Jimmy Savile's public persona
Jimmy Savile was a man with a high profile public persona, built on decades of broadcasting and charitable work. He was seen as a flamboyant eccentric but is now accused of years of sexual abuse. Explore this grid to find out more about his public life.Continue reading the main story
Top of the Pops
Jimmy Savile was the first host of the BBC’s Top of the Pops in 1964 and helped to present the programme for more than 20 years. In its 1970s heyday, TOTP rated at 15 million viewers. Allegations of abuse surrounding the programme have since been aired by Panorama.
Jim'll Fix It
Savile fronted his own show Jim'll Fix It on BBC 1 from 1974 until 1994. Young viewers in their thousands would write in with requests for Savile to grant. An allegation has surfaced that Savile abused a nine-year-old cub scout in his dressing room. Kevin Cook had gone to the dressing room on the promise of receiving his own Jim'll Fix It badge.
He joined the fledgling BBC Radio 1 in 1968, presenting Savile's Travels, youth discussion show Speakeasy and Jimmy Savile's Old Record Club, a show of chart songs from previous decades. In 1992 he won a prestigious gold Sony Award. Speaking after allegations against Savile were made public Derek Chinnery, Radio 1 controller from 1976-85, said he asked the entertainer about "these rumours we hear". Savile responded "That's all nonsense."
Before joining Radio 1, he worked at Radio Luxembourg, a European commercial station which could be heard in the UK. He presented the Teen and Twenty Disc Club and other programmes.
Savile’s other broadcasting credits include Young at Heart for Tyne Tees in 1960, a chat show for BBC 1 in 1973 called Clunk, Click and several commercial radio stations after he left BBC Radio 1 in 1987.
Leeds General Infirmary
Savile had a long-association with the Leeds General Infirmary which included him volunteering during the 1960s and 70s and carrying out charity work until his death in October 2011. At one time he also worked as a porter at the hospital. The hospital has received two complaints of sexual assault by Savile dating back to the 1970s.
He joined the specialist hospital as a volunteer porter in 1969 and began fundraising in 1972. His campaign raised £10m in the first three years and led to the creation of a purpose-built spinal cord injuries centre which opened in 1983 with Savile as its patron. He remained a frequent visitor to the hospital and had a room on site. The hospital says it is co-operating with police over claims Savile carried out abuse there. The charity, the Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust is being closed down.
Broadmoor secure psychiatric hospital
He began volunteering in the late 1960s or early 1970s and styled himself entertainments officer. Savile had a room on the site and was appointed head of a taskforce to run the hospital when the management was suspended in 1988. Reports that Savile abused a patient at Broadmoor are being investigated by its NHS trust.
Savile ran more than 200 marathons and half marathons in aid of charity. In 1985 the Jimmy Savile Marathon Appeal was the official charity of the London Marathon and as such was awarded a number of free places.
Other charity work
The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust is to close, in the wake of the allegations against Savile. Other charity work included being the honorary president of disabled children’s charity Phab and patron of the Across charity which takes ill people to Lourdes. He also donated considerable sums to causes, including £60,000 to Leeds University in 2006 to sponsor five medical students in their research.
Savile was awarded the OBE in the New Years Honours list of 1972.
Awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list of 1990 for charity services. Calls for Savile to be posthumously stripped of his knighthood emerged once the news of the sexual abuse allegations against him became public.
Also in 1990, Pope John Paul II made Savile - a lifelong Roman Catholic - a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great . The honour is also known as a papal knighthood
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Savile was given another Catholic honour: the Cross of Merit in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It is awarded to those who have carried out charitable works or upheld Christian values.
Savile was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Leeds in 1986. He was presented with an honorary doctorate by Bedfordshire University in 2009 (pictured).
From 1972, Savile fronted a series of public information films urging the public to wear seatbelts, which was not yet compulsory. The slogan “Clunk click, every trip,” reminded drivers and passengers to click their seatbelt into place after clunking shut the car door. It was used until 1993.
Age of the train
1980 heralded a new high-speed train, the InterCity 125, which the new boss of British Rail hoped would revive the railways. It was launched with the help of a memorable advertising campaign, fronted by Savile, which announced the 1980s would be “the age of the train”.
As It Happens
Savile's autobiography was released in 1974 and re-released in 1976 as Love is an Uphill thing. It traaces his life and career from the coal mines to the dance halls and into broadcasting.
These include a work on faith entitled God’ll Fix It, published in 1979, various books on pop music, and introductions for titles including Benjamin Rabbit and the Stranger Danger.
Savile was a friend of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher and met her many times, although his claim to have spent Christmases at Chequers is disputed by Mrs Thatcher’s daughter Carol.
Became friendly with Prince Charles in the mid 1980s and, according to the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter was “on the scene until the end of the Eighties”. Savile claimed to have been an adviser although Arbiter says that was an exaggeration.
Savile got to know Diana at the same time as Charles and she mentions a conversation with him during the so-called Squidgygate tapes, thought to have been recorded in 1989. When mourners were invited to Diana’s funeral, based on her Christmas card list, Savile was among the guests.