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LONDON – Oscar winner Jim Broadbent has signed on to star in the second installment of screenwriter Chris Chibnall‘s two-part TV movie The Great Train Robbery for BBC One.
Broadbent will star as Tommy Butler, alongside Robert Glenister (Hustle), Tom Chambers (Waterloo Road), Tim Pigott-Smith (The Hour), Tom Beard (Hunted), James Wilby (Titanic) and James Fox (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
James Strong, who teamed with Chibnall on United and Broadchurch, will direct the second installment, A Copper’s Tale, made by World Productions for BBC One.
The so-called “great train robbery” is one of the U.K.’s most infamous heists, involving the fleecing of the Royal Mail train in 1963 by a team of thieves that made off with millions of dollars.
The script tells the story of Butler and the crack team of detectives he assembled in his relentless quest to bring the robbers to justice. The 90-minute film details how the team worked under the pressure of media scrutiny and carried out an investigation in the full glare of the nation.
Said Broadbent: “I have such strong memories of the massive impact of the actual robbery, and it is wonderful to find out from the script so much of the real story. Tommy Butler is a fascinating copper of the old school, and I anticipate great fun playing him.”
Added Chibnall, who also will executive produce: “I’ve enviously watched Jim’s work on other writers’ scripts for years, and I have to keep pinching myself that he’ll be bringing Tommy Butler to life in A Copper’s Tale. It’s a dream piece of casting, leading an ensemble of thoroughbred great British actors.”
A Copper’s Tale follows the first 90-minute feature of the pair, A Robber’s Tale, directed by Julian Jarrold (The Girl), which tells the story from the robbers’ point of view — their audacious crime netting them unheard-of wealth and the wrath of the establishment.
The first installment stars Luke Evans (Bruce Reynolds), Jack Roth (Charlie Wilson), Neil Maskell (Buster Edwards), Paul Anderson (Gordon Goody), Martin Compston (Roy James), Del Synnott (Brian Field) and Jack Gordon (Ronnie Biggs).
Said BBC head of independent drama Polly Hill: “These two films by Chris Chibnall brilliantly show the two sides of this story. Jim Broadbent is perfect casting for Tommy Butler, the copper who wouldn’t rest until all the great train robbers were caught. It’s a wonderful script about a fascinating man, and it will be exciting to see Jim play him. The two films and the stunning cast across them both promises to be a great drama for BBC One and a unique telling of the Great Train Robbery story.”
The first of the two 90-minute dramas started filming in March.
Executive producers are Simon Heath and Chibnall for World Productions and Hill for the BBC. Julia Stannard (United, The Awakening) is the producer. The drama was commissioned by BBC Drama chief Ben Stephenson, BBC Drama controller and BBC One controller Danny Cohen.
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