Scottish Daily Mail
I fixed it for Jim and his amazing armchair
HOW interesting to see Jimmy savile’s prized possession, the Jim’ll Fix It chair, up for sale (Mail). I had no idea it still existed: it has an fascinating history. In the early seventies, Jim made a series of tV ads for the newly-introduced car seatbelts. the ads used the slogan ‘clunk, click every trip’ and, somewhat surprisingly, bearing in mind the BBc’s sensitivity to sponsorship, led to a tV series with Jim, called clunk, click. I was then running a design business and knew a man called Bob Brooksby who worked for an advertising agency called the london Press exchange. He was a kind of Mr Fixit for Jim. In Bob’s office one day in 1973, he told me of his plans for clunk, click and that Jim had come up with the idea for a special chair from which he would anchor the show. It had to do things, as well as demonstrate the seatbelt. Making the chair was problematic, and I eventually went to friend tony Novissimo, who ran a kind of inventing business in shepherd’s Bush. Within a few weeks I was summoned to his workshop to view the completed chair, before it was upholstered in bright orange. tony had managed to fit it up with all Jim’s ideas: press a button and it made tea, another would cause a cigar to appear, complete with lighter. It also talked. Most of these devices were operated rather ingeniously by car aerials located within the structure of the chair. the chair was a sensation and became a permanent feature of the show, which ran for two years. It never failed to perform, not least because during filming tony was crouched behind it with a second set of controls. after two series, clunk, click was replaced by Jim’ll Fix It, an almost identical format but without the seatbelt promotion, and he continued to use the chair, which had been re-upholstered in blue. Now the chair is being auctioned after 40 years and appears to be back in its original orange livery. I can assure any eventual owner that it didn’t cost anything like £8,000 to make, but has impeccable provenance. In 1985, my daughter Victoria wrote to Jim’ll Fix It asking if he could fix it for her and her two younger sisters to meet the Beverley sisters. she had been performing their song sisters at school. this resulted in all six of them performing on the show. and, of course, there was Jim, still in the famous chair, doling out the medals. Over the years, I got to know Jim and visited him in his first-floor london flat. the rooms were largely unfurnished, though he had lived there during his working week for several years. He was a great guy, a true eccentric but one who knew exactly what he was doing.
PIP BURLEY, Headley, Surrey.