Hulton Archive via Getty Images
English disc jockey, television broadcaster and charity worker Jimmy Savile on April 17, 1974, with some of the children who were going to take part in his show 'Jim'll Fix It' on BBC television.
LONDON - Sit down children and let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was an eccentric disc-jockey and TV presenter with long golden hair who became a favorite with families all around the United Kingdom.
For years he presented a massively popular kids’ TV show where this kind and gentle man helped children achieve the stuff of their dreams. It was called “Jim’ll Fix It.” It had a catchy theme tune I can still whistle.
He smoked big cigars, wore outlandish suits, ran marathons and raised millions for charity. In recognition of his good work, he was knighted by the queen. Arise Sir Jimmy Savile.
When he died, doctors and nurses lined the streets near their hospital to pay homage to this larger-than-life philanthropist as his cortege drove through his home town.
The fairy tale was over.
But now it has emerged it was a nightmare all along.
For it turns out that Uncle Jim was very likely a sexual pervert -- a man who systematically sought out young girls and abused them over decades, all while hiding under the guise of being one of the biggest and nicest celebrities in the country.
Samir Hussein / WireImage via Getty Images, file
Sir Jimmy Savile attends the ceremony to name Cunard's new cruise-liner Queen Elizabeth II in Southampton Docks Oct. 11, 2010 in Southampton, England.
To get the enormity of this, imagine Captain Kangaroo standing accused today of being a sexual predator.
The revelations burst into the public consciousness last week, and every day since the headlines have revealed claims of more and more lurid behavior -- much of it taking place under the noses of the authorities, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the country's highly respected public broadcaster.
It’s alleged that for years Savile took underage girls into his dressing room at the BBC -- and that “everyone” knew what was going on. No-one did anything.
Savile’s supposed good works included working as a porter and fundraiser in major medical facilities. Now, he’s said even to have abused children as they lay in their hospital beds.
I bumped into him myself when I went to the hospital with my kids. He was charming, and they were thrilled to see him. There was not a hint of anything to cause me – a protective dad – any concern. Quite the opposite. It was easy to be star-struck by his apparent warmth.
Across Britain, 11 police forces are now investigating up to 40 allegations of abuse by victims who were as young as 13. There are calls to strip him of his knighthood.
Too late. Savile died last year at the age of 84. A showman to the end, he was buried in a gold coffin and laid to rest at an angle of 45 degrees so he could have a view out to sea.
Phil Noble / Reuters
Floral tributes and a piece of turf mark the spot where the headstone was removed from Jimmy Savile's grave.
His gravestone -- actually three of them side-by-side -- was, like Savile, flamboyant and larger than life. He penned his own epitaph, written in gold leaf on the polished granite stone: “It was good while it lasted.”
Well, no it wasn’t, Sir Jimmy. It was awful, and it should have been stopped before you could hurt so many unsuspecting, trustful youngsters.
The investigations will go on. The BBC has promised to dig into his past -- and their own apparent failure over years to stop him. Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken of his concerns.
This week Savile’s gravestone was dismantled in the early morning gloom “out of respect to public opinion, and to those who are buried there and to those who tend their graves.”
It was broken into pieces and will be ground down and used as landfill. Dust to dust.
His epitaph is gone with it. Instead of the fame he so craved and enjoyed, and in spite of the millions he raised for charity, he will be remembered as a monster who molested kids.
So much for the fairy tale.
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