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Steve Coogan believes ‘gamble’ of playing Jimmy Savile has ‘paid off’ after backlash-Emily Bashforth-Entertainment – Metro

‘It could’ve been a terrible decision.’

Steve Coogan believes ‘gamble’ of playing Jimmy Savile has ‘paid off’ after backlash-Emily Bashforth-Entertainment – Metro

Steve Coogan’s portrayal of Jimmy Saville received a mixed reaction (Picture: BBC/ITV Studios/Matt Squire)

Steve Coogan has said his Bafta nomination for his portrayal of Jimmy Savile feels like a ‘vindication’ of his decision to take on the risky role.

The TV star earned himself a leading actor prize nomination at the TV awards for his star turn in BBC drama The Reckoning.

Released in 2023, the programme told the story of Savile’s life from his working-class roots to his rise to TV stardom as a presenter, plus his later years when he managed to conceal his sexual abuse crimes until he died in 2011.

Understandably, the project was met with huge backlash, given Savile’s legacy as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.

Arriving on the red carpet, Coogan told the PA news agency of his gratitude for the recognition.

‘I’m very grateful to be acknowledged by the academy because the role I played was quite a difficult one, it was quite controversial and there was a lot of opposition to it when it was announced.

He starred as the prolific sex offender in BBC’s The Reckoning (Picture: BBC/ITV Studios/Matt Squire)

Savile felt ‘vindicated’ after being nominated for awards for the role (Picture: BBC/ITV Studios/Matt Squire)

‘So it was fraught with pitfalls, if it was handled badly it could have been a terrible decision.

‘But I think the BBC were vindicated by it.’

He added that ‘everyone had to perform their role very carefully to make sure the result was something that was legitimate, and a worthwhile endeavour. And not least me, playing the main role.’

‘So being acknowledged by the academy feels like a sort of vindication.’

Asked if he anticipated controversy over his casting, Coogan replied: ‘I understood some of the consternation about me playing the role of Jimmy Savile, some people have seen me as just a comic actor but I have got provenance as a dramatic actor and I thought I knew how to do it.

‘All the people involved were very professional so I knew that the decisions made would be a bit careful and considered, but I didn’t jump in with both feet before carefully looking at the scripts and raising concerns and making sure that it was done the right way.

‘I knew it was a gamble but I thought it was a gamble that would pay off and I think it has.’

The actor looked smart as he walked the TV Bafta red carpet (Picture: Kate Green/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA)

Coogan said the participation of some of the survivors of Savile’s crimes ‘legitimises it and neutralises a lot of the negativity that was directed at the whole venture’.

He added: ‘Because their presence was an endorsement of that process, and gave voice to it and legitimised and made people realise why the programme was being made.

‘It wasn’t just a piece of entertainment, it was about looking deeply at how something like this occurs.’

Coogan admitted previously that filming for four-parter became ‘difficult at times’.

The Alan Partridge star told BBC Breakfast hosts Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt that it was a ‘gamble’ of a role, given how the series touches on those who ‘failed to bring [Savile] to account.

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Coogan was glad when he no longer had to dress up as Savile again (Picture: Alamy Live News)

However, he assured viewers that working alongside survivors aided the research and ensured the process was ‘very, very careful’.

When asked how playing a ‘sinister’ character like Savile affected him, Coogan stated: ‘I was very pleased the last day of filming, because I thought, I’ll never have to dress as him again.’

