Monitor: The Murder Of Jill Dando
Reflections on the widespread public grief following the killing of the popular television presenter
Saturday 01 May 1999
SO MUCH has been said about television's curious power to create intimacy among strangers that it takes a large shock to the system to see how strong - and dangerous - that power can be. Several famous women, from Steffi Graf to Madonna, have been the object of unwanted, and ultimately deranged, attention from "fans"; maybe Jill Dando was too. How else to explain how a woman who, by all accounts, had not an enemy in the world, could be killed in broad daylight, and on her own doorstep.
THE MURDER of Jill Dando is one of those rare events that sends a chill and a shock through everyone who hears or reads of it. The notion of this radiant, stunningly pretty woman savagely killed, apparently by someone unknown to her, is hard to come to terms with. The power of television makes personal friends of those who come into the living rooms of each of us, night after night. Millions of people who never met Jill Dando feel a sense of loss, compounded by the knowledge that she had so much to live for: soon to be married, with a thriving career. She was respected by her colleagues in the media as a superb professional, always unruffled and at ease on set, with a face and presence the camera loved. This was a dreadful act, by someone whom we must assume to be deranged, which leaves all of us with a sense of deep sorrow and of sympathy for her family and all those who knew and worked with her.
JILL DANDO'S horrific murder will leave the same appalling imprint on our minds. Like Princess Diana, Jill was a beautiful young woman cut down in her prime. The sense of shock is palpable. It is a terrible irony that perhaps her greatest public role was helping to bring villains to justice on Crimewatch. We now owe it to Jill's family to catch her own killer and stop him ending another life so brutally. Britain is a very sad place today. We mourn the loss of an extraordinary woman. Someone who we all, in our own way, grew to love.
THE MURDER of Jill Dando is a tragedy for her family, friends and colleagues, a genuine shock to many other people and a legitimate news story. So why can't we leave it at that? Why does what should be a moment for private grief have to be elevated into a semi-state occasion, complete with appearances from the Queen and President Blair? The orgy of emotionalism can tell us little about the life of the blameless Miss Dando. Her brutal murder appears to have become the latest excuse for another public outburst of the modern British disease - mourning sickness. And meanwhile, in Belgrade, they drag the body of an ordinary, innocent make-up lady from the rubble of the Serbian equivalent of BBC Television Centre. No tears or television specials for her. (Mick Hume)
IT IS a terrible irony that one who has become so familiar to millions for her work in the fight against crime should herself become one of its brutal statistics - cut down on her own doorstep on an English spring day. That the life of one so talented, good-natured and unassuming could be snuffed out in this way adds to our instinctive sense of shock and dismay. Jill Dando was the nation's favourite "girl next door". That is why her death leaves so many mourning today.
The Birmingham Post
THE MURDER of a well-known, successful woman in broad daylight on a London street is enough to remind us all of our own vulnerability. Jill Dando will be mourned in her own right; but her death is symbolic of our troubled times.
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