BBC to make drama about Jimmy Savile's life

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Dozens of accusations of sexual abuse against Jimmy Savile emerged after his death in 2011

The BBC has announced its plans for a mini-series about the disgraced late TV personality Jimmy Savile.

The Reckoning, which will be shown on BBC One, will tell the story of the presenter's rise, and the sexual abuse scandal that emerged after his death.

Executive producer Jeff Pope said it was "a story that has to be told".

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

It is not yet known who will be cast in the lead role.

Savile was one of the UK's top entertainers in the 1970s and 80s, known for TV shows like Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It, as well as stints on BBC Radio 1.

After his death in 2011, an ITV documentary investigated claims of sexual abuse against him, leading to further allegations of abuse and a string of public inquiries.

These found that the broadcaster had leveraged his involvement in organisations such charities, hospitals, prisons and the BBC to prey on hundreds of people - mostly vulnerable young females.

'Sensitivity and respect'

BBC drama controller Piers Wenger said the new drama did "not intend to sensationalise these crimes" but "to give voice to his victims".

He 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."

Media caption,
Former colleagues explain why they think Savile was not exposed

In 2016, an independent investigation found that the BBC missed opportunities to stop "monstrous" abuse by the presenter and DJ because of a "culture of fear".

The Dame Janet Smith review identified 72 victims of Savile in connection with his work at the BBC, including eight who were raped. Eleven of his victims were younger than 12 years old.

The BBC was also criticised for dropping a Newsnight investigation into the sexual abuse claims - which was then picked up by ITV. The BBC's former director general George Entwistle later admitted to MPs this had been the wrong decision.

The Reckoning will be written by Neil McKay, who was also behind Appropriate Adult - the Bafta-winning drama about serial killer Fred West.

He and Pope also worked on Moorside, about the disappearance of Shannon Matthews; and the forthcoming Four Lives, on the murders of four young gay men by Stephen Port.

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