I have a question about The Reckoning. Why?
Seriously, why on earth make a four-part series about the depraved monster who was Jimmy Savile?
And why air it on the BBC, the place that gave safe harbour to a predator so vile that he now belongs in a pantheon of evil alongside the likes of Fred West and the Yorkshire Ripper?
Is there some new insight into his monstrous reign that hasn’t been raked over endlessly, including documentaries laying out all the grisly facts and acts of this prolific paedophile and necrophiliac?
No, this was a decision to present the crimes of Savile, the naive complicity of the establishment and the ruination of his victims’ lives as entertainment. As if the damage and terror he created is there to be played out for the masses like some sort of Roman bread-and-circuses sideshow attraction. And that’s not something I will watch.
The Reckoning appears to be most notable as a vehicle to showcase the considerable acting talents of Steve Coogan – and that box has certainly been ticked, given reviews about the show are universal in praise of his portrayal as chillingly realistic.
For that reason alone, perhaps I should watch The Reckoning.
I met Savile – and I don’t want to relive that
You see, I met Savile several times in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was the guest celebrity to lead a major charity walk staged in Edinburgh every year, and I was the trainee reporter sent to cover it.
I’ve been up close and personal with Savile, shook his hand and chatted with him, looked him in the eye on at least three occasions. For the record, no, there was no inkling about what lay behind those eyes.
The concept of The Reckoning is repellent
I’d love to say I had a feeling he was somehow off, or a wrong ‘un. I didn’t.
All I felt was a bit of awe at interviewing a household name I had grown up watching on the telly and, at that time, still saw on the box every Saturday night.
So, am I not even mildly curious about seeing if Coogan’s take matches my memories of the real man? Not even remotely, because the concept of The Reckoning is repellent.
What good comes from The Reckoning?
Why make voyeur telly out of such unspeakable crimes and such an unspeakable man? Why add to the notoriety of Savile and feed a ghoulish fascination with him?
What good flows from that? Who is helped? What is changed? What is prevented?
The only thing achieved is ratings for the BBC – and that’s simply not a good enough reason.
Jimmy Savile should not be back on prime-time BBC, not even if he’s being channelled by Steve Coogan. I reckon it’s a disgrace that he is.
Scott Begbie is a journalist and editor, as well as PR and comms manager for Aberdeen Inspired.