Steve Coogan claims Jimmy Savile drama 'will vindicate itself'

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 27: Actor Steve Coogan attends the Film Independent Screening Series of
Steve Coogan says his Jimmy Savile drama will 'vindicate itself'. (Getty Images)

Steve Coogan has defended his role as disgraced late TV presenter Jimmy Savile in forthcoming BBC drama The Reckoning, claiming that the programme "will vindicate itself".

Alan Partridge star Coogan will play Savile, whose catalogue of abuse of mostly vulnerable young women and children came to light after his death in 2011.

Read more: Jimmy Savile documentary viewers shocked at close links to royals

The Reckoning has been a controversial commission, particularly since the BBC, one of Savile's former employers, did not speak out against him while he was alive despite staff on Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops saying they had heard rumours of his behaviour or even witnessed it.

Jimmy Savile is shown trying to dodge awkward questions in a new documentary. (Netflix)
A recent Netflix documentary featured some of the victims of Savile's crimes. (Netflix)

Coogan told BBC Radio 5 Live: "People have a sort of revulsion about the idea of even making it. But in actual fact, it's a mistake to think that the best way to deal with something is to not talk about it."

He went on to explain that the drama would attempt to look at how Savile came to be one of the UK's most prolific sex offenders.

Read more: Coleen Nolan says she was invited to Jimmy Savile's hotel room aged 14

"Like any kind of figure who is repellent, you have to understand it," Coogan said. "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."

Coogan also warned that if it wasn't talked about "then you're destined for other characters like Jimmy Savile to come along and get away with it".

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 27: Actor Steve Coogan attends the Film Independent Screening Series of
Steve Coogan will play Jimmy Savile in the controversial drama. (Getty Images)

He added that it had been handled sensitively, with some of Savile's victims helping with the script, and said: "The writing of it has required a lot of skill. 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."

Last year, BBC drama director Piers Wenger defended the commission, saying: "Our primary intention is to give a voice to the victims and tell stories with the utmost respect.

"Documentaries [on Savile] take you so far in showing the heinous and appalling nature of his crimes but I’ve yet to see one that shows how he was able to render his victims so powerless or hide in plain sight.

"I feel very confident this is a story that needs to be told and there is a public interest in it."

Watch: Steve Coogan hesitant about taking on Jimmy Savile role