Full list of Bafta TV nominations 2024

Leading actress

Anjana Vasan, Demon 79 (Black Mirror) – Netflix

Anne Reid, The Sixth Commandment – BBC One

Bella Ramsey, The Last of Us – Sky Atlantic

Helena Bonham Carter, Nolly – ITVX

Sarah Lancashire, Happy Valley – BBC One

Sharon Horgan, Best Interests – BBC One

Leading actor

Brian Cox, Succession – Sky Atlantic

Dominic West, The Crown – Netflix

Kane Robinson, Top Boy – Netflix

Paapa Essiedu, The Lazarus Project – Sky Max

Steve Coogan, The Reckoning – BBC One

Timothy Spall, The Sixth Commandment – BBC One

Supporting actress

Elizabeth Debicki, The Crown – Netflix

Harriet Walter, Succession – Sky Atlantic

Jasmine Jobson, Top Boy – Netflix

Lesley Manville, The Crown – Netflix

Nico Parker, The Last of Us – Sky Atlantic

Siobhan Finneran, Happy Valley – BBC One

Supporting actor

Amit Shah, Happy Valley – BBC One

Éanna Hardwicke, The Sixth Commandment – BBC One

Harris Dickinson, A Murder at the End of the World – Disney+

Jack Lowden, Slow Horses – Apple TV+

Matthew Macfadyen, Succession – Sky Atlantic

Salim Daw, The Crown – Netflix

Female performance in a comedy

Bridget Christie, The Change – Channel 4

Gbemisola Ikumelo, Black Ops – BBC One

Máiréad Tyers, Extraordinary – Disney+

Roisin Gallagher, The Lovers – Sky Atlantic

Sofia Oxenham, Extraordinary – Disney+

Taj Atwal, Hullraisers – Channel 4

Male performance in a comedy

Adjani Salmon, Dreaming Whilst Black – BBC Three

David Tennant, Good Omens – Prime Video

Hammed Animashaun, Black Ops – BBC One

Jamie Demetriou, A Whole Lifetime with Jamie Demetriou – Netflix

Joseph Gilgun, Brassic – Sky Max

Mawaan Rizwan, Juice – BBC Three

Drama series

The Gold – BBC One

Happy Valley – BBC One

Slow Horses – Apple TV+

Top Boy – Netflix

Limited drama

Best Interests – BBC One

Demon 79 (Black Mirror) – Netflix

The Long Shadow – ITV1

The Sixth Commandment – BBC One

Scripted comedy

Big Boys – Channel 4

Dreaming Whilst Black – BBC Three

Extraordinary – Disney+

Such Brave Girls – BBC Three


Casualty – BBC One

EastEnders – BBC One

Emmerdale – ITV1

Entertainment programme

Hannah Waddingham: Home For Christmas – Apple TV+

Later… With Jools Holland – BBC Two

Michael McIntyre’s Big Show – BBC One

Strictly Come Dancing – BBC One

Entertainment performance

Anthony McPartlin & Declan Donnelly, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! – ITV1

Big Zuu, Big Zuu’s Big Eats – Dave

Graham Norton, The Graham Norton Show – BBC One

Hannah Waddingham, Eurovision Song Contest 2023 – BBC One

Joe Lycett, Late Night Lycett – Channel 4

Rob Beckett & Romesh Ranganathan, Rob & Romesh Vs – Sky Max

Comedy entertainment programme

The Graham Norton Show – BBC One

Late Night Lycett – Channel 4

Rob & Romesh Vs – Sky Max

Would I Lie To You? – BBC One

Factual entertainment

Celebrity Race Across The World – BBC One

The Dog House – Channel 4

Endurance: Race To The Pole – Channel 5

Portrait Artist of the Year – Sky Arts


Banged Up – Channel 4

Married At First Sight UK – E4

My Mum, Your Dad – ITV1

Squid Game: The Challenge – Netflix


Loose Women and Men – ITV1

Lorraine – ITV1

Make It At Market – BBC One

Scam Interceptors – BBC One


The Bear – Disney+

Beef – Netflix

Class Act – Netflix

The Last of Us – Sky Atlantic

Love & Death – ITVX

Succession – Sky Atlantic

Live event coverage

The Coronation Concert – BBC One

Eurovision Song Contest 2023 – BBC One

Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance – BBC One

Current affairs

Inside Russia: Traitors And Heroes (Storyville) – BBC Four

Putin Vs The West – BBC Two

Russell Brand: In Plain Sight (Dispatches) – Channel 4

The Shamima Begum Story (This World) – BBC Two

Single documentary

David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived – Sky Documentaries

Ellie Simmonds: Finding My Secret Family – ITV1

Hatton – Sky Crime

Vjeran Tomic: The Spider-Man of Paris – Netflix

Factual series

Dublin Narcos – Sky Documentaries

Evacuation – Channel 4

Lockerbie – Sky Documentaries

Once Upon A Time In Northern Ireland – BBC Two

Specialist factual

Chimp Empire – Netflix

The Enfield Poltergeist – Apple TV+

Forced Out – Sky Documentaries

White Nanny, Black Child – Channel 5

News coverage

Inside Gaza: Israel And Hamas At War – Channel 4 News

Inside Myanmar – The Hidden War – Sky News

Israel-Hamas War – Sky News

Sports coverage

Cheltenham Festival Day One – ITV1

MOTD Live: Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023 – BBC One

Wimbledon 2023 Men’s Final – BBC One

Memorable moment

Beckham, David teases Victoria about her ‘working class’ upbringing – Netflix

Doctor Who, Ncuti Gatwa revealed as the 15th Doctor – BBC One

Happy Valley, Catherine Cawood and Tommy Lee Royce’s final kitchen showdown – BBC One

The Last of Us, Bill and Frank’s Story – Sky Atlantic

The Piano, 13-year-old Lucy stuns commuters with jaw dropping piano performance – Channel 4

Succession, Logan Roy’s death – Sky Atlantic

Short form

Mobility – BBC Three

The Skewer: Three Twisted Years – BBC iPlayer

Stealing Ukraine’s Children: Inside Russia’s Camps – Vice News

Where It Ends – BBC Three

Writer: Comedy

Jack Rooke, Big Boys – Channel 4

Jamie Demetriou, A Whole Lifetime with Jamie Demetriou – Netflix

Kat Sadler, Such Brave Girls – BBC Three

Mawaan Rizwan, Juice – BBC Three

Writer: Drama

Charlie Brooker & Bisha K Ali, Demon 79 (Black Mirror) – Netflix

Jesse Armstrong, Succession – Sky Atlantic

Sally Wainwright, Happy Valley – BBC One

Sarah Phelps, The Sixth Commandment – BBC One

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