When does The Reckoning air? All we know about the BBC's Jimmy Savile drama

Steve Coogan
(Image credit: Getty)

After the first look of Steve Coogan transformed into paedophile Jimmy Savile on set of his gritty new drama, BBC fans are asking when is The Reckoning airing on TV?

The mini-series, which will focus on Savile’s long history of sexual abuse, has begun filming in Manchester.

Steve, 55, known for his role as Alan Partridge, was spotted dressed as a jester, wearing a blonde wig while filming for the series in Bolton.

We look at all you need to know about the drama and the unmasking of Jimmy Savile...

When does The Reckoning air on BBC?

The Reckoning mini-series is set to be aired on the BBC sometime in 2021 or 2022 as the drama was only announced earlier this month. The BBC has yet to confirm any further details other than it's being developed and now filming is in progress.

Photographers and fans have spotted Steve Coogan dressed in character, filming the show in Bolton, Manchester. Seen through a window with Savile's distinctive blunt blonde hairstyle Steve wore a red and green jesters costume.

Steve Coogan

(Image credit: Getty)

Scenes also take place in Le Mans Crescent, alongside the former Bolton Magistrates Court building behind the town hall. The paved area has become well known for being a filming location in other hit TV dramas such as Peaky Blinders and It's A Sin.

Reacting to the first glimpse of Steve in character, one Twitter user wrotr, 'Steve Coogan dressed as Savile dressed as a jester has left me deeply unsettled and worried for my nightmares later.'

Speaking about playing the role of the disgraced Top of the Pops host, who it emerged after his death was a prolific paedophile and sex offender, was not one he “took lightly”.

He said in a statement, "Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively a horrific story which, however harrowing, needs to be told."

Director Sandra Goldbacher said, "The Reckoning is a unique opportunity to give Savile’s survivors, the people who inspired this project, a voice.

“I feel sure that Steve Coogan’s powerful performance as Savile will create a debate around how the cult of celebrity cloaked him from scrutiny."

The planned The Reckoning BBC Jimmy Savile drama has come under some criticism over its effect on the victims.

Another Twitter user wrote, 'I love Steve Coogan - he’s a very clever & talented actor. It’ll probably be one of the performances of his career, but I won’t be watching. There’s something distinctly off with the BBC commissioning a show about a grotesque abuser who operated unchallenged on their watch.'

But Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, defended the decision to cover the topic. He said the producers will “work with survivors to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect”.

He 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.”

What is BBC The Reckoning about?

The Reckoning is expected to chart Jimmy Savile’s early years and his working-class upbringing in Yorkshire and his rise into a national figure and television presenter.

Viewers will also see the numerous opportunities missed to raise the alarm about Savile and his countless crimes, particularly against the young, ill and vulnerable as The Reckoning looks at how Savile hid his crimes from the public for decades until his death.

Speaking about The Reckoning BBC Jimmy Savile drama, the BBC said, "He rose from working-class origins to become one of the biggest stars of British television - but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history.

"The drama will examine the impact his appalling crimes had on his victims and the powerlessness many felt when they tried to raise the alarm."

Jimmy Savile

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 1: Sir Jimmy Savile prepares for The Bupa Great North Run on October 1, 2006 in Newcastle, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

When did Jimmy Savile die?

Jimmy Savile died almost 10 years ago on 29th October 2011.

After his death, hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse were made against him, leading the police to conclude that Savile had been a predatory sex offender - possibly one of Britain's most prolific.

There had been allegations during his lifetime, but they were dismissed and accusers ignored or disbelieved; Savile took legal action against some accusers.

It wasn't until immediately after Savile’s death, that two Newsnight reporters began to investigate the stories of abuse, interviewing victims, BBC employees and a former police detective. Their report was scheduled for broadcast in December 2011, but was cancelled on the basis that it would interfere with the shows planned to celebrate Savile over the Christmas period.

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer for Goodto.com, Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life with more than 16 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including baby news, weddings, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.