Steve Coogan is to star as Jimmy Savile in the BBC One drama The Reckoning (w/t) from ITV Studios.

Writer producer Neil McKay and executive producer Jeff Pope (The Moorside, Appropriate Adult) will work with director Sandra Goldbacher (Ordeal by Innocence, The Accident).

The mini-series will trace the life of Jimmy Savile, a man who rose from working-class origins to become one of the biggest stars of British television, but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history following revelations of extensive and horrific abuse.

The story will trace Savile through his early years in the dance halls of northern England, his career with the BBC, to his twilight years when he sought to dispel the growing rumours about his life and the legacy he would leave behind.

The Reckoning (w/t) has been commissioned for BBC One by Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer and Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama. Lucy Richer is executive producer for the BBC. Clare Shepherd is producer.

The team are working closely with many people whose lives were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect, and the drama will also draw on extensive and wide-ranging research sources. It will examine the impact his appalling crimes had on his victims and the powerlessness many felt when they tried to raise the alarm.

Savile used his involvement in multiple organisations, such as hospitals, prisons, charities and the BBC, to legitimise himself. The drama will explore the way he used his celebrity and powerful connections to conceal his wrongdoings and to hide in plain sight.

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

Executive Producer, ITV Studios, Jeff Pope says: “The purpose of this drama is to explore how Savile’s offending went unchecked for so long, and in shining a light on this, to ensure such crimes never happen again. Steve Coogan has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity.”

Director, Sandra Goldbacher, says: “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.”

Jeff Pope and Neil McKay produced Bafta-winning Appropriate Adult based on the true story of the relationship between serial killer Fred West and his appropriate adult; Bafta-nominated The Moorside, which told the story of the community impacted by the disappearance of Shannon Matthews; and Four Lives which is coming to BBC One and will go beneath the headlines to shed new light on the murders of four young gay men by Stephen Port in Barking in 2014-15, telling the story from the point of view of the families of the victims, focusing on their fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost loved ones in the face of a now widely-criticised police investigation.




Jon Creamer

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