I wrote in everywhere: Blue Peter, Jim’ll Fix it and all the local radio stations. I was also quite unusual as I played the bagpipes as a child. I had quite bad asthma and my doctor recommended that I should play a wind instrument. My Dad said there was no better wind instrument than the bagpipes. My Dad and I used to watch the Edinburgh Tattoo together. I always wanted to be the lone piper at the end. I wrote to Jim to ask him to fix it for me. I didn’t tell my parents that I had written. One day we got a phone call. The producers came down and listened to me play the pipes. Shortly afterwards my Dad and I went to Edinburgh. As a surprise they had arranged for Massed Pipes and Drums of the local regiments to play with. While we were in Scotland we bought Jimmy a small cigar as a present. When we got to the studio in London, he was smoking one of his trademark cigars. I was thrilled when he binned his great big cigar for the little one I had bought. I do tell people that Jim fixed it for me. They always think I am making it up but it is a great starting point for a conversation.”
Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council: “Sir Jimmy Savile was Leeds born and bred and he remained a Leeds lad throughout his life. He was a much-loved and well-known figure – a larger-than-life character and an inspiration to many, particularly the children of the city. His enormous contribution to charity will never be forgotten. We are proud to have someone like him, who did so much for so many, come from Leeds.”
Piers Morgan: “An old friend of mine, Stephen Purdew – who owns various top health clubs, including Champneys – had his wedding at Claridge’s hotel… As I left, Jimmy Savile came up to me. ‘Your TV shows are BRILLIANT!’ he exclaimed. ‘And as I’ve been in the telly business for 50 years, you can take that as an informed view.’ I’ve always loved Jimmy Savile.”
Dr John Higgs: “Jimmy Savile was the patron of the Across Trust from 1973 to 1998. A more stalwart supporter of this trust, dedicated to taking the sick and dying to Lourdes, you could not find. Jimmy brought hope and happiness to the disabled who travelled with the Jumbulance (jumbo-ambulance) to Our Lady’s shrine and attended many fundraising events over the 25 years. He will be remembered by many thousands of pilgrims from every corner of the United Kingdom.”
Janet Cope, Jimmy Savile’s PA: “I’m a better person because of Jimmy. He taught me so much about how to fight for what you believe in, because that’s what he always did. He helped so many people in his life, and I’m proud to have been part of that…I thought he was a great laugh…He never talked about women and nobody asked. People knew he was a bit different…I could tell that I annoyed him sometimes but he never lost his temper with me.”
BBC 2 January 2012: ”Sir Jimmy Savile at the BBC: How’s About That Then? An affectionate tribute to Jimmy Savile via the BBC archive courtesy of Top of the Pops, plus rarely seen footage of Clunk Click, the Saturday night entertainment show which eventually made way for his series Jim’ll Fix It.”
Tony Blackburn: ”He was not a nice man, despite how the public viewed him at the peak of his success. There were always rumours circulating about him, the problem at the time was that rumour was always hard to translate in to fact. Jimmy Savile was a master manipulator of the press and would do what he could to keep his image held high in the public conscience. It will be to the eternal regret of me and, I’m sure, so many of my BBC colleagues that he was allowed to get away with these monstrous acts. All of us who worked at the BBC during the time of these heinous crimes owe it to the victims to speak to the police and the BBC Investigations Unit and help them in any way we can.”
Piers Morgan: “I never met him.”
Janet Cope: “I was frightened to death of him and I wasn’t the only one.”
BBC Panorama October 2012: “A Panorama Special investigates the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal and asks what the BBC knew in the past, and examines the events around the dropping of a Newsnight investigation.”
File photo dated 01/01/1972 of Jimmy Savile visiting the patients and staff of Leeds General Infirmary, as the BBC is in its worst crisis for 50 years as it tries to answer questions of integrity over claims of a cover-up about why it dropped an investigation into Jimmy Savile's paedophilia.