Jimmy Savile: He fixed it for them – the guys and gals (and grandma) whose dreams came true
For 19 years, Jimmy Savile dominated Saturday afternoon television with 'Jim'll Fix It' in which he enabled a select number of children to fulfil their dreams, no matter how bizarre they were. To celebrate his life, James Waterson tracks down those who had their wishes realised and revisits some of the show's most memorable moments
Monday 31 October 2011
The Iron Maiden roadie
As a 12-year-old heavy metal fan, Dom Lawson had it fixed to work for Iron Maiden in 1986. "I travelled to Hammersmith Odeon on my own and at the end I went on stage in front of 4,000 people to announce the final song. My mum crow-barred me into a nice jumper because I was going on TV, so I looked desperately middle class. Years later, I bumped into the band at an album launch and they remembered me.
When Jimmy Savile walked into the room no one looked anywhere else. I felt totally at ease when I talked to him. He was loved by the British public because he was ludicrous and just didn't care. There's not a person that's ever watched Jimmy Savile who hasn't remembered his name and what he stood for."
The child butler
Dave Whillier lived the dream aged 10 after asking to be "a butler at a posh manor house" and then spending a day in 1979 serving the Marquis of Hertford. "It changed my life in a lot of ways – by the age of 11 I was the most famous kid in school. They did a special 'where are they now?' show five years later and I mentioned that I had just left school and was looking for work – the next day I got a phone call from a solicitors, an interview and a job. Everyone was really excited when you mentioned that you were on the show; at the time it was the equivalent of being on X-Factor. I won't hear a bad word said against Jimmy Savile. He was professional, pleasant and you can't ignore the fact he raised millions of pounds for charity."
The stunt motorcyclist
A request from Joan Cade's grand-children saw Jimmy Savile arrange for the 65-year-old to join the Royal Signals motorbike team for a display in 1991, impressing the professionals with her willingness to take risks. Joan, now in her 80s, is reported to still be riding the streets of Portsmouth despite having undergone hip-replacement surgery.
Cub Scouts on a rollercoaster
One of the most fondly remembered moments in the show's history came when Scouts from Sutton-in-Ashfield asked for a "meal in an unusual place". They were sent to Blackpool Pleasure Beach where their attempts to eat a packed lunch on a rollercoaster produced a lot of mess and TV gold. Jeremy Simpson, 42, said at a reunion: "It's an icebreaker with people I meet – it's a claim to fame."
The Mauritian dancer
The show was never afraid to fulfil even the most curious of requests. Emma Lawson, aged 10 in 1975, wrote in to declare: "My ambition is to do a Mauritian dance in a grass skirt while my friend plays the music or builds a brick wall." Jimmy Savile then duly arranged for the young Ms Lawson to dance on prime-time television while her friend, Alison Bush, also 10, carefully spread mortar on a pile of bricks.
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