Junior school calls off school play featuring character 'based on Jimmy Savile'

The character, Jim Fixit, is a school caretaker who solves children's problems

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The Independent Online

A London junior school has been forced to cancel its end-of-year play after it emerged that one of the characters was based on paedophile Jimmy Savile.

Parents of pupils at Scargill Junior School in Rainham, east London, said the mistake was only discovered when their children brought the scripts home to read, the London Evening Standard reported.

One of the characters in the musical Lights, Camera, Action! is a school caretaker caked Jim Fixit, who is “ready for any challenge”.

The character reads out letters from children requesting help, in the manner of Savile on the long-running TV show Jim’ll Fix It, on which youngsters wrote in with requests to have their wishes granted.

One mother told the newspaper: “My son came home from school with the script and said ‘Mummy, should I be singing about Jimmy Savile? I said ‘what?’.

“I think it is completely disgusting - I do not want him to be a part of it.

“The school bought the script from a production company which adapts plays for primary schools but not one of his teachers picked up on it.”

After the blunder was revealed, the school sent out a text message to all parents. It said: “URGENT MESSAGE. We would like to RECALL all of the year 6 play scripts as soon as possible.”

The play was subsequently axed and the scripts are due to be destroyed.

Head teacher Amanda Ireland said: “Lights, Camera, Action! is a really good play in terms of what the year six pupils enjoy doing.

“However, because it is an older play the matter of one of the characters, in light of what has happened recently, is inappropriate.

“The whole idea was children would go to the character and he would fix their problems.

“We have not had time yet to decide on a new play because it all blew up. We are trying to make it right as quickly as we can.”

The play was last performed four years ago, before the truth about Savile emerged.

The presenter was a British television fixture for several decades, but after his death at 84 in 2011, witnesses and victims came forward to accuse him of sexual abuse. Police have since described the television and radio presenter as a serial sexual predator who used his fame to target young and mostly female victims, from star-struck teens at television recordings to patients in hospital beds.

A police investigation concluded last year that Savile's abuse spanned half a century and included at least 214 offenses, most against victims under 18.

Earlier this month  it was revealed that Savile abused at least 500 victims.

A study by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (NSPCC), commissioned for BBC Panorama, revealed confidential documents examining the extent of the television presenter’s offending and his unprecedented access to Broadmoor hospital. The NSPCC said the most common age group for Savile’s victims was 13 to 15.