Steve Coogan says Jimmy Savile drama The Reckoning 'will vindicate itself'

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Coogan said people need to "understand how predators operate"

Steve Coogan has said a TV drama in which he plays Jimmy Savile is "walking a tightrope" but will "vindicate itself" when it reaches screens.

Coogan will be seen later this year as the TV presenter and serial abuser in BBC One's The Reckoning.

"People have a sort of revulsion about the idea of even making it," the actor told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But in actual fact, it's a mistake to think that the best way to deal with something is to not talk about it."

Coogan is best known for his comedy characters such as Alan Partridge. For The Reckoning, he will transform into Savile, who preyed on hundreds of people - mostly vulnerable young females - while one of the UK's most high-profile TV and radio personalities.

The BBC has said the mini-series will examine how Savile "used his celebrity and powerful connections to conceal his wrongdoings and to hide in plain sight". It will also "examine the impact his appalling crimes had on his victims", producers have said.

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Savile used his fame to prey on his victims

On Wednesday, Coogan told 5 Live's Nihal Arthanayake: "The script is very well written. And it's something that needs to be talked about because to understand how predators operate, you have to look at the whole picture.

"To do that, you have to say that people who do bad things are also human beings who have a life. You need to look at that to understand how it happens.

"Like any kind of figure who is repellent, you have to understand it. You have to look at the whole picture. You can't just caricature them, because if he was a caricature, he wouldn't have got away with it, because he had a certain amount of charisma.

"So you have to look at that and understand it, and then it's less likely to happen in the future. If you don't talk about it, and you actually sweep them under the carpet, then you're destined for other characters like Jimmy Savile to come along and get away with it."

The drama will be broadcast a decade after the accounts of Savile's abuse first became public, following his death at the age of 84.

"The writing of it has required a lot of skill," Coogan continued. "It's walking a tightrope. But I think it will vindicate itself when it comes out. I've seen a bit and I think it's good. We've got a stellar cast and it was all done with great sensitivity.

"Many of the victims came along to watch the filming. The script was written in consultation with the victims by Neil McKay. And those who are culpable don't escape scrutiny."