BBC to dramatise the Great Train Robbery from perspectives of coppers and criminals


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The Independent Culture

A week after the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery Bruce Reynolds died aged 81 the BBC has announced it is to dramatise the notorious heist.

Hollywood star Luke Evans will play Reynolds in two 90-minute films timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the raid later this year.

It follows last year's ITV1 drama Mrs Biggs in which Sheridan Smith played Charmian, the wife of another infamous train robber Ronnie.

In the BBC drama Jack Gordon will play Ronnie Biggs.

The two films, A Robber's Tale and A Copper's Tale, will focus on the crime from the joint perspectives of the fugitive robbers and the detectives hunting them.

The Great Train Robbery took place on a Royal Mail train on 8 August 1963 at Bridego Railway Bridge.

The gang of 15 men was unofficially led by Reynolds, assisted by Gordon Goody, Charlie Wilson and Ronald "Buster" Edwards.

They made off with £2.6 million, a huge sum of money in those days, thought to be equivalent to £41 million today.

The first BBC1 drama shows an earlier robbery at Heathrow Airport in 1962 and the background to how the train heist was planned, rehearsed and executed, from the perspective of Reynolds.

The second, A Copper's Tale, tells the story of Tommy Butler and the team of detectives who sought to bring the gang to justice.

The writer and executive producer of A Robber's Tale, Chris Chibnall, said: "The Great Train Robbery has passed into modern folklore. How fantastic that such a magnificent bunch of talented young stars have come together for our first film, to tell how one gang planned - and almost got away with - the British crime of the century."

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama, said: "In the first of two films, Chris Chibnall's unique drama about morality sees the infamous crime from the view of Bruce Reynolds and his gang - this is a stellar cast who will bring this notorious story to life in a surprising and revelatory way."