BBC One has commissioned a new drama about the life of prolific sex offender and TV presenter Jimmy Saville from Appropriate Adult’s Neil McKay and Philomena’s Jeff Pope.
Mini-series The Reckoning will recount the life of Saville – “a man who rose from working-class origins to become on of the biggest stars of British television, but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history”.
Tracing Savile’s early years in northern England dance halls, his BBC career, his failing health and his attempts to dispel damaging accusations, the production team will work closely with Savile’s victims “to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect”, the BBC said.
The series will also examine the impact his crimes had on the many people he assaulted and “the powerlessness many felt when they tried to raise the alarm”.
“I think this is a story that has to be told,” executive producer Jeff Pope said in a statement. “We must understand why a man like Jimmy Savile seemed to remain immune for so long to proper scrutiny and criminal investigation.”
Pope and McKay are the BAFTA-winning team behind series such as Appropriate Adult, The Moorside and upcoming drama Four Lives, which sheds light on the murders of four young gay men by serial killer Stephen Port.
Savile, who rose to prominence as a radio host and the presenter of Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It, died aged 84 in 2011, after which reports surfaced which alleged he had sexually abused hundreds of people, both children and adults, throughout his life.
A 2012 ITV documentary, The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, brought the subject of Savile’s alleged sexual crimes to light, which resulted in hundreds of people reporting alleged abuse by him.