‘Took me a year to persuade Steve Coogan to play Jimmy Savile,’ says Reckoning writer | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV
Steve Coogan is set to portray the disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile for the upcoming series The Reckoning, which is expected to focus on the late host’s rise to fame and the sexual abuse allegations which followed after his death in 2011, at the age of 84. The show’s writer Neil McKay has revealed it took a year for Steve Coogan to agree to play the role.
The 56-year-old, who is known for starring in the comedy Alan Partridge, admittedly had some reservations portraying the disgraced Top of the Pops presenter.
In a new interview, Neil has addressed the BBC miniseries which is set to debut next year.
The writer explained that Steve was divided about taking on the role of Savile which has been met with some criticism.
He added that it took some cajoling for the comedian to be convinced to portray a difficult character.
“It actually took me a year to persuade Steve [Coogan] to play Savile,” Neil told the Radio Times.
“He told me that people close to him were divided between ‘Don’t go near it’ and ‘That’s the only thing you should do’.”
The Reckoning has been written by BAFTA-winning screenwriter Neil who previously penned the award-winning Fred West drama Appropriate Adult.
The miniseries is being directed by Sandra Goldbacher and produced by ITV Studios – and will air on the BBC at a future date reported to be in either 2022 or 2023.
The BBC has also defended its decision to highlight Savile’s abuse in the new drama.
The corporation said in a statement: “[We are] working closely with many people whose lives were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect.”
While director Sandra 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.”
Neil previously argued: “I think this is a story that has to be told.”
Producer Jeff Pope said: “We must understand why a man like Jimmy Savile seemed to remain immune for so long to proper scrutiny and criminal investigation.”
Savile was a widely popular presenter during the 1970s and 1980s where he fronted programmes including Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It – while also hosting shows on Radio 1.
You can read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times out now.