The Great Train Robbery - A Robber's Tale

Confirmed for BBC One on 18 December at 8.00pm to 9.30pm

Ep 1/2

Wednesday 18 December



Britain wakes up to news of the biggest robbery in the country’s history. A train has been hijacked and robbed, 35 miles from its arrival in central London. The country is stunned: who could be behind it? How did they pull off such an audacious raid?

This is the true story of the key protagonists, led by Bruce Reynolds, and their role in the crime of the century. Told from the perspective of the perpetrators, it details how a group of mid-level criminals teamed together with a corrupt solicitor to pull off an audacious heist that baffled and frustrated the police, and thrilled the general public.

Starting from November 1962 and going through to the night of 8 August 1963 and its immediate aftermath, A Robber’s Tale tells the story of how the robbery was inspired, planned, rehearsed and executed.

Beginning with a previous robbery at Heathrow Airport in November 1962, the film tells how Bruce Reynolds assembled and led the gang that targeted the August Bank Holiday 1963 mail train from Glasgow. It shows the characters involved, the inside information, the madness and humour of some of the preparations-gone-wrong, building to a tense blow-by-blow account of the night of the robbery itself.

It details what happened as the robbers retreated to a nearby farmhouse to divide up the money and lie low until it was safe to leave the area. It also explores the fall-out from the coshing of the driver, Jack Mills and why, within days of the robbery, the best laid plans had to be abandoned, the safe house evacuated and all those involved forced to go on the run - some for the rest of their lives.

This is a tale of brilliance and luck, foresight and accident, detailed planning and terrible mistakes. A tale of fabulous camaraderie, from an era when there was still honour among thieves: the story of a team who came together for one night - and would be bonded together for decades after. Packed with great characters and an extraordinary set of events, this is a unique depiction of the criminal underworld of 1963 London, living cheek by jowl with the police.

A Robber’s Tale is a classic heist movie filled with memorable set-pieces, wit, suspense, action, daring, and a joyous sense of period.

This is the story of how one group of criminals became the most wanted men in Britain. They got lucky. And that piece of luck would destroy their lives forever.

Bruce Reynolds is played by Luke Evans, Buster Edwards by Neil Maskell, Roy James by Martin Compston, Gordon Goody by Paul Anderson and Charlie Wilson by Jack Roth.