Here we have a man who in the eyes of millions is a hero. This cigar chomping, charity fund raising, fix-it fixing, white haired legend of an individual is always associated with good news stories. Jimmy Savile could do no wrong. To besmirch his name with accusations of child molestation goes against what we know to be true. The rug has been pulled, but how credible are these accusations?
To many people the television show ‘Jim’ll Fix-it’ would be their first introduction to this legendary entertainer. As a young boy I couldn’t wait to tune in to find out how Jim had fixed it for others. To a young audience this show was the place where dreams became a reality, the appeal was magnetic. Jim was a legend, and appeared to be an awesome bloke too. This awesomeness is evident in the image of a man that couldn’t do enough for others and for whom charity fund raising was his life’s work. People marveled at his supreme fitness when in his 70’s Jimmy would complete marathon distances for the sake of charity. To say Jimmy was a British institution would be an understatement.
So the background to these salacious allegations is set and now the reaction is of shock, surprise and more significantly, total disbelief.
Tomorrow evening ITV are airing a show called ‘Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile’, which will contain interviews with people who claim to have been sexually abused by Jimmy. Is it right for these allegations to be made at a time when the man himself cannot defend himself? Why are these allegations being made now, a year after his death at the age of 84? Is the programme itself in poor taste? There are many questions to answer and there is a sense that even if Jim had still been around we would get no closer to the truth. Now that he has gone we are left with the testimonies of others; the degree we are willing to believe these allegations will hinge on the credibility of these people.
With a title like ‘Exposure…’, the ITV 1 show will not be presenting a balanced view. Come the end of the programme people minds will have been made for them: Jimmy Savile is a former entertainer and DJ with a penchant for child molestation. The media enjoy building people up and crashing them down; this TV show will be no different. Audiences enjoy seeing people fail: the audience will expect Jimmy Savile to have failed. This is trial by television and reality TV at its most scandalously entertaining.
Will Jimmy be turning in his grave come Wednesday evening upon the broadcast of this show? Perhaps not: from a business point of view ‘Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile’, is sure to be a ratings winner.