Journalist Jonathan Maitland has announced that his new play will be An Audience with Jimmy Savile, with the impressionist and actor Alistair McGowan in the lead role. The play will draw on transcripts of interviews with the former TV star - considered one of the biggest predatory sex offenders in history.

Alistair McGowanAlistair McGowan will play the lead in Jonathan Maitland's Jimmy Savile play

"It is one of the biggest stories of the last five years," he said. "It has changed everything; it has changed the way we look at abuse, it has changed the way we prosecute it, it has changed attitudes towards it, the way we treat the survivors of it.

"What person would not want to explore what kicked it off?"

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Maitland has also spoken to Savile's victims as well as the lawyers representing them. He says everyone understood what he was trying to achieve and reacted positively.

"I was really heartened actually. I was nervous about how they would feel about it but once you explain it is going to be a serious piece of reportage theatre. We're not making jokes here."

A recent report revealed that Savile was given free rein of Stoke Mandeville hospital where he sexually abused 60 people including seriously ill eight-year-olds. At the same time he was being lauded for his charitable efforts. He also thrived as a Radio 1 DJ and hosted popular shows Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops.

An Audience with Jimmy Savile will run at the Park theatre in North London from June 10-July 11. 

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