The BBC has ignited controversy by unveiling the first image of Steve Coogan portraying Jimmy Savile in the forthcoming series, “The Reckoning”.
Yhe BBC has stated that the series aims to “examine how Jimmy Savile used his fame and influential ties to hide his crimes and manipulate systemic weaknesses”. Additionally, the broadcaster expressed their desire for the series to “underscore the significance of addressing past atrocities.” This is in a bid to promote open discussions about abuse.
Interestingly, the public first learned about this series in 2020 when they announced Coogan would play the Savile role. Since then, the project penned by Neil McKay has often been the subject of debate. Interestingly, the public first learned about this series in 2020 when they announced Coogan would play the Savile role.
Despite the BBC’s efforts to involve survivors, individuals have been critical of the broadcaster for even conceiving such a project.
This scepticism intensified when the public saw the debut image of Coogan in his role. The image, disseminated by the BBC, captures Coogan’s rendition of Savile seated solitarily in a room, with a cigar in hand. He’s clad in Savile’s iconic red tracksuit and sports his signature long grey hair. As this image made rounds on social media platforms, reactions poured in. One Twitter user posted, “What the actual f*** no just no.” Another questioned Coogan’s decision, remarking, “It’s not a good look!” Yet another user expressed their disbelief, asking, “Who in their right mind would want to watch this or even star in it?”
Since then, people have debated Neil McKay’s project. Nevertheless, the BBC has emphasised its commitment to the series. They’ve worked closely with many of those Savile affected to ensure they present their stories with care and dignity.
A user commented with concern: “This film shouldn’t be made. Nobody should benefit from anything associated with that twisted individual. It’s shocking that any actor would agree to portray him.”
Regrettably, “The Reckoning” has also drawn criticism from other victims of Savile, even though some have actively participated in its creation. One of Savile’s victims told The Sun, “Crafting a drama around Savile’s life for mere entertainment feels deeply inappropriate and troubling. Numerous individuals at the BBC knew about the abuse and turned a blind eye, so they share some responsibility for the trauma I endured. To learn that the same corporation now seeks to capitalise on this tragedy for viewership is deeply distressing, almost akin to reliving the trauma.”
Coogan has defended his decision to play Saville saying:“To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly. Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively an horrific story which – however harrowing – needs to be told.”
Currently, there’s no official release date for “The Reckoning”. In addition to Coogan, the series will feature a talented ensemble. Such include Gemma Jones, Siobhan Finneran, Mark Lewis Jones, and Mark Stanley.