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The Great Train Robbery – A Robber’s Tale

The Great Train Robbery which has passed into lore was flawed and botched. Billy Hill, the leading figure in the post war underworld associated with the more successful Eastcastle St post office raid in which  no one was ever charged, would not touch it. He considered there were too many on the job and they were too young. This did not come through in this dramatisation in which Bruce Reynolds emerged as some sort of operational genius.

It was a strange format too, with a narrator giving it a documentary feel. It epitomised the current trend of British drama to portray people and events: The Damned United, The Queen , The Iron Lady. The weakness is that the dividing line between fact and fiction is unclear and frequently crossed.

Luke Evans was passable as Reynolds, the feel of the early sixties was created with attention to detail and there was a certain tension as the robbery was planned and then executed. You then saw the post-robbery tensions at Leatherslade farm. For all that it might have made a better documentary. At an hour and a half I could sense my attention wavering and although I will watch the second, and apparently better part, it will not be with an abundance of enthusiasm.

It’s disappointing that our television companies cannot produce Borgen, the Danish political drama. Almost in every respect it was better that anything I have seen on the terrestrial and satellite channels: the acting is first rate, the political infighting played out in the glare of the media, the personal crisis made each episode gripping. Silse Knudsen, who plays Birgitte Nyboorg, is so excellent and credible – it is said Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister of the Scottish Nationalists, models herself on her. In Borgen she has  an English partner, the smooth Jeremy Welsh, an architect and their scenes are spoken in English. Her command of it incidates to me that she can step up further and become an actress of international renown.


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About Bernadette Angell

After cutting her journalistic teeth in Boston USA, Bernadette met and married an Englishman, whom she followed back to London. Two decades and three children later, they divorced. She now occupies herself as a freelance writer (credits include television soaps and radio plays) and occasional amateur gardener. More Posts