BBC Jimmy Savile Drama To Air In The Autumn, Unveils First-Look Image & More Cast Joining Steve Coogan

The BBC’s controversial Jimmy Savile drama The Reckoning will be handed its long-awaited premiere in the autumn, while it has unveiled more cast and a first-look image.

Joining Coogan are BAFTA-winner Gemma Jones (Marvellous), Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley), Mark Lewis Jones (Outlander) and Mark Stanley (Happy Valley). 

The BBC has also unveiled a first-look image (top), in which Coogan portraying the posthumously-outed serial sex offender can be seen smoking one of his famous cigars ponderously staring out the window.

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Produced by ITV Studios, penned by Neil McKay and EP’d by Jeff Pope, the four-part series will trace Savile’s life through the decades. He was one of the BBC’s most popular presenters when alive but in death was outed as using his involvement in multiple organizations, such as the BBC, hospitals, prisons, and charities, to legitimise himself, forging friendships in showbusiness, politics, journalism, the Catholic Church and even the Royal family to cement his position as a serial abuser.

The series has been considered controversial and attracted some criticism for the way in which it could dredge up old memories for Savile’s hundreds of victims, coming at a time when the BBC has also greenlit a drama series on the tragic Grenfell fire. Speaking recently to press, BBC content boss Charlotte Moore said the broadcaster will not “censor” respected writers who want to make shows about these controversial subjects, while former BBC Drama Director Piers Wenger, who greenlit The Reckoning, previously claimed there is a “public interest” in making the show. Today, the BBC said The Reckoning will “use drama’s unique ability to place events in their emotional and historical context.”

The BBC today confirmed Deadline’s scoop from earlier this year that four survivors of Savile who have contributed to The Reckoning will also feature in the series, interviewed on camera to offer their further insight and to reflect on their experiences in the hope that the telling of their stories will prevent something like it happening again. The BBC said it has “worked closely with many people whose lives were impacted by Savile.”

The Reckoning is written by McKay (Four Lives). EPs are Pope (Four Lives) and McKay for ITV Studios, and Lucy Richer (The Sixth Commandment) for the BBC. It was directed by Sandra Goldbacher (Ordeal by Innocence), with Clare Shepherd (The A Word) producing.

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