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BBC drama boss defends new Jimmy Savile series starring Steve Coogan

The BBC One fact-based drama The Reckoning, about sex offender Jimmy Savile, has already begun filming.

Steve Coogan attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2019 at The Royal Festival Hall
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Published: Wednesday, 13th October 2021 at 12:01 am

Head of BBC drama Piers Wenger has defended the upcoming drama series The Reckoning, starring Steve Coogan as sex offender and disgraced BBC broadcaster Jimmy Savile.


Speaking at a press event on Monday 11th October, Wenger revealed that the series began filming a few days ago, before stressing that the TV drama will "give voice to the victims" of Savile.

During the Q&A, Wenger addressed questions over whether the series was coming too soon after the allegations against Savile came to light – and also whether the BBC (previously Savile's employer) was the right home for such a series.

"I mean, it is a decade since Jimmy Savile died, it will be a decade next year since his behaviours first came into the public eye," Wenger said.

"But, you know, our primary intention with the drama is to give voice to the victims - to tell their stories sensitively and with the utmost respect. And we have an amazing, award-winning team who are renowned for their factual drama... And I think there are still many important questions that need to be answered about Saville, and many questions that we are asking of ourselves through that drama. So I think it's incredibly important that the BBC, you know, do tell that story."

Asked whether a TV drama could add anything not already addressed by factual documentaries on Savile, Wenger said that he'd yet to see a documentary answer "how" Savile's abusive behaviour was allowed to continue.

"The documentaries that have been on and that will continue to be on... they show you again and again, you know, the heinous and appalling nature of Jimmy Savile and his crimes, but I've yet to see one that really answers the question, 'How did this happen?' And how was he able to render his victims so powerless and without a voice for so long? And how was he able to hide in plain sight within those institutions – not just the BBC, but in Stoke Mandeville, Leeds Royal Infirmary."

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He continued: "The drama [that] has been made, it was written after extensive research was conducted and many of the survivors of Savile are involved in the making of the drama, and I feel very confident actually that this is a story that needs to be told and is still a big public interest story email that has yet to be addressed."


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