Steve Coogan responds to backlash over choice to play Jimmy Savile in upcoming BBC drama
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Steve Coogan has addressed the controversy surrounding his decision to play the role of serial abuser Jimmy Savile in a new BBC drama.
The series is expected to air this autumn and sees Coogan portray the late TV presenter.
Savile's crimes didn't come to light after his death in 2011 at the age of 84.
Allegations indicate that as many as 400 people were sexually violated and abused by the Jim'll Fix It host.
Most of his victims were children, but some were as old as 75.
12 years on from his death, BBC are set to release a drama about its once highly acclaimed TV presenter.
Ahead of its release, Coogan has discussed his decision to take on the 'controversial' role.
"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 said on The Radio Times podcast.
"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."
Elsewhere, The Reckoning executive producer Jeff Pope said that the aim of the series is to 'shine a light' on Savile's crimes in a bid to prevent such things from happening again.
Pope explained: "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."
He went on to praise Alan Partridge star Coogan for having a 'unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity'.
Coogan has previously discussed the upcoming series and touched upon why British viewers are so uncomfortable with the Savile series compared to other true crime shows such as See No Evil: The Moors Murders.
Speaking to Lorraine Kelly last year, the 57-year-old said: "People like Dominic West played Fred West. Dennis Nilsen was played recently by David Tennant.
"The point is people play these monsters, and there wasn't the same revulsion, and I think partly it's because I'm playing someone who either hoodwinked a nation and groomed a nation, or - if you're being slightly less charitable - the nation enabled him.
"That's why people are uncomfortable about it, but like with all these things, you have to sort of lance the boil by contemplating and looking back and reflecting on why it was allowed to happen, how he was able to do this, and then learn from it. Then you can move on."
An exact release date for The Reckoning is yet to be revealed, but it's expected to air in the coming weeks.