The Reckoning is on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Monday 9 October.

The four-part series will air on BBC One at 9pm on Monday and Tuesday night for two weeks, with all episodes on BBC iPlayer from Monday 9 October.

An interview with Sam

Can you tell us how you first became involved in the series?

I got an email initially from Neil and Jeff, to ask me if I was willing to talk about my experiences for the series. I emailed back yes, because I always want to share my experiences. We had an in depth conversation off the back of that and then met a few times to make sure it was something I definitely wanted to take part in, and also that I liked them and could trust them enough with the information I was giving them.

What made you want to be a part of it?

I don’t think this is a subject that should ever be stopped being talked about. I still think that a lot of people are quite ignorant to what happens… how grooming begins and what it looks like, and I just think that the more people like myself who speak up then maybe the more people will listen and understand and begin to be able to see it when abuse is happening in their own road, or their own neighbourhood or local school, and just be more aware.

Did you have any concerns about taking part or in the drama in general, and if so how were they overcome?

I did initially. I was worried that quite a few people would yawn and be “oh ok… it’s him again. I think we’ve already had enough about him”. I understand that in some respects but it isn’t just about him – it’s about what he was able to get away with, and that is relevant today in so many ordinary walks of life.

I did initially think it’s such a shame that this has to be about a public name in order for enough people to be interested, and that it couldn’t just be about grooming itself. I always have a little trouble with that but I also understand that Savile is an easy and accessible way to explain someone like this to such a large audience. Everyone knows who he was and there are so many pieces of film and documentation.

Can you tell us about your contribution to the series?

I’ve been involved over the course of about two and a half years now. There was a lot of time talking with Neil, and I thought it was really good that he took on board how I felt my experiences needed to be portrayed. He worked that into the drama. I’m a child in the drama and that was kind of strange for me initially, but I like the way that the series first shows me talking on camera as myself as an adult, before viewers then go on to see the young version of me. I’m hoping that mix of me as I am today plus the recreation of what I went through as a child will mean viewers feel the impact and emotion far more. It works, I think.

We – I say ‘we’ as it feels like all of us who were involved in this are a ‘we’ – we feel that Neil and Jeff were so open to listening to everything and the actual drama evolved as we spoke more, which was really good. They gained more information and they learned more and they wanted so deeply to bring that to the public in a way that was respectful to us and they did a wonderful job with that. And also to tell the story as it was.

When you’re watching Steve as Savile, as strong as you might be you really do have to take a deep breath. It’s difficult to see and hear but that is why we’re all doing this – to make sure that people can hear and see and feel emotional. I do want people to watch this series and feel emotion because if they feel emotion then we’ve got somewhere.

For my interviews on camera in the series I was speaking to Neil. It is hard to talk about – when I’m doing interviews like that I always have a massive amount of energy, but it is tiring and takes a lot. It is knackering but it’s always worth it. I’m always glad to be speaking about this, as I was on the day I filmed mine. A lot of people say you’re brave but I think that’s wrong. I don’t feel that but I feel it’s a service that I’ve got to do. With this series I’m proud to be a part of it. There are hundreds of people who’ve been involved and have fed into it. I’m proud to talk for other people who were harmed too.

You’ve watched the finished series. What do you think about it?

I was really pleased. What I didn’t want was for what happened to me and the others to get lost in the boundaries of ‘TV drama’ and not feel real. But I think that you will feel more personally connected to the events depicted in it because it being shown as a drama is the nearest thing to taking people back in time. It feels true to real life. I’m hoping people will clearly and easily be able to see the grooming that took place, and better understand the fact that anybody with any power can do the same thing today.

Steve plays it very well. He comes across as very arrogant and unpleasant. I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t actually Savile. The little details how he behaves and his tones and his stance and stuff like that. I think for a lot of people like me they will have to take a breath as they’re watching and remember that this is just acting. I visited set for filming, and when we stopped for lunch I was talking to the crew because I wanted to find out why they had decided to take their jobs on the series. I thought it was going to be quite complex for people in their line of work. The amount of people who said things like “it took weeks to decide whether it was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do” and I found that really interesting. It was quite comforting that they also realised the huge responsibility, and that they all understood the enormity of what they were doing – it wasn’t the flippancy of just another job. When watching the series I think that comes across, the amount of care that’s gone into it.

