First image released of Steve Coogan as Jimmy Savile

The behind-the-scenes photo shows Coogan in a jester's costume

A first look at Steve Coogan playing the disgraced former BBC presenter Jimmy Savile has been released.

Saville was discovered to have instigated abuse over decades during an investigation that followed his death in 2011. He will be played by Coogan as part of an upcoming BBC drama called The Reckoning.

The behind-the-scenes shot via News For All shows Coogan with Savile’s light blonde hair in a jester’s outfit on a Bolton hospital ward, signalling that this would be the phase of the presenter’s career where he volunteered at Leeds General Infirmary and Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The show will follow Savile through his early years as a DJ in the dance halls of North England, his career with the BBC – right up to his twilight years – and how he used his celebrity and powerful connections to dispel the growing rumours about his personal life.

“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,” Coogan said of his casting (via BBC News).

The show’s director Sandra Goldbacher said: “The Reckoning is a unique opportunity to give Savile’s survivors, the people who inspired this project, a voice. I feel sure that Steve Coogan’s powerful performance as Savile will create a debate around how the cult of celebrity cloaked him from scrutiny.”

The team have said that they are working closely with people whose lives were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect.

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