Sir Jimmy Savile - 1926-2011

Sir Jimmy Savile is to be buried in Scarborough next week
Sir Jimmy Savile is to be buried in Scarborough next week

SIR JIMMY Savile was known by millions as a legendary DJ and television presenter and a devoted fundraiser.

James Wilson Vincent Savile rose to fame through television favourites Top of the Pops and his own programme Jim’ll Fix It.

The series, in which he helped grant the dreams of children across the country, drew in huge audiences and received 20,000 letters a week at the height of its popularity.

He appeared in the both the first and the last ever Top of the Pops programmes.

Away from broadcasting, he devoted much of his time to charity work, running 200 marathons and raising £40 million over the years.

In 1990 Jimmy Savile was knighted in recognition of his fundraising.

He was born in Leeds, in 1926. He was the eldest of seven children, and started his life like many other boys, working down the coal pit, at Waterloo Colliery, Leeds.

He described his transition from Bevan Boy to Top of Pops presenter as “Dead easy”.

Speaking to the Scarborough Evening News in 2005, he said: “One day I made a list of everything I wanted in my life.

“This consisted of stopping in bed, warmth, girls, carpets and coloured lights.

“I realised I could have all these things if I worked in a dance hall. Now everybody in a dance hall was dancing to bands and not to records. So I borrowed eight records and managed to get a room I could use for nowt.”

Jimmy’s dance halls took off and there was no going back.

He went on to work at Radio Luxembourg in London. “I was asked to do an audition but I said they had seen everything there was to see already. I went down to London and into this radio studio. I had never been in one before in my life but I had more front than Blackpool and Scarborough put together. They thought the show was fantastic.”

Likewise Jimmy had never been in a television studio but he managed to blag his way in which led to his 20-year stint on Top of The Pops, starting in 1964.

“I did a pilot show in Manchester and I said I’d do one show a month because the longer you’re drip-fed the longer you live. I met all the greatest rock stars there were. Elvis was a terrific man and I was on the set of three of his films. The Beatles were great too, they once worked in one of my dance halls for a fiver,” he recalls.

“I did some work on the Beatles’ Christmas show at the Hammersmith Odeon, London. I had to introduce them to the audience which was the world’s biggest non-job I’ve ever done. It was on for 12 nights and I never uttered a word on stage. When I started doing Jim’ll Fix It, the producers wanted me to do 26 shows. I told them I’d do 10 shows and some specials at Christmas and Easter. That’s probably why it turned into such a legendary programme.”

He also led the national clunk-click every trip seatbelt campaign in the 1970s.

As well as Wessex Court in Scarborough, he had apartments near King’s Cross in London, in Scotland near Glencoe, in Leeds at Roundhay Park, and in Bournemouth.

The mantelpiece above his Scarborough home had a framed picture of the Queen Mary 2, presented to him by the Evening News in 2009.

The mantelpiece also had his miner’s lamps and two cards thanking him for friendship and advice in difficult times – one from Prince Charles, and another from Diana.