The former detective, who was the lead investigator on the ITV documentary The Other Side of Jimmy Savile which brought the entertainer’s horrific crimes to light in 2012, a year after Savile’s death at the age of 84, has been vocal about his thoughts on the BBC series.
The mini-series drama is made up of four hour-long episodes and covers Savile’s upbringing, career and sexual offences. It also features filmed testimonies from real-life survivors at the start and end of each episode.
Williams-Thomas shared his opinion on what else needs to be told.
‘So much more to be told about Savile and others at the BBC in the 70’s & 80’s,’ he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
‘Like the BBC Payola story which hit the headlines in February 1971 just 4 days before (Samantha) Claire McAlpine’s suicide.’
Claire McAlpine’s story is told through the character of Sara (Tia Dutt) in The Reckoning.
McAlpine had written a diary before her death by suicide at 15 in 1971 in which she said she had sex with two DJs while she was still a minor. Savile was later questioned by the police over the claims.
‘The Payola story has never been told … this note below says so much,’ Williams-Thomas added. ‘I was going to make a Payola programme but at the time did not have the capacity or time to do it.’
The attached note reads: ‘BBC RADIO 2 “PAYOLA SCANDAL”
‘Singer Dorothy Squires, BBC Radio Two producer Jack Dabbs, and seven other people were charged in connection with allegations that BBC employees had been bribed with money, sex, and holidays to promote certain records.
‘The arrests were the result of a two-year investigation by Scotland Yard into “payola” allegations published by News of the World in March 1971.’
Both Squires and Dabbs were acquitted of corruption charges on 6 November 1974.
Williams-Thomas has also said he was ‘very annoyed’ at a casting choice within the series.
‘I want to watch all of #TheReckoning about #JimmySavile before I give a view, but I will comment on what I saw in last night’s episode because it has made me very annoyed and has really undermined the integrity of the series,’ he shared on X.
‘The Claire McAlpine story, which 100% needed telling portrayed her as Asian – why? This massive deviation from a very important fact shows no sensitivity to Claire as a victim of abuse.’
Some viewers condemned Williams-Thomas’ remarks.
Savile is played by Steve Coogan, 57, in The Reckoning, and he’s explained how they approached tackling the horrific subject matter.
‘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 said, as reported by The Independent.
He added they had to ‘strike that balance’ of not ‘upsetting survivors’ and not wanting to ‘anesthetise the full effect’.
The Reckoning is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
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