Everything To Know About Jimmy Savile Biopic, The Reckoning

Starring Steve Coogan, The Reckoning is one of the most talked about series of the year

Jimmy Savile The Reckoning

by Charlotte Roberts |
Updated on

Controversial factual drama The Reckoning - which retells the harrowing crimes of disgraced television personality, Jimmy Savile - hit BBC iPlayer on 9 October and it massively divided viewers.

The Independent called it, 'A parade of villainy without a point to make' whilst The Guardian claimed, 'Steve Coogan is chillingly brilliant'. You'll have to watch it and make your own mind up about where you stand on the success of the series.

The four-part series comes from executive producer Jeff Pope and writer Neil McKay, who have worked together on multiple true-crime dramas in the past, including See No Evil: The Moors Murders and Appropriate Adult. This series about Jimmy Savile was a long time in the works, with a planned release in 2022 reportedly delayed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Reckoning has proved controversial amongst viewers – with many arguing that the horrific crimes shouldn’t be turned into entertainment. However, executive producer Jeff insisted that the series is respectful, saying 'My view is that the quickest way to invite something like this to happen again is to ignore it.'

Actor Steve Coogan – who appears as Jimmy Savile in the series – also defended the show’s creation, urging people to 'see it before you judge it.'

Steve Coogan

Here’s everything you need to know about the The Reckoning, the latest true-crime drama to hit our screens.

What is The Reckoning about?

The series traces the life of Savile from his working-class roots to becoming one of the biggest stars in the television world. The Reckoning also focuses on the years of sexual abuse inflicted by the disgraced Savile, as well as the impact he had on his victims, featuring interviews with four of Savile’s victims: Darien, Kevin, Sam and Susan.

Is The Reckoning based on a true story?

The series is based on the true story of Savile’s crimes. During his lifetime, two police investigations considered reports about Savile, the earliest known being in 1958, but none had led to charges. It was only after Savile's death the majority of his offences became known to the public.

On 19 October, London's Metropolitan Police launched a formal criminal investigation - called Operation Yewtree - into historic allegations of child sexual abuse by Savile and other individuals, some still living, over four decades. There were reportedly over 400 lines of inquiry, based on the claims of 200 witnesses, via fourteen police forces across the UK. It described the alleged abuse as being 'on an unprecedented scale' and the number of potential victims as 'staggering'.

Sadly, the former TV presenter died in October 2011 aged 84, having never been brought to justice for his crimes.

Who is in the cast of The Reckoning?

Actor Steve Coogan leads the cast as the disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile.

The show also features the following actors:

Roberts Emms (Andor) as Rey Teret - an English radio presenter who worked as Savile's support DJ, assistant and chauffeur and was also accused and subsequently convicted of rape and indecent assault in 2014.

Michael Jibson (Panic Button) as Bill Cotton. Bill Cotton was a television producer and executive who was integral to Savile's progression at the BBC. In real-life it is unknown whether Cotton knew the extend of Savile's crimes, but The Reckoning leaves us in no doubt of his culpability.

Gemma Jones (Gentleman Jack) as Agnes Savile, the mother of Jimmy Savile.

Mark Lewis Jones (Gangs of London) as Charles Hullighan - an army veteran who was closer friends with Savile.

Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley) as Beryl Hullighan. Beryl Hullighan met Savile at the Royal Leeds Infirmary and became close friends with him.

Mark Stanley (The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe) as Dan Davies, a journalist who interviewed Savile for his biography.

Fennella Woolgar (Call The Midwife) as Margaret Thatcher - the prime minister who met Savile on multiple occasions.

What has been said about The Reckoning?

The concept of the show has raised eyebrows, with one viewer arguing the channel is 'cashing in on the scandal that they helped to facilitate.'

But those involved in the show have defended it. Speaking to BBC Breakfast last year, Steve Coogan said, ‘There’s this strong, strange feeling towards it; one of wanting to put it behind us, not wanting to talk about it and, as a rule, I think it’s better to talk about it.’

‘The drama answers the question: how did he get away with it? The drama answers that question, which is a very important one.'

When will The Reckoning air?

The first episode of The Reckoning aired at 9pm on BBC One on Monday, October 9th, followed by the second episode at 9pm on Tuesday, October 10th.

Where can I watch The Reckoning?

You can watch the show on BBC One, or on BBC iPlayer.

Is there a trailer for The Reckoning?

Yes – and you can watch it here!

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