All the way through this we have really been cared for, respected and taken seriously. I know it’s the same for a few others that even though we want to tell our story and we want to do it for our group, there are other times when we’ve all felt a bit used. But this has not been like that. We’ve had the care and support if we’ve needed it. Neil and everyone have kept in contact throughout the whole thing and made us feel an important part of the making of this show. And actually really we are, because without us sharing our lives it wouldn’t exist, would it?

What do you hope viewers will take away from watching the series?

I hope that they learn and they see and are more informed and open to what can happen. But also realise that grooming and abuse is a run of the mill thing. These aren’t rare things that hardly ever happen. They’re an every day of the week thing. I really hope that the series makes people more aware and more understanding of people’s behaviours. To know how to understand what’s going on and be brave enough to say something. People often ask me and other people who went through similar “Why didn’t you say anything?” Well as a child that’s tricky, but if you’re an adult witnessing it, why didn’t you? We need for everyone to become more confident in seeing these things and to not be afraid to shout louder about these things happening. The events in this series are just as relevant now in 2023.

An interview with Susan

How did you first become involved in the series?

I became involved in the series because I was involved with Louis Theroux’s second documentary (Louis Theroux: Savile) and therefore I got traced through that and approached by Neil and the ITV team.

What made you want to be a part of the series?

Because I wanted somebody to listen. Because when what happened to me happened, nobody would listen. My big regret is that nobody listened to me at the time. If it makes one female come forward to prevent any others going through horrific abuse then that’s why I wanted to do it. For no other reason – just to help a woman in the future who maybe hasn’t got the courage to come forward.

Did you have any concerns about taking part or about the drama in general, and if so how were they overcome?

I wasn’t nervous, because it actually made me rethink everything. I hadn’t realised until I had heard other people’s stories about what they went through what a lucky escape I had. It’s actually worse talking about it now than when it happened because, knowing that so many other people had been abused, I now find myself asking “What if?” and “If only I’d said something”. But at 22 I was just too young and innocent to understand the implications of what happened to me. I just didn’t think of it as sexual assault at the time. I was frightened it was going to open a can of worms that had been left quiet. Initially, when it happened in 1972, everyone I knew just laughed about it because everyone thought it was funny because of who he was. Talking about it here made me realise what I’d actually gone through and how bad it was, even though it wasn’t as bad of some of the other people’s experiences. But now I’ve spoken about it properly it’s finished. It’s over and I’ve drawn a line now.

What did your contribution to the series involve?

It involved going back many years to 1972 and telling the team exactly what had happened at the time. All the memories are quite vivid, so I retold what had actually happened all those years ago, so Neil and I could go over the ‘storyline’ as it is in the series.

We were offered the opportunity to go on set to see some filming, which my partner and I said yes to. It was a scene where Steve Coogan was playing Savile in his flat at Roundhay Park in Lake View Court. I’ve been in Lake View Court several times – not to Savile’s flat but I have other friends who live there. The set looked very familiar. It was very surreal. Steve came to talk to us as himself, not in character, but as he walked away to return to filming he walked away as Savile. That was quite unnerving because he was sat there in his shell suit and it was almost like he was a different person. One second he was Steve Coogan talking to us, and then it was Savile walking away.

I was interviewed by Neil on camera, which is in the series. I found it hard to stay calm – I might look calm on the outside, but actually on the inside reliving everything was quite nerve wracking. I felt like I was taking my finals again! It was a long session – we started at half past nine and finished after 1pm. I felt a bit shaken up after, but once it was done and once I was off the set it was fine.

You’ve seen the finished series. How do you feel about it?

My word to Neil and to Jeff was “Wow”. That wasn’t a good wow or a bad wow but a wow to say that I was stunned. It’s no holds barred and just told it as it was. They’ve criticised the BBC and they’ve criticised the police, which is all in my opinion very good. From my point of view it’s drawn a line. I’ve told the story, everyone will know it, and I can now put it away. Put it back in its box on the shelf and move on. It happened a long time ago and I did have a lucky escape in some ways so I now move on with my life and help other people in some way. That’s the main objective – if just one female comes forward to say “well actually, you know, please listen to me. Me Too.” Because I do feel quite guilty, because if I’d have made somebody listen to me at the time maybe other people wouldn’t have been raped and abused at the time.

What do you hope viewers will take away from watching the series?

It’s not going to stop any other predator coming out because there are still hundreds and thousands of them out there. What it might change is to make institutions not put their heads in the sand, and instead take action from the beginning and not wait until another disaster’s happened before they do anything else about it.

