Oscar and BAFTA award-winner Jim Broadbent (Exile, Cloud Atlas, Iris, The Iron Lady, Moulin Rouge) will star as Tommy Butler in film two of Chris Chibnall’s (United, Broadchurch) The Great Train Robbery for BBC One.
Other cast include 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).
‘A Copper’s Tale’, made by World Productions for BBC One, will be directed by James Strong (United, Broadchurch) and tells the story of Tommy 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 faced up to the pressure of media focus and carried out an operation of plain, old-fashioned coppering in the full glare of the nation. In a race against time, they try and identify every criminal involved with the Great Train Robbery and put them behind bars before they flee the country.
Jim Broadbent says: “I’m thrilled to be part the Great Train Robbery film. 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.”
Chris Chibnall, Writer and Executive Producer, says: “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.”
Simon Heath, Executive Producer, World Productions, says: “The Great Train Robbery is an iconic piece of British history, but the story behind the capture of the robbers by Tommy Butler and his team, as brilliantly told by Chris Chibnall in this second film, is less well-known, but just as thrilling.”
Polly Hill, BBC Head of Independent Drama, says: “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.”
Film two will follow ‘A Robber’s Tale’, directed by Julian Jarrold (The Girl, Appropriate Adult), which tells the story of the gang whose audacious crime secured unheard of wealth and the wrath of the establishment. It 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).
The Great Train Robbery is a 2×90-minute drama written by Chris Chibnall and started filming in March. Executive producers are Simon Heath and Chris Chibnall for World Productions and Polly Hill for the BBC. Julia Stannard (United, The Awakening, Public Enemies) is the producer.
The drama was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama, and Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One.