Steve Coogan Asked To Change ‘Uncomfortable’ Morgue Scene In New Jimmy Savile Series

Steve Coogan asked the director of the new Jimmy Savile series to change a morgue scene that made him feel 'uncomfortable'.
Credit: Alamy & BBC/ITV Studios

Steve Coogan asked the director of the new Jimmy Savile series to change a ‘disturbing’ scene in a morgue that made him feel ‘uncomfortable’.

The Philomena star, 57, is best known for playing for the much-adored (and self-absorbed) radio DJ Alan Partridge – a character he created in 1991.

He would play Partridge in numerous projects including On The Hour, Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge and the award-winning I’m Alan Partridge.

Throughout his career, Coogan has also starred in Hollywood blockbuster films such as the Night At The Museum franchise, Tropic Thunder and Around The World in 80 Days.

He is now set to play the infamous Jimmy Savile in the four-part series The Reckoning – and the actor asked for one particular scene to be changed due to how ‘uncomfortable’ it made him feel.

Watch the trailer for The Reckoning below…

Speaking at a press event for the show, Coogan shared how director Sandra Goldbacher altered a scene involving Savile at the mortuary at Leeds Hospital – where he reportedly had a bedroom.

“It was really disturbing, what can you say? It’s as disturbing as it looks,” the Stan & Ollie actor told those in attendance.

The moment in question sees the radio DJ put his hand under a sheet covering the corpse of a woman in her 70s.

Coogan continued: “In that morgue scene, there was a certain shot they wanted to do that I didn’t want to do.

“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.”

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Writer Neil McKay also discussed the scene, explaining that he had spoken with ‘excellent sources’ when writing that moment and that 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 said, as per Metro.

The disgraced TV personality died in 2011 at the age of 84, but a year after his death he was exposed as a child s** abuser and offender.

The BBC found that there had been ‘at least’ 500 reports of abuse by the hands of Savile – with a later investigation put forward by the Department of Health and Social Care revealing that the victim’s ages ranged from five to 75.

The show was initially met with backlash – with some suggesting that the material isn’t appropriate for TV and that it could be triggering to those who were taken advantage of by the Jim’ll Fix It host.

However, speaking to Radio Times, Coogan defended the drama and explained that the team involved with the show ‘had the right attitude’ and cooperated with survivors – before adding that it would ‘vindicate’ itself once it airs.

Steve Coogan as Jimmy Savile.
Steve Coogan has shared how one scene in The Reckoning was altered because it made him feel ‘uncomfortable’. Credit: BBC

The Other Guys actor doubled down on this at the press event for The Reckoning, where he shared that the series was two years in the making due to ‘diligent forensic application about trying to make sure all the right decisions are made’.

While he understood that there was ‘no right or wrong answer’ to the show and how he would portray Savile, he felt a certain responsibility to share his ‘opinion about what the right thing to do is’.

Coogan explained: ”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.”

He then continued by saying that he had to ‘strike a balance’ by not upsetting survivors of his abuse, but at the same time, he didn’t ‘want to anesthetise the full effect’.

Coogan later added that he is ‘comfortable’ with The Reckoning because he believes ‘that all decisions were the best ones that could be made’.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.