TV & Movies

The Real-Life Robbery Behind The Gold Is A Truly Shocking Tale

BBC has transformed the memorable crime into a gripping series.

by Bustle UK
Originally Published: 
Jack Lowden in BBC One's 'The Gold'
BBC/Tannadice Pictures/Sally Mais

The iconic true story of the Brink’s-Mat robbery and the decades-long chain of events that followed is the subject of BBC One’s gripping new true crime drama, The Gold. Inspired by extensive research and interviews with those closest to the real-life events, the forthcoming new series is described as an “extraordinary and epic story” that takes viewers on a “journey into a 1980s world awash with cheap money and loosened morals.” Find everything there is to know about The Gold, below.

The Gold Plot – True Story Behind The Series

The Gold is based on the true story of the Brink’s-Mat robbery, which occurred on Nov. 26, 1983, when six armed men broke into the Brink’s-Mat security depot close to Heathrow Airport. During what was intended to be a “typical Old Kent Road armed robbery” and aiming to steal foreign money, the men inadvertently came across gold bullion worth £26 million (around £100 million today). Due to the scale of the theft and its lasting legacy, the robbery at the centre is recognised as a seminal event in British criminal history. Warning, there may well be series spoilers ahead.

The men managed to get into the security depot courtesy of Anthony Black, a security guard who was part of the operation. To gain access to the vault, the six men tied up two security guards and threatened to kill them unless they opened the vault. Obviously, they couldn’t just sell the gold without the police noticing. So the group hired the help of Kenneth Noye, who melted the gold with copper coins to make them untraceable. The gold was then sold through jewellers, and the laundered cash was deposited in several banks across Bristol.

“The disposal of the bullion caused the birth of large-scale international money laundering, provided the dirty money that helped fuel the London Docklands property boom, united blue and white collar criminals, and left controversy and murder in its wake,” a BBC synopsis reads.

Dominic Cooper portrays Edwyn CooperDominic Cooper (Image: BBC/Tannadice Pictures/Sally Mais)

The first robber to be caught was Brian Robinson, the brother-in-law of the security guard. Black reported Robinson to the police and then shared his involvement in the crime. Robinson and Micky McAvoy were the only robbers to be arrested and convicted for the robbery. A third, Anthony White, was cleared of his charges but later arrested and jailed for being part of a drug-smuggling ring.

Noye was also jailed for laundering the money and arrested further for murdering an undercover detective. However, he was later cleared under self-defence. In 1992, four more people involved with the laundering were arrested.

The majority of the melted gold has never been found. However, BBC News reports, "anyone wearing gold jewellery bought in the UK after 1983 is probably wearing Brinks Mat.”

The Gold Cast

Penned by Neil Forsyth (Guilt) and co-directed by Academy Award-winner Aneil Karia (The Long Goodbye), the drama features an all-star cast led by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Jack Lowden (Slow Horses), Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia!), and Charlotte Spencer (Cinderella).

Black Mirror’s Tom Cullen, Old’s Emun Elliot, Mission: Impossible star Sean Harris, Midsommar’s Ellora Torchia, and Prime Suspect’s Stefanie Martini will also star in the forthcoming series.

Rounding out the cast, I Hate Suzi’s Daniel Ings is also on board, along with Four Weddings And A Funeral’s Sophia La Porta, The Outlaws’ James Nelson-Joyce, and Call The Midwife’s Dorothy Atkinson. They’re also joined by a whole host of other names: Adam Nagaitis (Chernobyl), Hadley Fraser (Gentleman Jack), Silas Carson (Doctor Who), Sean Gilder (His Dark Materials), Nichola Burley (Behind Her Eyes), Amanda Drew (Wednesday), Sam Spruell (Small Axe: Mangrove), Frankie Wilson (Call The Midwife, House of the Dragon), Paul Thornley (Silent Witness), Dan Li (Vigil), Chris Coghill (Slow Horses), Micah Balfour (The Trial of Christine Keeler), Ruth Bradley (Ted Lasso) and Peter Davison (Doctor Who).

Emun Elliott, Hugh Bonneville and Charlotte Spencer in The GoldEmun Elliott Hugh Bonneville and Charlotte Spencer (BBC/Tannadice Pictures/Sally Mais)
Hugh Bonneville is set to take centre stageHugh Bonneville (Image: BBC/Tannadice Pictures/Sally Mais)

Speaking ahead of the new series, BBC Commissioning Editor, Tommy Bulfin praised The Gold’s “talented and exciting” ensemble cast. “The BBC One audience are in for a real treat when this hits the screen,” Bulfin teased.

Meanwhile, the show’s Executive Producer, Ben Farrell, said he is excited to tell “the full, immersive, thrilling story of the Brink’s-Mat gold crime” for the first time.

BBC’s The Gold Trailer & Release Date

Filming took place in summer 2022, with crews spotted at Dorchester Prison. The new series will premiere in the UK on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday night (Feb. 13), airing weekly. It will then be made available globally on Paramount+.

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