‘The Reckoning’ cast: ‘Downton’ star joins Jimmy Savile true crime drama

More cast members have been announced for The Reckoning.

From the award-winning team behind acclaimed Shannon Matthews drama The Moorside and Fred West drama Appropriate Adult, the upcoming series will trace the life of Jimmy Savile.

The upcoming four-part drama will explore how Jimmy Savile became one of the UK’s most influential celebrities, but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history following revelations of extensive and horrific abuse.

Savile used his involvement in multiple organisations, such as the BBC, hospitals, prisons, and charities, to legitimise himself, forging friendships in showbusiness, politics, journalism, the Catholic Church and even the Royal family to cement his position.

It was revealed nearly two years ago that Steve Coogan (Philomena, Stan & Ollie) had been cast as Jimmy Savile.

The actor commented in 2021 that taking on the role was “not a decision I took lightly,” but said that he was persuaded by writer Neil McKay‘s “intelligent script tackling sensitively an horrific story which – however harrowing – needs to be told.”

Further casting has now been confirmed, with Siobhan Finneran among the leads.

Best known as O’Brien in Downton Abbey, the 57-year-old actress has also appeared in Happy Valley, Time, Benidorm, and Unforgiven.

She’ll be joined by BAFTA-winner Gemma Jones (Gentleman Jack), Mark Lewis Jones (Outlander), and Mark Stanley (White House Farm).

Exact details of who they’re playing haven’t yet been announced.

We’re told that The Reckoning will also feature four survivors of Savile, “interviewed on camera to offer their further insight and to reflect on their experiences in the hope that the telling of their stories will prevent something like it happening again.”

When’s the release date?

The Reckoning will premiere this autumn in the UK on BBC One and streaming on BBC iPlayer.

Here’s the first official picture from the series, showing Steve Coogan as Jimmy Savile:

While the series’ existence is likely going to be controversial, executive producer Jeff Pope previously explained: “The purpose of this drama is to explore how Savile’s offending went unchecked for so long, and in shining a light on this, to ensure such crimes never happen again.”

An official press release from the BBC elaborates: “Using drama’s unique ability to place events in their emotional and historical context, the series will explore how Savile used his celebrity and powerful connections to conceal his crimes and exploit institutional failings.

“It is important to understand how he was able to hide in plain sight in order to gain a greater understanding of how he evaded justice. The drama aims to highlight the importance of confronting the horrors of the past and talking openly about abuse.

“It will examine the impact his appalling crimes had on his victims, and the powerlessness many felt when they tried to raise the alarm.”