Steve Coogan has spoken out about why he believes people feel ‘uncomfortable’ over his upcoming Jimmy Savile BBC biopic, stating that the ‘national enabled’ him.
Later this year, the broadcaster is set to release the mini-series The Reckoning, starring Coogan as the disgraced entertainer.
The four-part drama will document Savile’s life and career, who died in 2011 at the age of 84 before his prolific crimes as a child sex abuser and sex offender came to light, when more than 450 horrifying allegations were brought forward to the police.
While appearing on Wednesday’s Lorraine, Coogan, 56, was asked by Lorraine Kelly whether he hesitated at all when taking on the role, with the drama having been branded ‘disgusting’ when it was first announced.
‘Yes,’ the Alan Partridge star replied. ‘I certainly understand the revulsion people have for him, a natural revulsion. I think as with all difficult subject matter, it’s better to talk about it than to not talk about it.’
‘Yep,’ Kelly responded in agreement, as Coogan pointed out other actors who have also played atrocious, real-life-individuals.
‘People like Dominic West played Fred West. Dennis Nilsen was played recently by David Tennant. People play these monsters, and there wasn’t the same revulsion,’ the actor stated.
‘I think partly it’s because I’m playing someone who either hoodwinked a nation and groomed a nation, or if you’re being slightly less charitable, the nation enabled him,’ as Kelly remarked: ‘I think that’s it, exactly.’
Coogan emphasised that in his opinion, he believes it’s important to ‘contemplate and look back and reflect on why it was allowed to happen, how he was able to do this, and then learn from it’, before ‘you can move on’.
‘You’re right, you’re absolutely right,’ Kelly repeated, as she brought up the widespread criticism many people have had for the dramatised depiction of Savile’s life.
‘Look at it before you tell me it’s going to be a load of rubbish. I think it’s very good,’ Coogan insisted.
Recalling how some of Savile’s victims visited the set of the series, the comedian said that ‘people are held accountable, including the BBC’, adding that there’s ‘no whitewash in this drama,’ which he dubbed ‘informative and educational’.
Last month, the Philomena star hit back at backlash against The Reckoning, saying that the script was ‘very intelligent’ and ‘was done in consultation with many of the victims of Jimmy Savile’.
‘If you sweep it under the carpet and just don’t talk about it anymore, then those people are destined to come back,’ he added at the time while appearing on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.
Lorraine airs weekdays from 9am on ITV.