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On Friday night I witnessed a murder. It was cold blooded, savage and wholly unnecessary but with something of a Jonathan Creek twist to it: the victim was (perhaps thankfully) already dead.
Call me old fashioned, but I think that obituaries should be honourable, respectful and a touch sorrowful. None of the above criteria were met the other day when Sir Jimmy Saville passed away in his sleep aged 84.
The obligatory obituary did all but verbally assault him from the other side of mortality with such salvos as “profound enigma” and “difficult man to fathom”. It was at times lip chewingly painful to watch as the voiceover seemed to be doing his best to paint the recently deceased entertainer as a man with deep sorrow within him, summarising the two minute condensation of his life with “in the end the man was simply a puzzle. A profound and lonely man who craved attention but found consolation in doing good”. The man had dedicated almost three-quarters of his life to the organisation, what kind of golden handshake is that?
The only way in which the BBC could force themselves into some kind of contortion of a compliment was that he would always be remembered for his eccentric fashion and selection of catchphrases. If a man of 84 years of life and almost six decades in the limelight can only amass a strange wardrobe and limited vocabulary then something has gone very wrong indeed.
Jimmy Saville was, in my opinion, so much more than just clothes and words. He embodied the dying spirit of showmanship and showbiz. He was his own brand and didn’t need platforms like The X Factor or I’m a Celebrity… to keep him afloat in a shark infested industry. For the BBC to turn on one of their own like that was shocking to me.
Somewhat apologetically (at least I’d like to think so) the top featured story on BBC News as I write this is a fairly lengthy article with detailed testimonies from friends of Sir Jimmy who have come forward after seeing this damning piece of video cruelty.
Furthermore, a slide show is now on the website with a wealth of old pictures of members of the public with Sir Jimmy, each one with a caption beneath it telling us how he was as a person and how he ‘fixed things’ for them. I’m no behavioural psychologist, but it seems to be like the Beeb are trying to make up for the brutal slur against an entertainer that was beamed to the homes of millions on Friday evening.
Perhaps I hold too much faith in the BBC for their impartial reporting on mammoth issues both overseas and closer to home, but they well and truly need somebody to fix their sense of compassion.