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Luke Evans to lead cast of one of two BBC Great Train Robbery dramas

Luke Evans

Story by Jack Foley

LUKE Evans is to head the cast of one of two new BBC dramas based around The Great Train Robbery.

A Robber’s Tale will see the Welsh actor, best known for roles in Tamara Drewe (pictured) and the upcoming Fast & Furious 6, as Bruce Reynolds, the key planner of the 1963 heist, who died last month at the age of 81.

The film will be told from the perspective of the train robbers, beginning with Reynolds’ earlier planning and execution of a robbery at Heathrow Airport the preceding year.

Neil Maskell, of recent British hits Kill List and Channel 4 drama Utopia, will play Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards, the robber previously played by Phil Collins in 1988 film Buster, and Scottish actor Martin Compston will appear as getaway driver Roy James. Ronnie Biggs will be portrayed by Jack Gordon.

Julian Jarrold will direct with filming due to begin this month (March) on the World Productions films. The programme should be ready to be screened on BBC1 later this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the raid.

The second film, which has yet to be cast, will be directed by James Strong and is called A Copper’s Tale. It will focus on the team of detectives assembled to bring the robbers to justice.

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.”

The robbery in question saw the gang target a mail train from Glasgow as it came through Buckinghamshire. They were able to escape with a then-record haul of £2.6m – equivalent to around £40m today.

Although no one was killed, train driver Jack Mills was struck with an iron bar during the heist and never worked again.

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