The Reckoning, the BBC’s dramatisation of Jimmy Savile’s life, hit screens yesterday, and it understandably got people talking.
In the show, Steve Coogan plays the predatory TV star who deceived authorities into giving him an OBE, a knighthood and much more.
Savile was simultaneously using his power to sexually abuse hundreds of children and vulnerable people in the most horrific way – but died with his reputation intact with the broader population.
It wasn’t until 2012 that allegations against the once much-loved presenter, who we now know was a serial rapist and a monster, surfaced more widely.
And it seems the latest treatment of his life, which aired on BBC One on 9 October, has unearthed those memories afresh for people who watched it, including for one person who says they met Savile.
The person, who identifies as Pôl, wrote on X/Twitter: “Still sends shivers down my spine that I met him once.
“He was hanging around with hospital porters at their desk in the Heath hospital in Cardiff. I went to get an autograph. He was weird.”
Watching The Reckoning. Jimmy Saville. \nStill sends shivers down my spine that I met him once. He was hanging around with hospital porters at their desk in the Heath hospital in Cardiff. I went to get an autograph. He was weird.
Another said: “What an absolute letch Jimmy Savile was. Nasty, ugly, despicable predator. Shame on everyone who ignored and silenced the truth tellers.”
Jo Hemmings also wrote: “Jimmy Savile lived in the same block of flats as my grandparents. He often asked them to let me go to his apartment, to talk about pop music. Without further explanation they would never let me go - forever grateful their instinct trumped my disappointment.”
Meanwhile, others were wowed by Coogan’s performance in the main role.
The show takes us from 1962, as Savile’s career as a DJ in Manchester, before rising through BBC radio and television, up until his death in 2011 aged 84, at which point he remained totally untouched by anybody who tried to speak up about his crimes.
One person wrote: “I definitely think [Coogan] should be up for a Bafta. He was superb and proved he is a strength within British acting.”
Another person added: “Steve Coogan had some balls playing Jimmy Savile. Brave move for someone who didn’t need televisual acceptance. Gritty stuff.”
#Reckoning Steve Coogan had some balls playing Jimmy Saville. Brave move for someone who didn\u2019t need televisual acceptance. Gritty stuff
And one other added: "An absolutely epic performance of Jimmy Saville by Steve Coogan. Total mastery, couldn’t separate the actor from the part. Sobering."
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Coogan elaborated on how he thought Savile had got away with his crimes for so long.
He said: “Savile could control every room intuitively. With any predator, almost across the board – and including people in entertainment – there’s an ability to hide behind a professional disposition.”
“The court jester thing that Savile put on for his career, and for his subterfuge, was a suit of armour for him.
“And in showbusiness there’s a lack of structure or protocols, compared with other professions, so it is a fertile environment for people to act outside the norm.”