Steve Coogan’s performance as Jimmy Savile has been branded 'awful' and 'disgusting' by a survivor of the late sex offender due to how accurate it is.
The BBC has faced controversy since announcing the news that the Alan Partridge star would be taking on the role of the prolific paedophile Savile for the upcoming BBC drama The Reckoning.
Many feel that the series should never have been commissioned, with former detective Gary Pankhurst - who worked on Operation Yewtree, the investigation into Savile's abuse - calling for the show to be scrapped.
It's been two-and-a-half years since the announcement was made, with sources telling Deadline that the BBC's 'extensive behind-the-scenes checks' are one of the reasons why the show has not yet been released.
As part of these checks, producers welcomed survivors onto the set at their request with 'appropriate safeguarding in place'.
Sam Brown, one of those who bravely worked with producer Jeff Pope and writer Neil McKay, spoke with Deadline about her experience.
Brown was previously praised for her testimony in the Netflix documentary Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, where she described the abuse she had suffered between ages 11 and 15 at the hands of the former Top of The Pops presenter.
Although she believes it's important for the BBC 'to take ownership and acceptance' after serious failings at the network allowed Savile to abuse underage people for decades, seeing Coogan in costume as the sickening predator was a difficult moment.
"As he was walking towards me, in my head I was thinking, ‘No, go away'. I kept thinking, ‘Go away'," Brown told the outlet.
"Seemingly this wasn’t kept in my head. I was saying all of this [out loud] and didn’t realise I was bloody saying it. I was so embarrassed."
Prior to this, she watched the comedian shoot a scene, which was understandably disturbing as his performance was 'on point'.
Brown explained: "Oh my god, [he was] creepy, weird, awful, disgusting.
"The voice was the thing that gave me a proper shock, I’ve got to be honest, and I don’t get shocked by much anymore because I try my hardest not to. But that was difficult."
Coogan dropped the accent when he came over to speak with Brown, and she was able to ask him questions, including why he decided to take on the role.
"He said it took him six months to make his decision, talking back and forth with friends. He said everyone had a strong point of view on whether he should," she added.
"He answered in a way that I was comfortable with because I wanted to know all of that, otherwise I would have just said: 'It’s not for me then, just take my part out'."
Speaking about the decision to invite survivors on set, a BBC spokesperson said: "The team are working closely with many people whose lives were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told and reflected with sensitivity and respect."
LADbible has contacted the BBC for further comment.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111
Or alternatively, contact The Survivor’s Trust for free on 08088 010 818, or through their website thesurvivorstrust.orgFeatured Image Credit: PA Images/John Robertson/Alamy Stock Photo