September 1 2014 Latest news:
Harry Kemble, Reporter
Friday, June 20, 2014
A parent uprising has forced a primary school to scrap its year 6 play today because a part was chillingly linked to serial sex attacker Jimmy Savile’s Jim’ll Fix It act.
Teachers at Scargill Junior School in Mungo Park Road, Rainham, decided to put on Lights Camera Action!, a musical featuring a character called Will Fixit - described as a “genial school caretaker, ready for any challenge”, two weeks ago.
The character was originally named “Jim Fixit” because of its “Jim’ll Fix It connotations”, although the name was changed in later versions after revelations broke about Savile after his death, said Edgy Productions, the company which published the play.
Savile presented BBC programme Jim’ll Fix It for 19 years where children’s wishes would be shown on screen or read out aloud, and he would, in turn, “fix it”.
A Rainham mother-of-three, who did not wish to be named, said even her son realised the play, set to be performed on July 18 by pupils, was not appropriate.
Police have said the former BBC DJ and presenter, who died aged 84 in October 2011, abused more than 400 victims over six decades.
The mother said: “My son knew what had happened, after school he came home and said ‘Mummy, should I be singing about Jimmy Savile? - I said ‘what’.”
The mother has since withdrawn her son from the play.
“I think it is completely disgusting - I do not want him to be a part of it,” she said.
“The school bought the script from a production company which adapts play for primary schools - it is the fact that not one of his teachers picked up on it.
“I am just glad he is leaving - if he was not leaving the school in July to go to secondary school I would be withdrawing him completely.”
Headteacher Amanda Ireland said the school would now choose a different play to perform, in light of her decision to cancel auditions and call for parents to return scripts of Lights Camera Action!.
A text sent by the school on Friday (20) to all the year six parents read: “URGENT MESSAGE. We would like to RECALL all of the year 6 play scripts as soon as possible.”
The school will destroy the scripts once they have been returned by parents.
The play was last performed four years ago, the school claims, before investigations into Jimmy Savile began.
On her decision to recall the scripts, Mrs Ireland said: “Lights Camera Action is a really good play in terms of what the year 6 pupils enjoy doing.
“However, because it is an older play the matter of one of the characters, in light of what has happened recently, is inappropriate.
“The whole idea was children would go to the character and he would fix their problems.”
Mrs Ireland is keen to win back the parents’ support because of the “important part” the year six play signifies in their time at the school.
However, she added: “We have not had time yet to decide on a new play because it all blew up today.”
Mrs Ireland, who has been headteacher at the school for 11 years, said she and other senior members of staff will be overseeing the selection process of the new play.
“We are trying to make it right as quickly as we can,” she added.
Last week, it was revealed a 10-year-old Scargill Junior School pupil had brought a small knife into the school and apparently threatened to stab a fellow pupil in May.
Although Mrs Ireland later denied those claims.
Reflecting on both incidents, Mrs Ireland said: “Of course, we want to move on. As with most schools it is all about having happy children and staff.
“I like the school and I am committed to making sure that the children get the best education.”
Edgy Productions said it changed the name of the character to “Will” “as soon as the Savile story broke in the press”.
A spokesman said: “We did everything we could to ensure schools who were in possession of the original material were given advice, opportunity and means to remove the sensitive references.”