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The Great Train Robbery: the Copper’s Tale

Thu Dec 19, 8-9.30pm, BBC1

The Great Train Robbery: the Copper’s Tale
By Gabriel Tate |
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Episode two
Four days later: Bruce Reynolds (Luke Evans) and his gang have apparently vanished, with the plods looking leaden-footed and the media in uproar. Enter DCS Tommy Butler (Jim Broadbent), brilliant and determined, but also secretive and industrious to a fault. With crooks across the UK keeping their heads down and out of trouble, leads are scarce and the determinedly unclubbable Butler is soon taking his frustrations out on his team.

As with last night’s ‘Robber’s Tale’, prior knowledge of the end result doesn’t detract one jot from the excellence of this drama. The tone, driven by another cleverly deployed soundtrack, becomes increasingly urgent and the performances – especially from Broadbent but also from the likes of Robert Glenister and Nick Moran, on the side of the angels for once – grip ever tighter as the coppers’ desperation mounts.

Montages are used to excess and the last ten minutes feel a little flat as the last dominoes fall. But that probably won’t stop this bold enterprise from stealing a few Baftas next year.

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