Fallen Icon – Jimmy Savile

It is hard for non-Brits to understand the magnitude of the Jimmy Savile pedophile scandal in the UK.

Jimmy Savile was a Pop-Culture-Tzadik. A role model for millions of kids growing up in the UK in the 60’s and 70’s.

Kids like me.

Jimmy was flamboyant, with long dyed-blond hair, Cuban cigars, a regional Yorkshire accent (was a coal miner as a youth), and he was the charming interface on the radio and TV between a young public and pop stars & celebrities. His famous shows included Top of the Pops and hosting a long-standing music show on Radio 1.

But the reason he was so admired (even by grown-ups!)  was his chesed – his good works.

For twenty years, Jimmy hosted a popular kids TV show “Jim’ll Fix It”. Kids sent in “I wish…” letters and Jim would make sure that, however improbable, the kid’s wish was fulfilled. Particularly effecting were special needs kids, who Jim helped achieve the apparently impossible.

Beyond that, Jimmy worked hard to raise tens of millions of pounds for worthy charitable causes. He ran marathons, and organized events. He personally volunteered for the causes he championed – including volunteering weekly for trolley duties at his local hospital in Leeds.

Jimmy was so universally admired, he was knighted by the Queen, and even by the Pope.

He died, mourned by thousands, at the age of 85. He was buried at an angle of 45 degrees in the town of Scarborough “so he could see the sea”.

Till then, all sounds ideal. Role model, rags to riches, never forgot his humble origins, always helped his fellow man.

Until a TV documentary was aired on 30th September, which brought to light allegations from ten different women who claimed that they were sexually abused by Savile as children

Since the program, that number has risen to 340 complaints…

These events allegedly happened to children throughout his career, including in the BBC central building itself, and with the tacit knowledge of pretty much the whole British entertainment industry.

Young patients in the hospitals Jimmy volunteered at, were told by nurses to pretend to be asleep, so that Savile would not take them into his private room, and abuse them.

Jimmy Savile allegedly abused his positions, prestige, saintly image, charisma and access, to use children for sexual gratification. While adults around him chose not to see; and if they saw, chose not to rock the boat.

Jimmy Savile was, in the parlance of the US Financial crash of 2008, “too big to fail”.

Jimmy Savile was a classic “Pied Piper” child abuser….

Unfortunately, Jimmy Saviles exist in every society. 

Watch out for people who are too good to be true. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t smell right, it’s probably not right. Don’t be fooled by people who say “it’s just Joe – he amazing and he’s different, a bit eccentric, but look at how much good he does... Don’t worry about it. Drop it….”

If in doubt, get out, and call for help.


Here in Israel, if you suspect child abuse - call the Police and/or "Magen" - 02-9999-678; 050 8489001; davidm@magenprotects.org


  1. He was buried at an angle of 45 degrees...

    Reminds me of some Jewish story, something about being buried standing up...??

  2. N.Y. Times, Letter From Europe (Alan Cowell, 5 Nov. '12):
    Keeping Honest Inquiry at Bay


    LONDON — There are around 800 words in this column, but really it concerns just one of them.

    The word is “inappropriate,” as in: “It would be highly inappropriate of me (a person of note) to disclose anything on this matter of public interest to you (a reporter, plebeian or sundry member of the hoi polloi).”

    The debate is ... about the codes devised by those in power to cloak their secrets, to frustrate honest inquiry, to thwart transparency. The word reflects an aversion to openness, a fear of judgment that, among other things, helped the British Broadcasting Corp.’s television host Jimmy Savile evade scrutiny for decades as he abused a tally of underage people that the police have put at 300.



    N.Y. Times, IHT Rendezvous blog (Alan Cowell, 5 Nov. '12)
    A Disgusted Britain Tries to Delete Memories of Savile


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