Jimmy Savile BBC drama: what The Reckoning will be about and when it could be broadcast

The new drama will look at the life of one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders – but will be ‘sensitive and respectful’

Friday, 16th October 2020, 2:05 pm

A controversial new dramatic mini-series will focus on Jimmy Savile's years of sexual abuse and the impact he had on his victims.

The Reckoning will be aired on BBC One, and will tell the story of how the disgraced entertainer came from a working-class background to be one of the biggest stars in television.

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BBC to air new drama tracing the life of Jimmy Savile

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(Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Here is everything you need to know.

What will the new series be about?

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC drama, said, "We do not intend to sensationalise these crimes but to give voice to his victims.”

Wenger added the story of Jimmy Savile is one of “the most emotive and troubling of our times”, but said producers will “work with survivors” to “ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect.”

He also hopes the new drama will “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,” Wenger explained.

Savile died in 2011, aged 84, having never been brought to justice for his crimes.

A 2016 report into his abuse found staff at the BBC, who employed Savile for many years, missed numerous opportunities to stop him.

Who will star in it?

Taking on the role of a man who is believed to be one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders is no easy feat, and whoever does sign up for the part will have a lot of attention placed on them.

At the time of writing, casting for the series is yet to be announced. It will be revealed “at a later date.”

Who’s writing it?

The Reckoning will be written by Neil McKay, who has experience bringing troubling real life characters to the screen. He was the writer behind the Bafta-winning drama, Appropriate Adult, about serial killer Fred West.

McKay has previoulsy worked alongside The Reckoning’s executive producer, Jeff Pope, on Moorside - which told the story of the disappearance of Shannon Matthews - and the upcoming Four Lives, about the murders of four young gay men by Stephen Port.

Pope said that Saville’s story was one that “has to be told.”

He added, "We must understand why a man like Jimmy Savile seemed to remain immune for so long to proper scrutiny and criminal investigation."

When can I watch it?

There is currently no word on when The Reckoning might be broadcast on BBC One.

It is likely to be early to mid 2021, at the earliest.