COUNSELLING services for people who have suffered sexual abuse have issued a warning to survivors over a new BBC drama about Jimmy Savile.

The broadcaster caused anger last week in unveiling a forthcoming new series on the prominent television presenter and paedophile who hosted long-running shows on the BBC including Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It.

A report by Dame Janet Smith into Savile and the BBC published in 2016 found at least 72 people were sexually abused by Savile in connection with his work at the BBC, including eight victims who were raped. The youngest child raped was just ten.

Smith’s findings were highly critical of the corporation and found that it missed at least five opportunities to stop the abuse.

READ MORE: Jimmy Savile's Glencoe cottage set to be demolished after vote by locals

Andrew Chan of Delight Counselling, who works with sexual abuse survivors, told the Sunday National: “We understand that the recent news of the Jimmy Savile TV drama may be upsetting to victims of sexual trauma and abuse, and we urge those people to seek help during this time.”

He added: “Most survivors of sexual trauma and abuse can be triggered by sexual abuse stories shown by the media, and this new Jimmy Savile TV drama is no different. Portrayals of sexual violence in the media including TV shows and movies can prompt negative reactions for victims including anxiety, feelings of sadness or irritability and even flashbacks.”

Smith’s report also found a total of 117 witnesses said they had heard rumours about Savile but found a culture in the BBC of not making complaints about the behaviour of stars.

When Savile died in 2011 he was widely celebrated as a quirky eccentric, yet within weeks the BBC’s Newsnight programme had prepared an investigation into allegations he was a serial sexual abuser, only for it to be kept off air.

A year later, ITV went public with an investigation which revealed he covered up decades of abuse of children using his charity work, links to the police and connections in the media. Savile is to be played by Steve Coogan in the BBC drama series, The Reckoning.

Jeff Pope, the executive producer of The Reckoning, said last week: “The purpose of this drama 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 Coogan has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity.”

Savile owned a cottage in Glencoe in the Highlands from 1998 with the building laying vacant and becoming vandalised since his death a decade ago. Earlier this month locals backed an online consultation to demolish the cottage where it is believed Savile abused up to 20 people.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC Action Line provides information and support for issues covered in our programmes and will be given for any viewers who are affected by this drama.

“The drama will also transmit in a post-watershed slot with a warning prior to broadcast.”