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Dear Sir Jimmy Savile: A comedian's words of valediction to the nation's trusted uncle


It is with great sadness that I hear of the demise of Jim'll Fix It, the show that made children's dreams come true, especially recurring nightmares about old men in track suits. We shall all miss that showcase for a great English eccentric, with his extrovert clothes and jewellery. I often think that if you had been an entertainer, you would have been a sort of heterosexual Quentin Crisp: the white hair, the baubles, the affected halting speech, the air of a time that has passed.

I stress your heterosexuality because, with all the speculation about the private life of Britain's favourite bachelor, it has never been suggested in any quarter that your preference is for anything but the female. Indeed, you have regaled us with anecdotes about your dalliances, some of which happened in the middle of marathon races. You put the 'fun' in 'fun run'.

I always thought that if there had been a glamorous assistant on the show, you might have married. But it was never to be. Rather than have a family of your own, you became a trusted uncle to the nation's children. In a way you are rather like God, only with money.

Over the years you have raised a great deal of money for charity. It might even be said that you made a career of it. I know you are rather modest about your good works, and a lot of the things you get up to never make the headlines, but perhaps it was your agent or publicist who let slip every so often that as well as being a fundraiser and jogger you also do unpaid work as a hospital porter, such is your love of pushing the disabled around.

You clearly adore those less fortunate than yourself, which means most of us. But people with disabilities have had a special place in your studio. You wanted to elevate them from the status of mere people and make them mascots for the nation, filling our screens as a reminder that, but for the grace of God, we could look like that too.

As an active Conservative, you wish to free them from the shackles of welfare and public provision, remove the stain of dignity and independence, return them to the private sector with only the munificence of patronage to grovel to. One request before you go. My little girl would like there to be a National Health Service when she grows up. Can you fix it for her?

Your friend,

Jeremy Hardy

(Photograph omitted)