The sixties and seventies formed a unique era in Britain - a highly sexualised period when many types of activity and behaviour now regarded as dubious were considered commonplace. Reliable contraception was available for all and nobody had heard of aids so in a sense we were liberated in a way that our parents could never have dreamed of.
In those days, you rarely heard of complaints of sexual harassment - a racy comment and a quick hug at work were common place and it wasn’t all coming from the men, some of the women were just as bad.
Those of us who grew up through that period were aware of groupies that hung around pop stars and DJs. Many of those young stars, with over active libidos, have admitted that taking advantage of the young fans was common place. The last thing that would concern the young men was to ask about the girl’s ages and even if they did, the girls would have lied.
However, the revelations now coming out about Jimmy Saville are different.
To be honest, I never liked the man. The ostentatious jewellery, the gaudy track suits, huge cigars and his long blonded hair looked ridiculous on a man of his age and his supposed upbringing. Neither did I care for the leery look in his eye and the way he feted young girls on his shows. In my opinion, there were far better DJs at the time and better presenters of children’s TV shows.
Saville’s memory is now under scrutiny as a growing number of women are coming forward to say that they were sexually assaulted by him. Whilst the “pretty boy” pop stars were being chased by the idolising fans, it seems that in Saville’s case, he was the one doing the chasing. That is hardly surprising given his age at the time. Saville’s role might have seemed glamorous but I can hardly believe that young girls found his appearance and his manner attractive.
Apparently the claims made against Saville come as a surprise to the BBC executives who say that there were no complaints made about him. Yet it is reportedly no surprise to many who knew him and worked with him nor will it be to many of the millions who watched him on TV.
The sad thing is that Saville is no longer here to defend himself but then neither is he here to be called to account for whatever he did wrong.