BBC viewers 'feel sick' watching The Reckoning as ‘horrifying’ Jimmy Savile drama is released
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Viewers say they 'felt sick' watching the BBC's new drama about Jimmy Savile.
The first episode of The Reckoning aired last night (9 October), delving into the dark and twisted life of the late paedophile DJ. Here's the trailer:
Largely based on interviews conducted with Savile by Dan Davies, the four-part series tries to show how he was able to get away with his crimes for so long.
“Using drama’s unique ability to place events in their emotional and historical context, the series will explore how Savile used his celebrity and powerful connections to conceal his crimes and exploit institutional failings," a BBC synopsis reads.
“It is important to understand how he was able to hide in plain sight in order to gain a greater understanding of how he evaded justice.
“The drama aims to highlight the importance of confronting the horrors of the past and talking openly about abuse.”
Many viewers struggled to make it through the first episode, with some saying it made them 'feel sick'.
While there was admiration for the way the topic has been handled, there were also plenty of people left deeply upset.
One person said: "Just watched 1st episode of The Reckoning, I feel physically sick it makes the documentaries about him very weak. A proper monster."
Another commented: "Watching The Reckoning and it's a tough watch, I felt sick to the pit of my stomach for most of it so far.
"#SteveCoogan perfectly cast, so accurate and that undercurrent of sinister that I always felt as a kid watching Savile on TV."
I wasn’t convinced this was a good idea but what a job Steve Coogan is doing, it sounds so much like Savile that it’s making my skin crawl just hearing his voice #TheReckoning— Janeymode (@Janeymode) October 9, 2023
Six minutes in; give Steve Coogan the BAFTA now. Absolutely chilled to the bone. #TheReckoning— Aggie Holland (@THEaggieholland) October 9, 2023
A third added: "This was an incredibly difficult watch, knowing what we now know about #jimmysaville but Steve Coogan is mesmeric as Saville, the mannerisms, the voice, it’s chilling but you can’t take your eyes of it even though it’s harrowing."
A different viewer commented: "Just watched #TheReckoning I actually feel sick. #Saville was worse than I thought if that’s possible. Yet a few knew in the ‘60s yet they all kept silent. @stevecoogan65 is brilliant."
Savile died in 2011, before it was revealed to the public what he truly was.
And the BBC has come in for criticism over dramatising what many believe to be too fresh in the country's collective memory.
Speaking previously about the series, writer Neil McKay said while there are documentaries about the subject, he felt drama allowed a new way into the story.
"Anybody who gets involved with making a drama like this, if you’re not kept awake at night, questioning yourself, then in my view you shouldn’t do it," he said.
“There have been some excellent documentaries, but I think drama can do something different.
“Drama can tell a conman story and put you inside the con. That’s what I was trying to get across really.
"What you see is the mechanics of a man who groomed the nation and I think that’s much harder, if not impossible to do in a [documentary].
"My big thing I would say about this drama is that it’s a warning from history. It’s the ultimate cautionary tale about, in many ways, the ultimate groomer."
The Reckoning is available to watch on iPlayer now.