Steve Coogan returns to work as an ageing Jimmy Savile


Steve Coogan returned to work on Tuesday morning as he filmed his latest scenes as disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile in a controversial new drama based on his life, death and posthumous notoriety as a serial sex offender. 

The actor will play Savile – who died in 2011 – in forthcoming BBC drama The Reckoning, an account of his rise to fame as a popular pirate radio disc jockey and eventual mainstream TV success on shows such as Top Of The Pops and Jim’ll Fix It. 

Stepping into the late presenter’s shoes during another location shoot in the north of England, Coogan, 56, filmed scenes depicting Savile in 1989, when he was 63-years old. 

In accordance with the late ’80s setting, he wore keen jogger Savile’s distinctive blue and white tracksuit while making his way into a local seaside gift shop. 

As always the actor’s looks had been radically changed, with a jutting prosthetic chin helping to sculpt his otherwise conventional features into the leery, angular faced Savile. 

Here he comes: Steve Coogan returned to work on Tuesday morning as he filmed his latest scenes as disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile in a controversial new drama based on his life, death and posthumous notoriety as a serial sex offender

Pictured: Jimmy Savile in his blue shell suit outside Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, March 1987

Here he comes: Steve Coogan returned to work on Tuesday morning as he filmed his latest scenes as disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile in a controversial new drama based on his life, death and posthumous notoriety as a serial sex offender

A damning report detailed Savile’s decades of abuse across the NHS and how management turned a blind eye because of his fame and the amount of cash he raised for charity.

Victims included a young girl raped 10 times when she visited the hospital where her parents worked. The investigation found that none of the complaints were ‘either taken seriously or escalated to senior management’.

He went onto abuse a total of 177 patients, aged between five and 75, across 41 hospitals. Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire was where his abuse was most prolific.

Coming soon: The actor will play Savile in forthcoming BBC drama The Reckoning, an account of his rise to fame as a popular pirate radio disc jockey and eventual mainstream TV success on shows such as Top Of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It

Here we go: Coogan made his way inside a local curio shop while filming his latest scenes in the north of England

Coming soon: The actor will play Savile in forthcoming BBC drama The Reckoning, an account of his rise to fame as a popular pirate radio disc jockey and eventual mainstream TV success on shows such as Top Of The Pops and Jim’ll Fix It

Make way: An assistant ensured the actor stayed dry beneath an umbrella as he continued work on The Reckoning

Make way: An assistant ensured the actor stayed dry beneath an umbrella as he continued work on The Reckoning 

In the scenes filmed last week, Coogan sported an uncanny resemblance to the DJ with his hair bleached white and a grey suit and red tie which was identical to the one he wore for the 1983 visit.

The costume department recreated Princess Diana’s iconic wardrobe with the actress, whose name is yet to be announced, sporting a pale blue silk dress and ribbon trim hat.

The new drama, which will be broadcasted by the BBC, will trace the disgraced former star’s upbringing, his early career and prolific child sex offences.

Old times: Savile wore a similar tracksuit during his meeting with the late Diana, Princess of Wales at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1987

Old times: Savile wore a similar tracksuit during his meeting with the late Diana, Princess of Wales at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1987

The decision to chronicle Savile’s life has come under fire from many, however BBC has stated that they worked with his victims and will portray a story ‘with sensitivity and respect’.

Steve, who famously portrays fictional comedic character Alan Partridge, previously explained in a statement the decision to play Savile was not one ‘I took lightly’.

He added: ‘Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively a horrific story which, however harrowing, needs to be told.’

There it is: The prosthetic chin was firmly in place as Coogan browsed a seaside gift shop during his latest scenes

There it is: The prosthetic chin was firmly in place as Coogan browsed a seaside gift shop during his latest scenes

There it is: The prosthetic chin was firmly in place as Coogan browsed a seaside gift shop during his latest scenes

Hidden in plain sight: Savile was a much loved public figure in life, but he would be exposed as a serial sexual predator following his death in 2011. Here he is pictured at the Wren House International Telephone Exchange in 1975

Hidden in plain sight: Savile was a much loved public figure in life, but he would be exposed as a serial sexual predator following his death in 2011. Here he is pictured at the Wren House International Telephone Exchange in 1975

Cautious: Coogan, who famously portrays fictional comedic character Alan Partridge, previously explained in a statement the decision to play Savile was not one 'I took lightly'

Cautious: Coogan, who famously portrays fictional comedic character Alan Partridge, previously explained in a statement the decision to play Savile was not one 'I took lightly'

Cautious: Coogan, who famously portrays fictional comedic character Alan Partridge, previously explained in a statement the decision to play Savile was not one ‘I took lightly’

Savile, who rose from a humble working-class upbringing to become one of British television’s biggest stars, passed away aged 84 in 2011.

In his final years, he fought to quell growing speculation about his illegal exploits throughout his illustrious career with the BBC – with victim testimony expected to be brought to life in the new drama.

A BBC-led inquiry into his actions found he had molested at least 72 children, some as young as eight, over a four decade campaign of sexual abuse with his first victim in 1959 and his last in 2006.

Throwback: The Reckoning has also recreated the moment Jimmy Savile greeted the Prince and Princess of Wales at the 1983 opening of the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Throwback: The Reckoning has also recreated the moment Jimmy Savile greeted the Prince and Princess of Wales at the 1983 opening of the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Terrible: Due to Savile's status as a celebrity fundraiser, the presenter was invited to the opening - with it later emerging he sexually abused 60 people, including seriously ill eight-year-olds, over two decades at the hospital

Terrible: Due to Savile’s status as a celebrity fundraiser, the presenter was invited to the opening – with it later emerging he sexually abused 60 people, including seriously ill eight-year-olds, over two decades at the hospital

His horrific reign of abuse could be charted ‘in the corridors, canteens, staircases and dressing rooms of every BBC premises’, their 2016 report found.

Executive producer, Jeff Pope, said: ‘I think this is a story that has to be told. We must understand why a man like Jimmy Savile seemed to remain immune for so long to proper scrutiny and criminal investigation.

‘Steve has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity.’

Transformed: In the scenes filmed last week, Coogan sported an uncanny resemblance to the DJ with his hair bleached white and a grey suit and red tie which was identical to the one he wore for the 1983 visit

Disgraced: Savile pictured in 1983

Transformed: In the scenes filmed last week, Coogan sported an uncanny resemblance to the DJ with his hair bleached white and a grey suit and red tie which was identical to the one he wore for the 1983 visit

Creepy: Steve Coogan, who is playing the role of the disgraced DJ in the upcoming drama, looked his spitting image as he was pictured kissing Princess Diana's hand in one poignant scene

Creepy: Steve Coogan, who is playing the role of the disgraced DJ in the upcoming drama, looked his spitting image as he was pictured kissing Princess Diana’s hand in one poignant scene

The BBC also says it will draw on ‘extensive and wide-ranging research sources’ or the project, examining the lasting impact of Savile’s crimes and the ‘powerlessness’ his victims felt.

Piers Wenger Controller, of BBC Drama, added: ‘The story of Jimmy Savile is one of the most emotive and troubling of our times. We do not intend to sensationalise these crimes but to give voice to his victims.

‘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.’

A release date has yet to be announced with filming for the series expected to continue taking place in Manchester over the coming months.

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