When venerable tracksuit-wearer, charity-chugger and inventor of disco Sir Jimmy Saville died in October, the nation agreed that he was a one-off who could never be replaced. And so it’s a shock to hear that his wish-granting powers have been unaccountably inherited by – of all people – former Pontins Bluecoat, Queen Vic landlord and Daz doorstep challenger Shane Richie.
Yes, in a “one-off Christmas special” – the BBC are perhaps hoping that their pilot will be only the start of it, now they’ve done it, now he’s a part of it – Shane’ll Fix It for any of today’s under-14s who fancy meeting JLS or eating cake on a roller-coaster.
It’s an undeniably strange choice. Sir Jimmy may not have been to everyone’s taste but there’s one thing you can say for him: while presenting Top Of The Pops, he never pretended to remove his eye and then eat it, as Richie did during a performance of his No. 2 single, I’m Your Man (honestly – it’s on YouTube).
Mind you, it’s not the first time that Richie has been linked to a towering figure in the entertainment world: it was, astoundingly, reported that he was due to be the warm-up man for Michael Jackson’s planned series of concerts in London. Only Jackson’s untimely death prevented one of the strangest collaborations ever, between the King of Pop and the King of Cheese.
But for viewers who remember Sir Jim in his prime, letting Richie dole out the gold medallions is making a travesty of a TV classic. But, as we can exclusively reveal, unimaginative producers are about to ruin far more memories with these upcoming revivals …
• Katie Price’s Newsround – all the latest about what Jordan’s been up to, explained in a simple style for children. And her latest boyfriend.
• Hey, Hey, We’re Little Mix! – Like The Monkees, but with Deep-voiced Mix, Bullied On The Internet Mix and, er, the other two Mixes, sharing a house together and having wacky adventures.
• Sky One’s Jackanory, with James Murdoch – presenting a new story every week.
• Catweazle – starring Russell Brand as a babbling man who can’t learn to use modern hairbrushes.
• Think Of A Number – reworked as a panel game in which teams of nurses, social workers and fire-fighters try to guess the bonuses of top bankers.
• The Clangers – round-up of things that Jeremy Clarkson has said recently.
• Why Don’t You … Just Think Up A New Idea Instead Of Rehashing Old Ones All The Time? – sadly cancelled before the first episode.
Jim’ll Fix It With Shane Richie is on BBC1 on 26 December, at 5.40pm.