Operation Yewtree detective calls for BBC to axe Jimmy Savile drama

·2-min read
(Original Caption) English broadcaster and charity worker Jimmy Savile. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jimmy Savile. (Corbis via Getty Images)

A police officer who investigated Jimmy Savile has said that the BBC's planned drama about the TV host is 'exploitive'.

Gary Pankhurst, who investigated Savile as part of Operation Yewtree, a large scale enquiry into sex crimes committed against children by notable public figures, has called on the BBC to cancel the show completely.

The series, entitled The Reckoning will star Steve Coogan as the DJ, and due to air on BBC One this autumn with October marking ten years since the beginning of the investigation.

Read more: New Netflix documentary examines how Jimmy Savile ‘hid in plain sight’

Pankhurst told Sky News that he was "hugely concerned" about the drama and the impact it could have on Savile's victims.

He also said: "To me, it strikes as being entirely tone deaf. It doesn't matter how carefully a drama is made, it remains a drama. Ultimately there is no need for it."

Steve Coogan attending 72nd British Academy Film Awards, 2019. (PA)
Steve Coogan attending the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, 2019. (PA)

Pankhurst also criticised the BBC for wanting to tell the story given it was found Savile abused 72 people as part of his work for the broadcaster: "This story is not the BBC's story to tell. They have no right to do that. I think it's disrespectful apart from anything else."

He went on to say it would be a 'sensible decision' to axe the drama as he questioned what 'positive contribution' the show could have.

Read more: Coogan says Savile drama will 'vindicate itself'

Pankhurst added: "The reality is it will distress a lot of people so it's unnecessary. It makes me very uneasy. Morally and ethically, the better position to take would be to just withdraw it."

Prince Charles meets Sir Jimmy Savile during his visit to Scarborough.   (Photo by Gareth Copley - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Prince Charles meets Jimmy Savile during his visit to Scarborough. (PA Images via Getty Images)

The BBC's involvement in the drama was also criticised by a lawyer who represented over 100 victims of Savile's.

Richard Scorer, who is the head of abuse law at Slater & Gordon, said: "If the Catholic Church were to make and broadcast a documentary about abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church, that would obviously be upsetting to survivors and they wouldn't feel that's the appropriate way to address the issues."

Read more: Coogan: 'We can't sweep Savile under the carpet'

After the police launched the official investigation into Savile, over 500 victims came forward with allegations against the former Top of the Pops host.

As part of Operation Yewtree, a number of other famous figures such as Gary Glitter, Rolf Harris and Dave Lee Travis were prosecuted for sex crimes.

Watch below: Documentary shows Jimmy Savile dodging probing questions

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