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Mrs Biggs [DVD]
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Mrs Biggs, the true story of the woman behind Britain's most famous villain, Great Train Robber Ronald Biggs. Thought-provoking, heart-warming and life affirming, this series of five episodes tracks Charmian Biggs' (Sheridan Smith) remarkable evolution from naïve young woman on a train, lured into the exciting world of charming rogue Ronald Biggs (Danny Mays), to her life as a fugitive mother fighting to keep her family together against all odds.
This is the inside story of one of the most infamous crimes of the twentieth century; but more than anything it is a sweeping love story told across three decades and from one side of the world to the other.
Starring: Sheridan Smith, Danny Mays, Adrian Scarborough, Jay Simpson, Caroline Goodall and Tim Draxl and written by Jeff Pope (Appropriate Adult)
Sheridan Smith's acting career has taken her from comedy through to theatre and the big screen. But has she ever delivered a performance quite as strong as the one at the heart of Mrs Biggs? Arguably not.
In Mrs Biggs, she plays the real-life title role of Charmian Biggs, the wife of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, and across five episodes, we see what built up to the infamous crime, and how life panned out afterwards. The perspective of Charmian is an insightful and unusual one, not least because the real Mrs Biggs consulted on the show, and worked with Sheridan Smith. It comes through strongly in Smith's authentic performance, too. Smith is as adept at drama as she has been at comedy, and the drama often works simply because she's so compelling at the heart of it.
She's supported well, with a cast that also feature Daniel Mays as Ronnie, and the effort put in to give the series a genuine period feel has been rewarded. It's an engrossing piece of work. That in itself is perhaps unsurprising, given that Mrs Biggs was penned by Jeff Pope, who also wrote the award-winning drama, Appropriate Adult.
Mrs Biggs is a thought-provoking, intelligent and provocative drama, clearly made with a real commitment to telling the story concerned. It comes richly recommended. --Jon Foster
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Stylish, well made production by December Films and ITV Studios. Director Paul Whittington. A first class portrayal of the lives of Charmian and Ronnie Biggs and their many troubles along the way. The film does of course include the big event which threw their lives into chaos – the Great Train Robbery of August 1963, with mastermind Bruce Reynolds (Jay Simpson) coming into the story. Charmian, according to the script, had a strict upbringing and her father made his case very clear when she began dating Ronnie Biggs, leading to her leaving home to go on the run with Ronnie Biggs long before his part in the train robbery and this aspect of her life is compellingly portrayed and with notable performances by Caroline Goodall (Muriel Powell, Charmian’s mother) and Adrian Scarborough (Bernard Powell, Charmian’s father). Life on the run for the couple and their children is filled with high tension and anxiety, they are forever looking behind them and wondering what the next problem will be; this tension is expertly acted by Mays and Smith and I have to say that the casting was a near perfect as it gets.
I watched all five episodes in one session, unable to break away from it.
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It is accurate in its portrayal of Biggs' involvement in the Great Train...Read more