Entertainment & Arts

Great Train Robbery spawns twin BBC dramas

Great Train Robber Bruce Reynolds and Luke Evans, the actor who plays him
Image caption Evans (r), who plays Reynolds (l), has been seen in such films as Clash of the Titans and Immortals

The BBC has announced details of two dramas that will dramatise the Great Train Robbery from the perspective of its perpetrators and their pursuers.

The first, A Robber's Tale, stars Welsh actor Luke Evans as Bruce Reynolds, the key planner of the 1963 heist, who died last month at the age of 81.

The second, A Copper's Tale, will focus on the team of detectives assembled to bring the robbers to justice.

Julian Jarrold and James Strong will direct the two 90-minute programmes.

Neil Maskell, from the recent British thriller Kill List and Channel 4 drama Utopia, will play Ronald 'Buster' Edwards, the robber previously played by Phil Collins in 1988 film Buster.

Scottish actor Martin Compston will appear as getaway driver Roy James, while Ronnie Biggs will be portrayed by Jack Gordon.

The casting for the second drama is yet to be announced.

The two-parter follows Mrs Biggs, an ITV series that viewed the robbery and its aftermath from the perspective of Ronnie's now ex-wife Charmian.

Image caption Train driver Jack Mills was struck during the heist and never worked again

Earlier this month, Sheridan Smith was nominated for a best actress prize by the Royal Television Society for playing the title role.

Chris Chibnall, writer and executive producer of the BBC's Great Train Robbery films, said the events of August 1963 had "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."

Filming begins this month on the World Productions films, which will be screened on BBC One later this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the raid.

The gang targeted a mail train from Glasgow as it came through Buckinghamshire and escaped with a then-record haul of £2.6m - equivalent to around £40m today.

A Robber's Tale will begin with Reynolds' earlier planning and execution of a robbery at Heathrow Airport the preceding year.

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