SAYS JACKIE RICHMOND
I’m in a bad mood. And the cause of me going all hot under the collar is none other than Jimmy Savile (Savile was later revealed to be one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders). It’s all because of the way he behaves on television when the Monkees, singly or together, are on the same show.
Let’s get the facts straight first. The Monkees are idolised by millions of us in Britain. Because of a tight schedule, we don’t get to see the boys in person very often. When they do get time to make a flying visit to London the only way they can be seen by millions is on television. And there aren’t many programmes that suit them, so even the old telly-bit doesn’t happen very often.
But there is “Top Of The Pops”. Micky’s been on it, alone and with Mike. Peter took time out to make a flying visit to the studio over at Shepherds Bush. Davy, too, likes to fit an appearance on the top-pop show, so he can show his face to all us fans.
Right—now for the gripe I feel about Jimmy Savile. I say he doesn’t give his guest visitors a chance and that goes double for the Monkees. By some strange coincidence, Jimmy always seems to be the host when a Monkee appears. And I can’t remember a single time when he’s been content to stick in the background and let us have a fair helping of any of the Monkees.
If his job is to be compere and interviewer, then surely he should stand aside and let the guest have the limelight. We can see Jimmy umpteen times in the course of a year, but we don’t get many chances of seeing a Monkee off-duty, as it were and hearing what he wants to say.
I was there for rehearsals and for the actual show when Davy was guest of honour. Davy was great, mingling with the fans lucky enough to be invited to the studio, signing autographs until his hand must have felt like dropping off. We all wanted to hear what he had to say—there are so many interesting subjects he could have talked about.
Instead, Jimmy did his usual bit. It was worst of all during the rehearsal. He started off turning on his North-country mad talk, which left Davy wondering when he was going to get a chance to say something… and believe me if Davy, from Manchester itself, is baffled then it was obviously a thousand times worse for the other boys who are all-American. I’m sure Davy looked peeved when he found he wasn’t getting a chance to do anything. In the “run-through”, he looked straight at one camera and said: “And now, IF this bloke will let me get a word in, I’ll introduce the next record.” Davy’s a cheery chap, as we all know, and he managed to keep smiling, but it was all such a difficult situation that I felt really ANGRY on his behalf.
Sure it was better on the actual transmission, except that we still had far too much Savile. When Davy did eventually get a chance to say a word or two for himself, with no spoken interruption, there was Jimmy Savile fooling around over his shoulder, distracting viewers and doing his best to stay the central figure… to hog the limelight.
I expect you’ll all remember when Micky and Mike were together on the show—and Jimmy S. actually forgot one of the boy’s names. That was bad enough, though anybody can make a mistake. It’s not the odd slip-of-the-tongue that makes me have a go at Jimmy, it’s the way his tongue never stops wagging.
Put any of the Monkees on a pop television programme and a good interviewer can get marvellous quotes out of them. And if the talk dries up, well… all the boys are good comics and can make us laugh with their antics and face-pullings. But I’m sure I speak up for all Monkee fans when I say that the boys are the stars, not the resident comperes who are really there just to make things go along smoothly.
Jimmy, off-stage, is a likeable chap with a heart of gold. Until recently, he won pretty well all the popularity polls as a disc-jockey and was a welcome change from all the samey types with their so-BBC voices. But I honestly wish he’d belt up sometimes and let the guest celebrities do what they’re invited to do… which is show themselves to the fans, and talk about things that are happening to them.
And why does Jimmy always have to wind up the show by grabbing them by the shoulders, pointing them at the cameras and telling them to say “goodbye to the guys and gals”. And if they get a chance to introduce one of the other acts, it’s almost always: “Now then, say after me, the next group is…” and all that sort of rubbish.
Phew! I feel better now that I’ve got all that off my mind. Fair play for the guests on “Top Of The Pops” is what I want… and specially fair play for our marvellous Monkees. Are you listening, Jimmy?