It’s not the right adjective to say I enjoyed it, but it was cathartic to be able to draw a line under things and have empathy with the other people who were attacked – so many worse off than me, who also weren’t listened to. I came forward because I was part of the jigsaw and however small a part of the jigsaw you are, that tiny little piece makes a big picture. Although initially when the stories about him first came out I was slightly reluctant to go forward, I was advised by a solicitor at the time to go forward because I was part of the jigsaw, and however small that piece is there were thousands of other women who were just as small a part as me, but there were also the bigger pieces. I think it’s important that everybody is listened to, however small a part they take in it. It’s important to make the whole picture and to build that picture of the evil creature that he was. And I hope, going on, institutions like the BBC and the police and hospitals will pay attention. And it’s not just these institutions, it’s happening everywhere.

Each little bit fits in with another piece. I have no regrets taking part in the series. I’ve had a bit of criticism from friends who say “just leave it where it is, it’s over and done with” but as I said, if it helps just one other person not go through what I went through then it’s all worth it.

An interview with Kevin

What made you want to be a part of the series?

My feeling is that if I can help one person who’s been through something similar by sharing my story, then I’ll do it. It hasn’t got to be directly related to Savile, but any sort of offence – whether it be against children or adults. That’s my goal. I can’t change the past but I can help to shape the future, even if just in a small way. If I can help someone then that’s good enough for me.

That’s what makes me want to do things like interviews about what I went through, and taking part in this series. My wife hates me doing ‘another thing’ as she calls it, but like I say it may help someone, and I’ve known from past interviews that it does have a positive impact. I did an interview for a German news website and the interviewer later told me that he had then been in touch with someone who had been abused and had come forward about it off the back of that.

Just telling people can make a difference. It doesn’t have to be the police or authorities. It can be a friend – just tell someone and get it off your chest and you’ll feel better for telling someone.

Did you have any concerns about taking part, and if so how were they overcome?

Initially, when I was first contacted, yes definitely. This being a BBC drama about the BBC – I thought it could be a bit of a cover up, so I was initially a bit sceptical. But I liked the idea that it was being made by ITV Studios, so they’re making this programme from a totally independent point of view. After I’d spoken to the team that was the one deciding factor, that although it’s being aired on the BBC, it’s not a BBC programme in that sense. Then it started from there.

What did your contribution to the series involve?

I met Neil and Clare (Shepherd, producer) and all the team behind it and I was really happy with everything. I found out more about the series and the approach they were taking. They explained who they were and how it was being made and what they were trying to do, which put me at ease from early on.

I told them my story all over again so they had it all factually correct. After that, there were a few phone calls and emails asking questions – so they could portray it to the best of their abilities and make it factual from my side of things. I’ve done other interviews with news places and most of it has been 95% right but there’s been instances where I’ve thought “I didn’t say it quite like that”. But I’m really really happy with this. They’re telling my story as well as the other victims’, so it’s factual interviews mixed with the drama.

For me, I often see something where I’ve shared my story and I can go into a depression off the back of it. Even though I’ve told my story hundreds of time, it still brings it back so I do tread carefully.

When I went to London and filmed my interviews for the series they sat me down to film my part. From that day, I was so glad that I had done it. By then, I had got quite friendly with the team and I knew what everyone was about. That filming didn’t set me back one little bit. My wife, normally she doesn’t come with me, but she came with me this time. Their mannerisms and the way they worked allowed me to put all my trust and faith in them. They were all absolutely brilliant. Now I’ve seen the series, I’m so glad I did take part. I’ll be honest with you though, I don’t know if I’ll watch it on telly.

I’m like a mini-professional with interviews now, and I genuinely think this team are the nicest and most caring people I’ve met in all the things I’ve done. No-one from the other shows and interviews has not been nice, but a lot of people made me feel like a number; rush down to London, here’s your train fare, do your interview and off you go. But they never made me feel like this.

You’ve seen the finished series. How do you feel about it?

As myself, it’s daunting and horrible to watch in places, but for a potential viewer it’s so realistic and spot on factually. Steve plays him down to a T – his mannerisms and everything. I don’t think it could have been made any better. I think it’s done its job. It gave me goosebumps and my wife said that I’d gone cold when we watched it but I think we have to take that as a positive.

What do you hope viewers will take away from watching the series?

A series like this is always going to get criticism, but when viewers watch they will see four people’s stories – the four of us who the series focuses around – speaking out about how it was, so that hopefully somebody that’s in a similar situation will be helped by it. The more people it can help then it’s been all worthwhile.