The BBC has today announced it’s making a drama series about the late TV personality Jimmy Savile, who became known as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.
The new series, called The Reckoning, will tell the story of Jimmy Savile’s life, from his rise to fame to the sexual abuse scandal that emerged after his death in 2001, when an ITV documentary investigated claims made against him.
The documentary led to further inquiries that were made by women claiming they were, too, victim to his abuse. This further led to another independent investigation in 2016, which found that the BBC missed opportunities to stop Savile’s ‘monstrous’ abuse as there was a ‘culture of fear’.
The BBC wrote in a statement about the new programme: “Savile, an eccentric showman, the youngest of seven siblings, 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 smoke and mirrors to conceal his wrongdoings.”
Produced by ITV Studios for BBC One, The Reckoning will trace Savile through his early years in the dance halls of northern England, his career with the BBC and his later years – when he sought to dispel the growing rumours about his abuse.
BBC drama controller Piers Wenger said the new series does ‘not intend to sensationalise these crimes’, but instead to ‘give voice to his victims’.
The team are working closely with those who were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told with respect, while also drawing on extensive research sources to look at the impact his crimes had on the victims.
Wenger said: “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.”
Executive producer Jeff Pope added that it is ‘a story that has to be told’, saying: “We must understand why a man like Jimmy Savile seemed to remain immune for so long to proper scrutiny and criminal investigation.”
There is currently no name attached to star as the disgraced personality, and no release date has been confirmed at this stage.