Jim Broadbent to star in new BBC drama, The Great Train Robbery, which tells both the police and the robbers’ side of story!

by Anna Howell

the great train robbery 1

Star of the new 2-part BBC drama, The Great Train Robbery, Jim Broadbent has expressed a desire to work with the shows writer, Chris Chibnall again – (on the new series of Broadchurch perhaps) whilst explaining about his new role.

Chibnall’s 8 part drama, Broadchurch which starred David Tennant as a detective investigating the shocking murder of a local, 11-year-old boy in a sleepy seaside town, took the nation, and world, by complete storm.

So much so that it was immediately picked up for a second series, as well as being commissioned to be remade, with Chibnall’s creative input, for US audiences.

So with that in mind the entire country is eagerly awaiting the release of Chibnall’s latest project, a two-part BBC drama based on the Great Train Robbery of 1963 which, as is depicted in the first instalment A Robbers Tale, is the story of a group of thieves who managed to steal the largest heist in history by holding up a Royal Mail carrier train.

Jim Broadbent appears in the second instalment, A Coppers Tale, which tells the story from the side of the investigation team that worked tirelessly to track the men responsible down. Broadbent plays Chief Superintendent Tommy Butler who led the investigation that eventually brought the gang, who stole £2.6million in total, to justice.

And it seems that Broadbent is rather taken by working with Chibnall as, when asked by The Sun newspaper if he would like to work with him again, the Oscar award-winning actor replied:

“Of course I would.”

jim broadbent

The Great Train Robbery tells the robbers story from the view point of the gang leader, Bruce Reynolds, unlike the recent ITV drama Mrs Biggs which focussed on Ronnie Biggs perspective, or the 1980’s film Buster which starred Phil Collins in the lead role of Buster Edwards.

Discussing his casting in the drama, which is due to be broadcast next month and which also stars Luke Evans, playing Bruce who died earlier this year, Broadbent told the paper how he had decided to accept the role after he happened to meet the getaway driver, Roy James, the summer after the robbery, explaining:
“I saw the great Roy James in his Brabham, winning his heat and winning the race. I hero-worshipped him on that day.”

That wasn’t his only encounter with one of the robbers though; Broadbent also met Charlie Wilson, with James, in the docks whilst he was researching for another role:

“I was playing a barrister and went to the Old Bailey. I think it was a bullion tax fraud.

“There were several of them and one was Roy James and one was Charlie Wilson. There was no one else watching that trial and I thought, ‘These are the Great Train Robbers! These are the stars! Where is the audience?’

“Obviously, my point of view has matured since I was 14! Now I’m very much on Tommy’s side.”

jim broadbent the great train robbery

Meanwhile Chibnall explained to the paper his decision to turn the story of The Great Train Robbery into two almost separate dramas:

“It was about examining morality on both sides and how this was a turning point for society — a generation of robbers aged 30 and the old-school coppers. After this, it all becomes more violent and the crime shifts.”

To which Broadbent added:

“I think as a career policeman, anyone presented with the crime of the century would take it on wholeheartedly.

“And when he became more aware of the personalities involved, he became more and more obsessed.

“He struck me as a very honourable, committed and noble man. He was dedicated to his profession.

“You’re always going to get charismatic policemen but in a way, he was the last of that ilk.

“I can’t think of anyone since who has really caught the public imagination in quite that way.

“He was a dogged, determined man and that stands to reason.”