One of the interesting aspects of both Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile is the divergence between the public image and the actual personality. I have watched Rolf Harris all my life and he came over as blokey, affable, endearing. Yet my memory is troubled by his compering of the Eurovision song contest which Sandie Shaw won the Eurovision song with Puppet on a String. He kept on saying “Kiss me Sandie” and was criticised for this. He actually made a video about child abuse at the time he was indulging in it. It suited the powers that be in the world of entertainment to cultivate the friendly image: did they know the actual groping reality?
The divergence in Jimmy Savile was, if anything, more stark. Here we had “Jim would fix it”: he was some form of saint-cum-alchemist that could bring happiness and succour to children who were critically ill by meeting their hopes. I can recall a chat with a friend of mine at the time that there is something sinister here. A few years later I heard he was into necrophilia but, when I shared this knowledge with someone who knew him well, this was dismissed. Savile’s impeccable connections with charity, the police and the Conservative party placed him, he may have thought, in the untouchable category. Similarly Harris painted the Queen and living in Windsor was regular visitor to the Castle.
The other day I heard Judy Murray on Desert Island Discs who admitted that, troubled by his press treatment, she had been on a media course. Now whenever interviewed Andy is less edgy, more superficially attractive. So when he says he will be having a chat with Mauresmo one can assume this means she is on the way out. John Terry is not my favourite sportsman but I was impressed when he said that vey few people know him, certainly not those who pontificate on his personality. He is not going to cultivate a new and false image.
My point is that it suited those who profited from the marketability of Harris to maintain the false image, so I cannot agree with the sentencing judge that he only has himself to blame.