BBC One commissions new drama from award-winning team that will trace the life of Jimmy Savile
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.Jeff Pope
The mini-series will trace the life of Jimmy Savile, a man who 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 story will trace Savile through his early years in the dance halls of northern England, his career with the BBC, to his twilight years when, in failing health and with his fame in decline, he sought to dispel the growing rumours about his life and the legacy he would leave behind.
The team are working closely with many people whose lives were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect, and the drama series will also draw on extensive and wide-ranging research sources. It will examine the impact his crimes had on his victims and the powerlessness many felt when they tried to raise the alarm.
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.
Executive producer, Jeff Pope, says: "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."
Piers Wenger Controller, BBC Drama, says: “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.”
Jeff Pope and Neil McKay are an award-winning team who have produced Bafta-winning Appropriate Adult based on the true story of the relationship between serial killer Fred West and his appropriate adult; Bafta-nominated The Moorside, which told the story of the community impacted by the disappearance of Shannon Matthews; and Four Lives which is coming to BBC One and will go beneath the headlines to shed new light on the murders of four young gay men by Stephen Port in Barking in 2014-15, telling the story from the point of view of the families of the victims, focusing on their fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost loved ones in the face of a now widely-criticised police investigation.
The Reckoning (w/t) has been commissioned by Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama. Written by Neil McKay, executive producers are Jeff Pope (Appropriate Adult, The Moorside, Mrs Biggs, Mo) and Neil McKay (Appropriate Adult, The Moorside, Mo, See No Evil) for ITV Studios, and Lucy Richer for the BBC.
Casting and further details will be announced in due course.