Steve Coogan to play paedo Jimmy Savile in new BBC drama The Reckoning

Steve Coogan is best known for playing comedy icon Alan Partridge. Now the actor and comedian has taken on a much darker role, as disgraced paedophile Jimmy Savile.

BBC One drama The Reckoning will be written and produced by Jeff Pope and Neil McKay, the duo responsible for true crime dramas Appropriate Adult (based on Fred West's crimes) and The Moorside (based on the Shannon Matthews case).

"To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly," says Steve.

"Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively an horrific story which – however harrowing – needs to be told," he added.

The mini-series will trace the life of Jimmy Savile, a man who rose from working-class origins to become one of the biggest stars of British television, but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history following revelations of extensive and horrific abuse.

The story will trace Savile through his early years in the dance halls of northern England, his career with the BBC, to his twilight years when rumours about his secret life began to grow louder.

The BBC announcement said: "The team are working closely with many people whose lives were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect, and the drama will also draw on extensive and wide-ranging research sources.

"It will examine the impact his appalling crimes had on his victims and the powerlessness many felt when they tried to raise the alarm."

Savile used his involvement in multiple organisations, such as hospitals, prisons, charities and the BBC, to legitimise himself. The drama will explore the way he used his celebrity and powerful connections to conceal his wrongdoings and to hide in plain sight.

Steve Coogan has branched out into more serious roles in recent years. He recently played a police officer in ITV drama Stephen about murdered Stephen Lawrence’s family’s struggle for justice.

He also co-wrote, produced and starred in the 2013 adoption drama Philomena.

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