ITV’s Mrs Biggs Review

Runaway train never going back….

On August 8th, 1963, £2.6 million was stolen from a Royal Mail train, a crime that became known as the ‘Great Train Robbery.’ This five-part ITV1 drama Mrs Biggs is based on those events and follows the life of Charmian Biggs, the long-suffering wife of the infamous criminal Ronnie Biggs who was part of the robbery gang.

Most people know the story of Ronnie and his involvement in the so call crime of the century, he was arrested, he escaped, went on the run to Australia and Brazil, abandoning Charmian. Nowadays he is a gravely ill man stationary in a London hospital bed. But what about the woman behind the villain and what she endured to love him? From a middle-class family Charmian was smitten and escaped her domineering father’s (Adrian Scarborough) clutches to be with Ronnie, seeing him as exciting forbidden fruit.  Of course with youth comes the naivety and Charmian soon blossoms from an innocent girl to a Mother and reluctant gangster’s moll.

With Daniel Mays’s performance as Ronnie, you can clearly see why Charmian fell so hard for this man, he plays Ronnie with a swift charm and the chemistry between him and Sheridan Smith as Charmian is dynamic and sizzling. Once again she displays her awesome acting talent, is there anything this young actress can’t do? Everything she attempts seems so effortless.

Ultimately this is a love story, written by Jeff Pope (Appropriate Adult) and directed by Paul Whittington (Spooks), the setting for Mrs Biggs is very well researched; the detail of the set and the clothing, beehives and all make the whole drama come alive. In Mrs. Biggs ‘s opening scene we see the Royal Mail train speeding towards London, the scene is set in seconds; soon it is apparent what is taking place. Even though it is shot in colour there is a grainy 1960s black and white style to the piece.

This is a beautifully crafted drama it’s compelling and historically entertaining. Not at any point do they glamorize the actions of Ronnie Biggs, but give you a real account of the people behind the scenes who were given a life sentence due to the actions of others.

The second part of Mrs. Biggs will be shown on ITV on Wednesday, 12th September at 9.00pm