'It is deeply wrong': BBC slammed for drama about shamed presenter Jimmy Savile

A BBC drama focused around the life of Jimmy Savile has been described as "distasteful" by Defund the BBC's Rebecca Ryan.

The Reckoning, a four-part series about the disgraced TV star will air this year, amid concerns within the BBC over the reaction to the programme.

The biopic starring Steve Coogan as Savile finished filmed in 2022 and will air this autumn.

Talk TV's Kevin O'Sullivan discussed the controversial drama with Ms Ryan, asking whether the broadcaster should be making the series and if Britain really needs to be reminded of Savile's atrocities.

Kevin quoted Steven Coogan saying "The BBC is damned if they do and damned if they don't."

Kevin responded by saying, "No, no, no, the BBC would not be damned if it didn't. The BBC is not damned if they don't. It is damned if it does. That's where that discussion ends."

"Why are they doing this? I know why? Catharsis."

"It's trying to act honest and transparent about its own shame, the most disgraceful period in the state broadcasters chequered history where they covered up for this mass paedophile."

Kevin said the nation knows the BBC was "horrendously" wrong throughout the scandal and as a nation, not enough questions were asked. He asked Ms Ryan if we really need to be reminded of Savile's crimes.

"Certainly not by the BBC, I think that's the major issue here isn't?"

"This is about them sort of appearing taking this moment in time and making it flagellation, to say 'oh well look we have gone through this process and we give to you on plate what went wrong.'" Ms Ryan said.

"It's not for them to mark their own homework"

Steve Coogan will play Jimmy Savile in upcoming biopic / Credit: Getty Images

"If ITV or Netflix or whoever wants to make the program, then let it stand on its own two feet if people really want to watch what is a deeply disturbing episode in the in the BBC's history but it's not for the BBC to take license fee payers' money and to make this. (The show is being produced by ITV Studios for the BBC) It's really deeply wrong," she said.

Kevin followed on by asking how much of this drama will focus on the BBC's extraordinary attempts to cover up for Savile and how much it will focus on the executives that went right up to the top and killed off the news night investigation that would have exposed Savile for what he was.

Ms Ryan agreed, "I think we can imagine that it's not going to be a huge part of the story."

"It's just really distasteful, particularly for the victims but also for the nation did you say the whole nation was sort of miss sold this complete pervert of a man as this national hero."

"Why should the BBC be dining out on it. Using license fee payers money to dine out on this drama.

"It's really wrong to sort of want them to be getting viewing figures on the back of this, that's what is really distasteful."

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