Steve Coogan will play Jimmy Savile in an upcoming BBC drama series about how the high profile presenter has spent decades living a double life as one of the country’s most notorious pedophiles.
The Alan Partridge star said the decision to portray Savile on screen was not a decision he “took lightly” but that the series had “a clever script that sensitively tackles a gruesome story that – even heartbreaking – must be told ”.
The creators say the series will explore both Savile’s rise to fame and his final years battling rumors about his private life, exploring how the presenter “used his fame and powerful connections to cover up his misdeeds and hide in plain sight ”.
Realizing the potential for criticism to exploit Savile’s hundreds of victims, the creators of the drama, titled The Reckoning, say they have worked with some of those affected by the presenter’s actions.
Upon Savile’s death in 2011, he was first widely celebrated as an eccentric British eccentric who had entertained several generations of Brits with his appearances on BBC shows such as Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It . He started his career in the clubs of the North and – always happy to rekindle his own legend – claimed to have been the first DJ to perform with two decks side by side, before later becoming ubiquitous on British television and radio. .
Yet weeks after her death, the BBC’s Newsnight program had prepared an investigation into allegations that Savile was a serial sex offender, only to be kept out by BBC bosses.
A year later, ITV went public with an investigation into the presenter, triggering a cascade of allegations of a cover-up of the facility. Rather than an eccentric, an image emerged of Savile as a pedophile who had covered decades of illegal behavior using his charity work, police connections and media connections. He protected his reputation by threatening legal action against anyone who investigated allegations against him.
The botched handling of the case and the aftermath that followed contributed to George Entwistle’s departure as the BBC’s managing director.
Jeff Pope, executive producer of The Reckoning, said: “The purpose of this drama is to explore how Savile’s offense has not been controlled for so long, and highlighting that, to ensure that such crimes never happen again. Steve Coogan has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the utmost care and integrity. “
Savile’s grave remains in a Scarborough cemetery despite local opposition after his crimes were exposed. He left instructions that his coffin should be placed at 45 degrees so that he could always “see the sea”. His grave was also covered with concrete, apparently to protect the remains from thieves, which made it impossible to exhumate him. Savile’s gravestone, which has since been removed, bore the inscription: “It was good as long as it lasted.” “