Tuesday 17 January 2017

Comedian Alistair McGowan praised for 'revolting' performance as Jimmy Savile

Published 12/06/2015 | 08:53

Alistair McGowan has received praise from critics for his chilling and revolting performance of controversial children's tv presenter Jimmy Savile.

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McGowan admitted that he was somewhat nervous about his role as the late BBC Top of the Pops presenter.

An Audience with Jimmy Savile, Park Theatre
pls credit Helen Maybanks
NB the producers of An Audience with Jimmy Savile, in consultation with NAPAC and other survivors groups, have taken the decision not to release to the public any full length and front-on images of Alistair McGowan in costume as Jimmy Savile as it has the potential to cause unnecessary distress, particularly to those who survived Saviles abuse.
handout ...
An Audience with Jimmy Savile, Park Theatre pls credit Helen Maybanks NB the producers of An Audience with Jimmy Savile, in consultation with NAPAC and other survivors groups, have taken the decision not to release to the public any full length and front-on images of Alistair McGowan in costume as Jimmy Savile as it has the potential to cause unnecessary distress, particularly to those who survived Saviles abuse. handout ...

The comedy star, who is best known for his sketch show 'The Big Impression', appears as the shamed dj in the play 'An Audience With Jimmy Savile'.

The 50-year-old has received praise for his "uncanny" portrayal of the Leeds native from some of the industry's leading theatre critics.

An Audience with Jimmy Savile, Park Theatre
pls credit Helen Maybanks
NB the producers of An Audience with Jimmy Savile, in consultation with NAPAC and other survivors groups, have taken the decision not to release to the public any full length and front-on images of Alistair McGowan in costume as Jimmy Savile as it has the potential to cause unnecessary distress, particularly to those who survived Saviles abuse.
handout ...
An Audience with Jimmy Savile, Park Theatre pls credit Helen Maybanks NB the producers of An Audience with Jimmy Savile, in consultation with NAPAC and other survivors groups, have taken the decision not to release to the public any full length and front-on images of Alistair McGowan in costume as Jimmy Savile as it has the potential to cause unnecessary distress, particularly to those who survived Saviles abuse. handout ...

Some of Savile's victims have even given the production their thumbs up.

Several victims, including Karin Ward, were consulted by the playwright Jonathan Maitland in the run up to opening night,

Alistair McGowan's mum has voiced fears over her son playing Jimmy Savile
Alistair McGowan's mum has voiced fears over her son playing Jimmy Savile

"With the smell of cigar smoke, it was almost like stepping back 40 years," Karin Ward told Sky News. "It was uncanny. It was impeccable, absolutely fantastic. McGowan was so convincing."

Critic Quentin Letts of the Faily Mail maintained that Alastair McGowan "had become" Jimmy Savile for the production, with his white wig, training shoes, shell suit, medallion and cigar.

Disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile promotes the hospital where he terrified sick children for more than two decades.
Disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile promotes the hospital where he terrified sick children for more than two decades.

"Mr McGowan's voice gets so close to the real thing that anyone who was attacked by Savile might indeed be terrified that he had returned from the fires of Hell," Letts writes.

"This is a striking, memorable, urgent piece of work," he concludes.

Furthermore, while the Telegraph.co.uk's arts correspondent Ben Lawrence is critical of the production as a whole, he is complimentary of McGowan.

"McGowan is a genuinely threatening presence. McGowan’s Savile is a man who speaks umpteen words to the dozen, resisting the psychological probing of those who try to get close and threatening legal action to any who question his warped path," he offers.

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