Sam Brown, a survivor of the heinous acts committed by Jimmy Savile, shared her experience encountering Steve Coogan on the set of the much-anticipated BBC drama, “The Reckoning“. Coogan, 57, portrayed the disgraced star Savile in the four-part series. The new programme sheds light on the life and crimes of one of Britain’s most notorious sex offenders.
The Reckoning, traces Savile’s journey from a working-class background to becoming a television icon, while also delving into the years of sexual abuse that left an indelible mark on his victims. Steve Coogan has taken on the challenging role, a decision met with both criticism and support.
Sam Brown, now 56, a survivor of Savile’s abuse, served as one of the advisors on the series due to her harrowing connection to the events portrayed. She appeared on Good Morning Britain to recount the emotional moment when she first saw Coogan in character as Savile.
Coogan’s Top Priority Was To Reassure Victims
Recalling the encounter, Brown vividly shared, “I started screaming. I thought I was doing all of this in my head, not realising it was coming out of my mouth.” As Coogan approached her in full Savile attire, Brown’s anxiety skyrocketed. Coogan, perceptive to her distress, reassured her with empathy, saying, “I’m in a dress, I’m in character, I’m not him. Remember, I’m acting.”
For Brown, the experience was a rollercoaster of emotions. “It took me a few minutes to be okay, but it was a weird thing because it came from inside of me. It wasn’t a conscious thought, and I had to put my hands up, and I was saying, ‘Stop.’ I didn’t even know I was doing it; I felt so embarrassed about that.”
Steve Coogan, aware of the sensitivity surrounding the project, has been conscientious in his approach. A TV producer revealed that he made a point of introducing himself as Steve to the victims on set. Coogan recognises the potential impact of his striking resemblance to Savile while in costume.
The controversy surrounding the series stems from the disturbing nature of Savile’s crimes. More than 450 allegations emerged posthumously, painting a grim picture of the late TV presenter and DJ. Despite the backlash, Coogan defended the drama, emphasising that it was done with the cooperation of survivors.
The Series Has Experienced A Backlash
“The BBC are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, and I believe the correct choice is to be damned if they do. Broadly, it’s better to talk about something than not. The team had the right attitude, and it was done with the cooperation of survivors. I think when it’s broadcast, it will vindicate itself,” Coogan remarked.
In her interview, Brown reflected on her decision to participate. She emphasised, “That’s not bravery, that’s my job because I feel strong enough. For all the people that are never going to say anything, they sit at home and turn over in their head how do they feel? Why are they reacting like this? Why did everyone hate on them as teenagers because people thought they were unruly? It’s them people that won’t tell anyone, but I want them to know, that’s all really normal.”
As the BBC prepares to air The Reckoning, the controversy surrounding the drama persists. Whether it will serve as a platform for healing or add to the victim’s pain, only time will tell.