Dickens Rail Crash

Series 2 - Episode 7 Dickens Rail Crash



Three ordinary people discover their family connection to the hidden past life of that most public of Victorian authors, Charles Dickens. Dickens’s great-great-great-grandson Ollie discovers during his investigation that the novelist was the celebrity of his day, with journalists camped outside his house.

Which is why in June 1865 when a train carrying Dickens and his secret mistress Nelly Ternan was involved in a fatal rail disaster, the author went to extraordinary lengths to wipe Nelly from the official accounts. Now Nelly’s relative Marcus Allen and the descendant of a rail worker at the time of the crash have a chance to set the record straight, in an intriguing real-life Victorian mystery.


Ollie Dickens, Charles Dickens' great-great-great grandson, discovers that his famous ancestor had a secret that was almost exposed by a fatal rail accident in Staplehurst, Kent, in June 1865. Travelling alongside the author was his mistress, actress Nelly Ternan, and had their affair become public, his reputation and book sales would have been severely damaged.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Chris Hollins