BBC boss defends new Jimmy Savile drama after backlash to Steve Coogan show

BBC boss defends new Jimmy Savile drama after backlash to Steve Coogan show

A BBC chief has defended the channel for making a drama about pervert Jimmy Savile.

Many critics have claimed it is still too soon to make a show about the paedophile Jim’ll Fix It host whose sick antics came to light following his death aged 84 in 2011.

He is now believed to have sexually abused as many as 500 young people.

However, BBC head of drama Piers Wenger said the series – starring Steve Coogan as the shamed TV presenter and DJ – would be “sensitive” to his victims and their families and said they had also worked with them too on the story.

He said: “It is a decade since Jimmy Savile died and it will be a decade next year since his behaviour first came into the public eye.

“Our primary intention with the drama is to give a voice to the victims and to tell their stories sensitively and with the utmost respect.

“The drama was written after extensive research was conducted and many of the survivors of Savile are involved in the making of the drama.”

Others have slammed the BBC for being the station to make the show since it was the “home” of Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It – the shows the charity fundraiser used as a hunting ground for victims.

But Wenger added: “I think there are still many important questions that need to be answered about Savile and many questions we are asking of ourselves through that drama.

“So I think it is incredibly important that the BBC do tell that story.

“I have yet to see a documentary that really answers the question – How did this happen? How was he able to render his victims so powerless and without a voice for so long .. and how was he able to hide in plain sight within those institutions.. not just the BBC?

“The BBC will be a part of it because that was a part of Savile’s story. There is no getting away from it and nor would we want to.”

Former Alan Partridge star Steve Coogan, who will play Savile in the controversial drama, added that he had considered the backlash before accepting the role: “To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly. Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively an horrific story which – however harrowing – needs to be told.”

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