A handful of depraved TV presenter Jimmy Savile’s victims have been invited onto the set of a controversial new drama depicting his life, death and posthumous notoriety as a serial sex offender.
Forthcoming BBC series The Reckoning will star Steve Coogan as the late Savile, who died aged 84 in 2011 before his crimes against women and children were uncovered.
Writer Neil McKay has revealed some of those victims will be present to watch the Alan Partridge creator, 56, reenact various moments from Savile’s life after requesting access to show’s set.
Uncomfortable viewing: A handful of Jimmy Savile’s victims have been invited onto the set of controversial new drama The Reckoning, starring Steve Coogan (pictured) as the depraved presenter
McKay told The Sun: ‘It’s clearly going to be strange. But they wanted to do it, they’re fully prepared, so it will be interesting.
‘The victims concerned requested to attend filming since we are telling their stories, and all appropriate safeguarding measures were put in place by production to facilitate this.
‘The team are working closely with many people whose lives were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect.’
Coming soon: Forthcoming BBC series The Reckoning will star Steve Coogan (left) as the late Savile (right) in The Reckoning
Predator: The decision to chronicle Savile’s life has come under fire from many, however BBC has stated that they worked with his victims and will portray a story ‘with sensitivity and respect’ (pictured, Savile in 1973)
The decision to chronicle Savile’s life has come under fire from many, however BBC has stated that they worked with his victims and will portray a story ‘with sensitivity and respect’.
Steve, who famously portrays fictional comedic character Alan Partridge, previously explained in a statement the decision to play Savile was not one ‘I took lightly’.
He added: ‘Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively a horrific story which, however harrowing, needs to be told.’
Hidden in plain sight: Savile was a much loved public figure in life, but he would be exposed as a serial sexual predator following his death in 2011. Here he is pictured at the Wren House International Telephone Exchange in 1975
Savile, who rose from a humble working-class upbringing to become one of British television’s biggest stars, passed away aged 84 in 2011.
In his final years, he fought to quell growing speculation about his illegal exploits throughout his illustrious career with the BBC – with victim testimony expected to be brought to life in the new drama.
A BBC-led inquiry into his actions found he had molested at least 72 children, some as young as eight, over a four decade campaign of sexual abuse with his first victim in 1959 and his last in 2006.
His horrific reign of abuse could be charted ‘in the corridors, canteens, staircases and dressing rooms of every BBC premises’, their 2016 report found.
Harrowing: Writer Neil McKay has revealed some of his victims will be present to watch the Alan Partridge creator reenact various moments from Savile’s life after requesting access to show’s set (pictured: Coogan as Savile on Songs of Praise in 1969
Executive producer, Jeff Pope, said: ‘I think this is a story that has to be told. We must understand why a man like Jimmy Savile seemed to remain immune for so long to proper scrutiny and criminal investigation.
‘Steve has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity.’
The BBC also says it will draw on ‘extensive and wide-ranging research sources’ or the project, examining the lasting impact of Savile’s crimes and the ‘powerlessness’ his victims felt.
Close to the bone; Scenes filmed earlier this year involved Coogan’s Savile confronting an emotional young woman
Piers Wenger Controller, of BBC Drama, added: ‘The story of Jimmy Savile is one of the most emotive and troubling of our times.
‘We do not intend to sensationalise these crimes but to give voice to his victims. 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.
‘Drama has the ability to tackle sensitive real life subjects and consider the impact of a crime on its survivors and what lessons can be learnt to stop this ever happening again.’
A release date has yet to be announced with filming for the series expected to continue taking place in Manchester over the coming months.