Steve Coogan in stern defence of 'controversial' BBC Jimmy Savile drama: 'Will vindicate itself'

Steve Coogan as Jimmy Savile

Steve Coogan as Jimmy Savile in BBC drama The Reckoning

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 12/09/2023

- 00:01

The actor will portray the heinous media personality Jimmy Savile in an upcoming drama series

The BBC's four-part series based on the life of Jimmy Savile is edging closer to is release date on the channel.

With Steve Coogan in the lead role, the series has been met with an incredibly divided and hostile reception ever since it was first announced.

The Reckoning, according to the BBC, will "trace the life of Jimmy Savile, a man who, for decades, became one of the UK’s most influential celebrities, but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history following revelations of extensive and horrific abuse".

The BBC also states that the purpose of the series is to be able to create a conversation and for people to talk openly about abuse while also "highlighting the importance of confronting the horrors of the past".

In order to ensure the drama's contents reflect what happened sensitively and correctly, the show's crew has worked closely with a number of survivors - four of whom will appear in the drama.

Much of the criticism lodged against the series claims there's no need for the BBC to dramatise the horrors of the disgraced entertainer, while others feel it's too soon to explore Savile's horrific actions.

Steve Coogan

Steve Coogan has defended the new BBC series


Nearly 12 years on from his death, the horrors inflicted by Savile continue to shock the world given he never faced any consequences while alive.

But despite the furore surrounding The Reckoning, lead star Coogan stands by the project.

"It is controversial and I understand that," he began in an interview with Radio Times.

The Alan Partridge star continued: "The BBC are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, and I believe the correct choice is to be damned if they do.

"Broadly, it’s better to talk about something than not," Coogan continued.

"The team had the right attitude and it was done with the cooperation of survivors.

"I think when it’s broadcast, it will vindicate itself," Coogan insisted.

BBC Drama Director Piers Wenger, who was responsible in giving the series the green light, echoed Coogan's word by previously claiming there is a “public interest” in making the show, according to Deadline.

Radio Times

Steve Coogan was speaking in this week's Radio Times


Joining Coogan at the helm of the project is writer Neil McKay and executive producer Jeff Pope.

The BBC has also announced a handful of actors joining the Alan Partridge star in the series.

These include BAFTA-winner Gemma Jones, Happy Valler pairing Siobhan Finneran and Mark Stanley, and Outlander star Mark Lewis Jones.

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