Definitive account of the famous 1963 Great Train Robbery - and its aftermath.
In the early hours of Thursday 8th August 1963 at rural Cheddington in Buckinghamshire, GBP2.6 million (GBP50 million today) in unmarked GBP5, GBP1 and 10-shilling notes was stolen from the Glasgow to London nightmail train in a daring and brilliantly executed operation lasting just 46 minutes. Quickly dubbed the crime of the century, it has captured the imagination of the public and the world's media for 50 years, taking its place in British folklore and giving birth to the myths of The Great Train Robbery. Ronnie Biggs, Buster Edwards and Bruce Reynolds became household names.
But what really happened? This is the story of four talented villains who took the criminal world by storm, of the 'perfect crime'. It is also the story of ruthless policemen, determined to hunt the robbers down and to make sure nobody slipped through the net, not even the innocent. It is the story of an Establishment under siege, and of one mistake which cost the robbers 307 years in prison.
Fifty years later, here is the story set out in full for the first time, a true-life crime thriller, and also a vivid slice of British social history.
Nick Russell-Pavier is a BBC Radio 4 writer and producer who is independently producing a radio programme about the Great Train Robbery. Stewart Richards worked at the BBC TV drama department of programmes for Radio 4.