Steve Coogan seen as Jimmy Savile for first time filming controversial show The Reckoning

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Eerie photos have shown Alan Partridge star Steve Coogan in a jester costume during a break while filming The Reckoning in Bolton. The actor, 55, was transformed with blonde hair to play the warped former Top of the Pops presenter.

Le Mans Crescent is believed to be doubling as Stoke Mandeville Hospital where Savile, who had full access to all parts of the hospital, sexually abused more than 50 people including an eight-year-old child.

The mini-series The Reckoning will tell the story of how Savile came from a working-class background to become one of the biggest stars in television, and the years of sexual abuse and the impact it had on his victims.

The controversial production has been criticised with many hitting out at the BBC, where Savile spent many years of his career before his death in 2011.

However, Steve previously said about taking on the harrowing role: “To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly.”

He explained: “Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively a horrific story which, however harrowing, needs to be told.”

The BBC said they were “working closely with many people whose lives were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect”.

Director Sandra Goldbacher said: “The Reckoning is a unique opportunity to give Savile’s survivors, the people who inspired this project, a voice.

“I feel sure that Steve Coogan’s powerful performance as Savile will create a debate around how the cult of celebrity cloaked him from scrutiny.”

A source told The Sun: “It’s an unlikely casting in a way but Steve has shown an ability to take on serious roles.”

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

But that didn’t stop the broadcaster from being lambasted online.

BBC bosses have continued to defend the series.

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Executive producer Jeff Pope said: “Its purpose 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.

“Steve has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity,” he added.

The BBC said: “He rose from working-class origins to become one of the biggest stars of British television – but in death has become one of the most reviled figures of modern history.

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

Savile died aged 84, having never been brought to justice for his crimes.

He is now believed to be one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.

Coleen Nolan revealed Savile asked her back to his hotel room when she was 14-years-old.

The 56-year-old Loose Woman star said that it happened after a recording of Top of the Pops, but she didn’t go, as she thought he was a “dirty old man”.

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