Steve Coogan to Depict Abuser Jimmy Savile in The Reckoning

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Taking on this challenging role wasn’t a decision Coogan “took lightly.” 

Steve Coogan, the English actor, will portray Jimmy Savile, the late British entertainer accused of abusing hundreds of children, in the forthcoming BBC One mini-series The Reckoningaccording to reports

The Reckoning “will follow Savile through his early years in the dance halls of northern England, his career with the BBC, to his twilight years when he sought to dispel the growing rumors about his life,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. Savile, a former BBC host, was painted in life as charitable and eccentric, even knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. But after his death, investigators unearthed his extensive pedophilia and other abuse. 

The show is being made by Neil McKay and Jeff Pope, and it will be directed by Sandra Goldbacher, who previously directed the drama series The Accident. BBC drama controller Piers Wenger said last year that “we will work with survivors to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect and to examine the institutions which Jimmy Savile was associated with and the circumstances in which these crimes took place.” 

He noted that it was not their goal to sensationalize Savile’s crimes.  

Coogan has previously appeared, in no particular order, Marie Antoinette, Philomena, which he wrote with Pope, Tropic Thunder, and Ruby Sparks. (You can read a 2012 V.F. profile of him here and a very engaging interview he did with the Little Gold Men podcast in 2020 here.) 

“To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly,” Coogan said. 

The Reckoning is a unique opportunity to give Savile’s survivors, the people who inspired this project, a voice,” Goldbacher added. “I feel sure that Steve Coogan’s powerful performance as Savile will create a debate around how the cult of celebrity cloaked him from scrutiny.” 

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