1 November 2011

"Look after yourself for seven days until we return for more Fix Its..."

I watched Jim'll Fix It religiously, like many other kids of that era. I don't think I ever wrote to the programme though. A pal at school called Mark, who was a wiz at BMX biking, wrote to ask if he could go round some complicated course with the top rider of the time (whose name escapes me) and was put on standby. It never happened though.

Isolated Fix Its still stick out. The kid who wanted to jump through a paper hoop, the one who sang with Tight Fit (and got kissed by both women at once, to his obvious delight), the one who read the football scores (he supported Everton and Cambridge United so their scores were both 35-0, or something), Peter Cushing's quest for a rose in his late wife's name, and the much-repeated bunch of cub scouts spilling their Snoopy flasks on the rollercoaster.

I've looked for two in particular. This is the first. I think it's significant because in 1985, Duran Duran had stopped needing to do kids telly and Top of The Pops, they were so globally huge. And yet their lead singer had time for this...



I love that the "victim" is way too overwhelmed to react in the way you'd expect a Duranie from the mid-80s to react, and that there is generally very little bruhaahaa from the kids in general, barring a few older girls screaming as he disappears on the horse. Also, the editing is clever enough not to show the real rider coming into the school, but still manages to show him, in knight's regalia, pulling the horse away afterwards while the two of them sit on top. Brilliant.

Then there's this one. No dousing down of anyone's bonfire is intended, but I can't help but think this one isn't as genuine as it makes out...



Her parents must have told her to expect nothing, and Jimmy himself said she was the lucky one of thousands, but there she is, with a line to speak on EastEnders, purely from writing to Jim'll Fix It. The use of specially made end credits over footage of her at school, rather than actual credits that appeared over the cartoon image of the Thames, is a giveaway too. If it really did happen then one assumes there was an acting union agreement that she'd not get crediting. Plenty of agents and parents representing professional child actors would have had a fit, wouldn't they?

It's not online, but I'd love to see again a clip of the bloke who was taught by the show's videotape editor how to be a videotape editor, as his daughter had noticed from the Jim'll Fix It credits that they shared the same name - Chris Booth. We then got a set-up whereby Jimmy was shown some pottery by an enthusiast (played by Tony "Merry Balladeer" Aitken) who accidentally broke one, so produced another, and then misidentified who gave it to him - he said it was his brother, rather than his mother. One Mr Booth then showed the other how to edit the film so that all mistakes were cut out and it all emerged as intended.

Sir Jimmy Savile was a radio man who transferred effortlessly to telly, something that not all radio greats have been able to do (and even fewer telly experts can do radio, of course) and the tributes from the famous and the not famous since his death at the weekend have been very warm indeed. Jim'll Fix It, as a television institution, is as brilliant a legacy as any guy of his professionalism and longevity could have hoped to leave.

1 comment:

Eloise said...

I wrote to Jim'll Fix it twice, and on neither occasion was my 'it', 'fixed' (though what my 'its' were, I'm afraid completely elude me, demonstrating how superficial they must have been). I did, however, receive a letter back, signed by Jim himself; though on reflection, I'm assuming it was a generic, mass-produced, 'thank you for your letter, but you ain't got the chance of a snowflake in hell in getting on the show, therefore please accept this letter as consolation', but I was chuffed anough to take it in to my primary school's daily 'show and tell', and receive a merit badge for initiative for my trouble. So it wasn't all bad. The thing, however, that saddens me most about Jimmy's death (apart obviously from the loss of one of radio and TV's greatest names and whom I believe to be was a thoroughly good egg, if a somehwat misunderstood one), is that he is one of the names, faces and voices of my childhood, along with Johnny Morris and Tony Hart (the latter was a particular favourite of mine). And now, they're all gone. Very, very sad indeed.