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.

 ??  ?? Tele­vi­sion his­tory: Pip Bur­ley helped create Jimmy Sav­ile’s chair (in­set)
Tele­vi­sion his­tory: Pip Bur­ley helped create Jimmy Sav­ile’s chair (in­set)

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