The Great Train Robbery

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A Robber's Tale

Series 1 - Episode 1 A Robber's Tale



There were no police officers or security guards on the Royal Mail train that Bruce Reynolds and his gang brought to a halt in the Buckinghamshire countryside on August 8, 1963 before fleeing with more than £2million. “It’s Her Majesty’s mail train,” says a character in Chris Chibnall’s poised and ambitious dramatisation, “nobody’d have the nerve.”

And yet they did, though Chibnall (he wrote this year’s biggest TV event Broadchurch) is careful not to portray Reynolds and his gang as buccaneers. Make no mistake, these men are thugs, in the opening scenes we see them during a 1962 robbery at Heathrow Airport, belabouring security guards with iron bars.

Luke Evans is extraordinary, even mesmerising, as Reynolds, the brains behind the operation, and he leads an excellent ensemble cast. The recreation of the robbery (filmed in Yorkshire) is enthralling, though the robbers’ use of violence and terror isn’t played down.

The Great Train Robbery – The Copper’s Tale, is tomorrow.


First of a two-part drama by Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall telling the story of the most infamous heist in British history, beginning with the planning and execution of the crime from the perspective of the perpetrators themselves. After a robbery at Heathrow Airport in 1962, Bruce Reynolds sets his sights on another target - the plan being to rob the overnight mail train from Glasgow to Euston. A team is assembled, schemes are laid out and rehearsals begin. But despite their meticulous planning, the operation is compromised by an attack on the train driver and a botched getaway. Before long, the gang have become the most wanted men in Britain. Luke Evans, Paul Anderson, Martin Compston, Jack Roth and Neil Maskell star.

Cast & Crew

Bruce Reynolds Luke Evans
Gordon Goody Paul Anderson
Roy James Martin Compston
Buster Edwards Neil Maskell
Charlie Wilson Jack Roth
Bert Turner Nigel Collins
Franny Reynolds Bethany Muir
DI Frank Williams Robert Glenister
Nick Reynolds George Ward
Brian Field Del Synnott
Roger Cordrey Nicholas Murchie
Tommy Wisby Jordan Long
Billy Still John Voce
Ronnie Biggs Jack Gordon
Alf Bill Thomas
Mr Wyatt Mark Stratton
John Daly James Bye
Jack Mills Eric Hulme
David Whitby Dean Smith
Nightclub singer Eliza Doolittle
The Ulsterman Stuart Graham
Gang member 1 John De Main
Gang member 2 Gareth Cassidy
Arresting officer Ross McCormack
Glasgow train driver James Lauren
Director Julian Jarrold
Producer Julia Stannard
Writer Chris Chibnall
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