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Movies & TV

02nd Oct 2023

Steve Coogan on the importance of new Jimmy Savile drama series

Rory Cashin

Jimmy Savile

“If you sweep things under the carpet, then you are liable to have those things happen again because you haven’t learned from them.”

New BBC four-part drama The Reckoning will detail the life of Jimmy Savile, here portrayed by two-time Oscar-nominee Steve Coogan.

The BBC’s official synopsis for the mini-series tells us that we can expect a story about “A man who, for decades, became one of the UK’s most influential celebrities, but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history following revelations of extensive and horrific abuse.

“Jimmy Savile used his involvement in multiple organisations, such as the BBC, hospitals, prisons, and charities, to legitimise himself, forging friendships in show business, politics, journalism, the Catholic Church and even the Royal family to cement his position.”

Ever since the show was announced, it has faced a massive backlash, with some citing the immortalisation of serial abuser as being massively problematic, while The Guardian ran with a piece under the headline “Should the BBC’s Jimmy Savile drama ever air?’

In the last few days, a full three years after the production was first announced, the BBC release the first trailer for The Reckoning, and you can check out the first footage of Coogan as Jimmy Savile right here:

Jimmy Savile drama The Reckoning debuts on BBC One in just a few days time

JOE previously interview Steve Coogan in the run-up to his stand-up tour, but during that conversation, we brought up The Reckoning and the impending reaction to the series. On choosing to do the Jimmy Savile drama, Coogan had the following to say:

“The most interesting work, if you’re lucky enough to make choices, not many people are creatively, there is a very narrow field of choice, and I’m at the stage of my life and career that I’m able to make those choices, have the luxury to make those choices.

“And that carries with it a responsibility. And as a matter of fact, to do things that are worthwhile, or have value, you have to take a risk. And risk failure, to make stuff that is interesting and worthwhile and has substance.

“And so, The Reckoning, which is about Jimmy Savile, is one of those that fits into that category. Lots of people are anxious about it, but I think it will vindicate itself when it comes around. As a rule, when you’re talking about dark periods, when we’re talking about our cultural past, it is best to talk about things than to not talk about them.

“To sort of draw a parallel to Philomena, both of those projects are talking about periods of the cultural past which need to be talked about to help learn from it and move on. If you sweep things under the carpet, then you are liable to have those things happen again because you haven’t learned from them.”

The Reckoning premieres on BBC One on Monday 9 October, and you can check out our full interview with Coogan right here:

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