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

STEVE Coogan will play Jimmy Savile in a gritty drama about the paedophile TV and radio star.

BBC’s The Reckoning will chart his early life, rise to fame and prolific offending.

Coogan, 55, admitted: “To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly. Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively a horrific story which, however harrowing, needs to be told.”

The BBC has worked closely with Savile victims to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect.

The drama is set to start filming within weeks but does not yet have a screen date.

Executive producer Jeff Pope said: “Its purpose is to explore how Savile’s offending went unchecked for so long and, in shining a light on this, to ensure such crimes never happen again.

“Steve has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity.”

Coogan is best known for his comic creation Alan Partridge but recently played a cop in ITV drama Stephen about murdered Stephen Lawrence’s family’s struggle for justice.

A source said: “It’s an unlikely casting in a way but Steve has shown an ability to take on serious roles.

“It is certainly a brave decision on his part.”

Savile, also known for his charity fundraising and links to royals, died aged 84 in 2011.

The BBC said: “He 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.

“The drama will examine the impact his appalling crimes had on his victims and the powerlessness many felt when they tried to raise the alarm.”

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