Steve Coogan to play paedophile Jimmy Savile in new BBC drama The Reckoning

Actor says decision to play Savile was not one he took lightly

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 27 September 2021 08:32
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Clip of Louis Theroux's Savile documentary
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Steve Coogan will play paedophile TV presenter Jimmy Savile in a new BBC One drama titled The Reckoning.

The mini-series, which was written by Neil McKay, will explore how the late Top of the Pops host was able to commit his crimes unchecked for decades.

After his death in 2011, hundreds of survivors came forward with stories of abuse by Savile, who used his work at the BBC and at hospitals, prisons and charities to conceal his wrongdoings.

Producers are working with many people whose lives were affected by Savile “to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect”.

“To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly,” Coogan said in a statement. “Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively a horrific story which, however harrowing, needs to be told.”

Director Sandra Goldbacher said: “The Reckoning is a unique opportunity to give Savile’s survivors, the people who inspired this project, a voice.

“I feel sure that Steve Coogan’s powerful performance as Savile will create a debate around how the cult of celebrity cloaked him from scrutiny.”

Jimmy Savile on the roof of Broadcasting House in London to celebrate the BBC Radio station’s fifth anniversary, 30 September 1972

McKay has developed a reputation for tackling difficult subjects, including in his Fred and Rose West drama Appropriate Adult; a mini-series about the Yorkshire Ripper murders of the late Seventies, and the two-part drama See No Evil, about Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.

A release date for The Reckoning has yet to be announced.

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