Jimmy Savile drama backlash addressed by BBC boss

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Photo credit: Alex Maguire/Shutterstock
Photo credit: Alex Maguire/Shutterstock

Steve Coogan-led Jimmy Savile drama The Reckoning will "answer questions" previous documentaries have not yet been able to, according to BBC's drama boss.

Since it was announced that the Alan Partridge comedian would be portraying the disgraced presenter in the upcoming miniseries back in October 2020, many have criticised the UK broadcaster – which aired many of the shows he was involved with throughout the 1970s and 1980s – of hypocrisy.

When asked about the backlash during a recent Q&A, TV exec Piers Wenger told Digital Spy and other press: "It is a decade since Jimmy Savile died. It'll be a decade next year since his behaviours first came into the public eye.

Photo credit: Maurizio Gambarini/Anadolu Agency - Getty Images
Photo credit: Maurizio Gambarini/Anadolu Agency - Getty Images

Related: Steve Coogan's transformation into Jimmy Savile for new BBC drama is revealed in first-look set photos

"But you know, our primary intention with the drama is to give voice to the victims and to tell their stories sensitively, with the utmost respect. We have an amazing, winning team who are renowned for their factual drama, with Neil McKay and Jeff Pope behind that piece.

"There are still many important questions that need to be answered about Savile, and many questions that we are asking of ourselves through that drama so I think it's incredibly important that the BBC tell that story."

Wenger added: "The documentaries that have been on, and will continue to be on, they can only take you so far.

"They show you again and again the heinous and appalling nature of Jimmy Savile's crimes, but I've yet to see one that really answers, 'How did this happen?' and 'How was he able to render his victims so powerless... without a voice for so long?' 'How was he able to hide in plain sight within so many of these institutions, not just at the BBC?'

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Related: Louis Theroux admits he "did quite like" Jimmy Savile on The Graham Norton Show

"The drama was written after extensive research was conducted and many of the survivors are involved in the making of it. I feel very confident that this is a story that needs to be told, and there's still a big public interest story that is yet to be addressed."

Savile rose to fame as the host of Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It, and was also a DJ on Radio 1. After his death in 2012, hundreds of people came forward with allegations of sexual abuse, and it is now believed he preyed on as many as 500 victims, ranging from young children to adults.

The Reckoning will air on BBC One.

If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information from Rape Crisis England and Wales, who work towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct, on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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