The BBC has caused controversy today with the news that Steve Coogan has been cast as Jimmy Savile in a new drama entitled The Reckoning, which is said to delve into how the paedophile used his powerful connections and celebrity status to hide his heinous crimes.
“To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly,” said Coogan, who previously voiced Savile on the satirical comedy series Spitting Image. “Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively an horrific story which – however harrowing – needs to be told.”
“The purpose of this drama is to explore how Savile’s offending went unchecked for so long,” added executive producer Jee Pope. “And in shining a light on this, to ensure such crimes never happen again. Steve Coogan has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters. [He] will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity.”
As you’d expect, there’s already been a huge backlash against the news, with the BBC in particular coming under fire for commissioning the drama after the damning findings of the Dame Janet Smith Review. This report was heavily critical of the BBC’s level of knowledge about Savile’s conduct and the lack of action it took regarding his offending and identified 72 victims connected to his four decades plus with the organisation.
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