Steve Coogan has described a horrific incident in the upcoming Jimmy Savile play that made him so uncomfortable that he requested that it be adjusted.
The four-part BBC drama stars Alan Partridge as the disgraced DJ, who died in 2011 at the age of 84 before his numerous crimes as a child sex abuser and sex offender were revealed.
Steve, 57, has recounted how a necrophilia scene made him quite ‘uncomfortable,’ prompting him to communicate his issue with director Sandra Goldbacher, who changed the final result.
‘It was really disturbing, what can you say? It’s as disturbing as it looks,’ Coogan said of the scene.
The scenario in issue takes place in a mortuary at Leeds Hospital, which Savile frequented so often that he had a room there.
Savile is seen putting his hand under a sheet covering the corpse of a woman in her sixties.
Coogan said during the show’s recent premiere that the initial intention was to include a shot that he wished to avoid.
‘In that morgue scene, there was a certain shot they wanted to do that I didn’t want to do,’ he said, as reported by The Independent.
‘It was just a detail that I was uncomfortable with, so I had a conversation with the director and we came to an agreement on what was the most appropriate way to depict it.
The actor then explained how the series had been two years in the making due to ‘diligent forensic application about trying to make sure all the right decisions are made’.
When it came to portraying Savile’s offences, Coogan said there was ‘no right or wrong answer’, but that he felt a responsibility to share his ‘opinion about what the right thing to do is’.
He added: ‘There’s a tension between showing too much of Savile’s offences, and it being grotesque, or sugar-coating them, which is also wrong [as we won’t] see the horror of what he did.
‘So you have to strike that balance – you don’t want to upset survivors and you don’t want to anesthetise the full effect.’
Writer Neil McKay said he had ‘excellent sources’ for the scene, and he believed the team had ‘found the right balance’ with the final result, adding they didn’t want to ‘cause distress or show something that’s grim’.
‘I think it would have been wrong and untrue to not show it,’ he added.
Coogan defended the play earlier this year when it was received with criticism.
‘It is controversial and I understand that,’ Coogan told Radio Times.
‘The BBC are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, and I believe the correct choice is to be damned if they do. Broadly, it’s better to talk about something than not.
‘The team had the right attitude and it was done with the cooperation of survivors.’
He went on to say that he felt the show will ‘vindicate itself’ when it was televised.
The Reckoning airs on Monday October 9 at 9pm on BBC One, with all four episodes released on BBC iPlayer.
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