Steve Coogan says Jimmy Savile drama ‘The Reckoning’ “will vindicate itself”

"It's a mistake to think that the best way to deal with something is to not talk about it"

Steve Coogan has spoken about his role in the forthcoming Jimmy Savile drama, stating his belief that the BBC show will “vindicate itself”.

The actor, who plays Savile in the four-part mini-series, told BBC Radio 5 Live he was aware of “a sort of revulsion about the idea of even making it” among many people.

“But in actual fact, it’s a mistake to think that the best way to deal with something is to not talk about it,” the 56-year-old said (per BBC News), who is best known for comedy roles such as Alan Partridge.

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“The script is very well written. And it’s something that needs to be talked about because to understand how predators operate, you have to look at the whole picture.”

Coogan also said viewers needed to be reminded that “people who do bad things are also human beings who have a life,” and stressed the importance that more people “understand how it happens”.

“Like any kind of figure who is repellent, you have to understand it. You have to look at the whole picture. You can’t just caricature them, because if he was a caricature, he wouldn’t have got away with it, because he had a certain amount of charisma,” he said.

“So you have to look at that and understand it, and then it’s less likely to happen in the future. If you don’t talk about it, and you actually sweep them under the carpet, then you’re destined for other characters like Jimmy Savile to come along and get away with it.”

Steve Coogan
Steve Coogan. CREDIT: Getty Images

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

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“The writing of it has required a lot of skill,” Coogan continued. “It’s walking a tightrope. But I think it will vindicate itself when it comes out. I’ve seen a bit and I think it’s good. We’ve got a stellar cast and it was all done with great sensitivity.

“Many of the victims came along to watch the filming. The script was written in consultation with the victims by Neil McKay. And those who are culpable don’t escape scrutiny.”

Speaking about being cast as Savile last year, Coogan said: “To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly. Neil McKay had written an intelligent script tackling sensitively a horrific story which – however harrowing – needs to be told.”

The Reckoning is scheduled to be released on BBC One later this year.

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