Steve Coogan explains BBC’s “correct” choice to tackle Jimmy Savile story

Steve Coogan as Jimmy Saville
Steve Coogan as Jimmy Savile

“The BBC are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.”

Steve Coogan has said the BBC made the “correct choice” to go ahead with creating a true crime drama about Jimmy Savile’s life and the crimes he committed.

Jimmy Savile was one of the BBC’s most popular presenters and following his death, he was outed as a serial abuser. New series The Reckoning will trace Savile’s life through the decades and plans to “use drama’s unique ability to place events in their emotional and historical context”.

Coogan will portray Savile in the four-part series this autumn, alongside Gemma Jones (Marvellous), Mark Stanley (Happy Valley) and Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley).

The BBC has faced backlash over the drama from some quarters, with suggestions that it could bring back traumatic memories for Savile’s victims and concerns that it isn’t an appropriate subject matter for drama.

Speaking to The Radio Times Podcast for the latest issue of Radio Times magazine, Coogan revealed that he believes the BBC made the right choice when it came to green lighting the series.

“It is controversial and I understand that. 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,” he explained.

“Broadly, it’s better to talk about something than not. 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.”

Last month, BBC content boss Charlotte Moore said the broadcaster would not “censor” writers who want to make shows about controversial subjects.

Coogan has previously said: “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 Jeff Pope has also said: “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.”

Source: Steve Coogan explains BBC’s “correct” choice to tackle Jimmy Savile story

One thought on “Steve Coogan explains BBC’s “correct” choice to tackle Jimmy Savile story

  1. Life contains traumatic events. Sooner or later in all our lives, something will shake us up. Sanitizing history, burning books, cobbling writers in the name of sparing some people’s sensitivities is not healthy. Nobody benefits. If this were not the case, all murder and rape trials would be abolished, all news stories about crime of any sort would be forbidden. People too sensitive to watch the BBC programme on Jimmy Savile should simply not watch it.

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