Steve Coogan returned to work on Tuesday morning as he filmed his latest scenes as disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile in a controversial new drama based on his life, death and posthumous notoriety as a serial sex offender.
The actor will play Savile in forthcoming BBC drama The Reckoning, an account of his rise to fame as a popular pirate radio disc jockey and eventual mainstream TV success on shows such as Top Of The Pops and Jim’ll Fix It.
Stepping into the late presenter’s shoes during another location shoot in the north of England, Coogan, 56, filmed scenes depicting Savile in 1989, when he was 63-years old.
Here he comes: Steve Coogan returned to work on Tuesday morning as he filmed his latest scenes as disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile in a controversial new drama based on his life, death and posthumous notoriety as a serial sex offender
A damning report detailed Savile’s decades of abuse across the NHS and how management turned a blind eye because of his fame and the amount of cash he raised for charity.
Victims included a young girl raped 10 times when she visited the hospital where her parents worked. The investigation found that none of the complaints were ‘either taken seriously or escalated to senior management’.
He went onto abuse a total of 177 patients, aged between five and 75, across 41 hospitals. Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire was where his abuse was most prolific.
In the scenes filmed last week, Coogan sported an uncanny resemblance to the DJ with his hair bleached white and a grey suit and red tie which was identical to the one he wore for the 1983 visit.
The costume department recreated Princess Diana’s iconic wardrobe with the actress, whose name is yet to be announced, sporting a pale blue silk dress and ribbon trim hat.
The new drama, which will be broadcasted by the BBC, will trace the disgraced former star’s upbringing, his early career and prolific child sex offences.
The decision to chronicle Savile’s life has come under fire from many, however BBC has stated that they worked with his victims and will portray a story ‘with sensitivity and respect’.
Steve, who famously portrays fictional comedic character Alan Partridge, previously explained in a statement the decision to play Savile was not one ‘I took lightly’.
He added: ‘Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively a horrific story which, however harrowing, needs to be told.’
Savile, who rose from a humble working-class upbringing to become one of British television’s biggest stars, passed away aged 84 in 2011.
In his final years, he fought to quell growing speculation about his illegal exploits throughout his illustrious career with the BBC – with victim testimony expected to be brought to life in the new drama.
A BBC-led inquiry into his actions found he had molested at least 72 children, some as young as eight, over a four decade campaign of sexual abuse with his first victim in 1959 and his last in 2006.
His horrific reign of abuse could be charted ‘in the corridors, canteens, staircases and dressing rooms of every BBC premises’, their 2016 report found.
Executive producer, Jeff Pope, said: ‘I think this is a story that has to be told. We must understand why a man like Jimmy Savile seemed to remain immune for so long to proper scrutiny and criminal investigation.
‘Steve has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity.’
The BBC also says it will draw on ‘extensive and wide-ranging research sources’ or the project, examining the lasting impact of Savile’s crimes and the ‘powerlessness’ his victims felt.
Piers Wenger Controller, of BBC Drama, added: ‘The story of Jimmy Savile is one of the most emotive and troubling of our times. We do not intend to sensationalise these crimes but to give voice to his victims.
‘We will work with survivors to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect and to examine the institutions which Jimmy Savile was associated with and the circumstances in which these crimes took place.
‘Drama has the ability to tackle sensitive real life subjects and consider the impact of a crime on its survivors and what lessons can be learnt to stop this ever happening again.’
A release date has yet to be announced with filming for the series expected to continue taking place in Manchester over the coming months.