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Steve Coogan speaks out on potential ‘catastrophic failure’ of playing Jimmy Savile ahead of drama’s release

Steve Coogan speaks out on potential ‘catastrophic failure’ of playing Jimmy Savile ahead of drama’s release

The Reckoning stars Steve Coogan as Jimmy Saville.

Steve Coogan has opened up on the potential ‘catastrophic failure’ of playing Jimmy Savile ahead of the new drama’s release.

Titled The Reckoning, the four-part BBC series will look at the Savile's life and the crimes he committed.

Watch below:

For decades, Savile was one of the UK’s most influential celebrities.

However, after he died in 2011, aged 84, revelations of extensive and horrific abuse came to light.

The TV presenter would use his celebrity status to prey on hundreds of people, male and female, many of them minors.

Savile used his involvement in multiple organisations, such as the BBC, hospitals, prisons, and even the Royal family to commit his acts.

And to avoid the programme sending the wrong message, the decision was made to include real abuse survivors in the new series.

Michael Putland/Getty Images

According to the Radio Times, producer Jeff Pope says this was always part of The Reckoning.

He said: “The real victims were in there from the first draft. We taped their interviews and then Neil used some of their words in the scripts. Later, we re-interviewed them on camera. But they were always there as a concept."

Pope explained further into the making of the series: “On all these dramas we don’t even begin to do anything until we’ve spoken to people who experienced the crimes and we sense that we have a consensus to proceed."

Coogan, who is best known for his role as Alan Partridge, has been very wary of the pitfalls of playing the disgraced DJ.

Steve Coogan plays Jimmy Savile in The Reckoning.
BBC

"I felt like there's probably a handful of people in the country who could who could play the part, and I did consider myself one of them," the actor said.

"It wasn't enjoyable, it was a professional challenge that I wanted to take on... I knew there was the potential for catastrophic failure if you get it wrong, but that's not a reason not to do it."

He added: "You have to show the things that perhaps initially seem counter-intuitive. He was charismatic, undoubtedly, because that was part of the Trojan horse that he created, to go about his sexual assaults.

"He created, over 30 years, quite an elaborate machine... which served him very well. And the court jester character that he created was his armour. It was very difficult, even for very reputable journalists, to pierce that armour."

All four episodes of The Reckoning will be released on BBC iPlayer on Monday (9 October).

The series will also be broadcast on BBC One on Monday and Tuesday nights at 21:00 BST for the next two weeks.

Featured Image Credit: BBC/Michael Putland/Getty Images

Topics: BBC, Jimmy Savile, Celebrity, TV and Film