Many of The Golds characters are real-life figures
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BBC drama The Gold has been keeping viewers gripped with the series retelling the 1983 Brink’s-Mat robbery, the world’s biggest heist saw three tonnes of gold bullion stolen and most of it was never recovered. The show has a disclaimer at the start of each episode stating some “characters and elements” have been “created or changed” for dramatic purposes. Gold’s writer Forsyth carried out meticulous research when it came to putting together the drama.
Who are the real figures in The Gold?
The majority of the characters in The Gold are real but lawyer Edwyn Cooper (played by Dominic Cooper) and policewoman Nikki Jennings (Charlotte Spencer) are fictitious figures.
Both of them are composite characters based on several real-life people.
Other fictional figures include Edwyn’s wife Isabelle Cooper (Ruth Bradley) and his girlfriend Sienna Rose (Ellora Torchia).
Forsyth said about melding fact and fiction, he said: “With all our characters, it was about doing as much research as we could, speaking to those who had interactions with them and trying to be accurate with our portrayal within the boundaries of a dramatisation.”
He went on to say about his research: “I spoke to a large number of people who were involved in the story in different ways.
“By and large, they were very open and happy to talk about their experiences.
“By far, the most important person that we tracked down and spoke to was Brian Boyce.
“It was very helpful getting his insight into the police investigation and it made a big difference with us feeling we were getting the story right.”
On a second series of The Gold, Forsyth said there was “more story to tell” in the Brink’s-Mat robbery but would have to wait and see if a renewal from the BBC was on the cards.
Forsyth said there was a lot from the real-life robbery he wanted to include but couldn’t due to the time constraints.
But he and The Gold’s researcher Thomas Turner have written a book about the Brink’s-Mat robbery which shares a lot of what they discovered in the course of making the TV show but didn’t make the final cut.
Among the real-life figures in The Gold are Brian Boyce (Hugh Bonneville), Kenneth Noye (Jack Lowden), John Palmer (Tom Cullen), Marnie Palmer (Stefanie Martini), Tony Brightwell (Emun Elliott), Micky McAvoy (Adam Nagaitis), Jackie McAvoy (Lily Knight), Gordon Parry (Sean Harris), Jeannie Savage (Dorothy Atkinson), Brian Robinson (Frankie Wilson), Brian Reader (James Nelson-Joyce) and John Fordham (Hadley Fraser).
Boyce is a retired officer, who is now in his eighties and who spoke to both Forsyth and actor Bonneville, who played him in The Gold.
Noye is out of prison now and is apparently working on a book after previously being wary of journalists and the media.
Palmer was killed in his back garden in 2015 in an assassination-style death which remains unsolved.
Marnie had two children with John and wrote about her marriage in her book Goldfinger and Me: Bullets, Bullion and Betrayal: John Palmer’s True Story published in 2018.
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Brightwell remained with the police for a while after Brink’s-Mat but is thought to have moved into the private sector and worked for security firms.
McAvoy moved to Spain after serving his sentence for Brink’s-Mat and died in January this year.
Parry served time for Brink’s-Mat and is now said to be living in his nine-bedroom mock-Tudor mansion in Kent with his wife Irene.
As depicted in The Gold, Fordham was stabbed to death by Noye on the criminal’s grounds during a surveillance operation.
The Gold airs on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm and is streaming as a boxset on the BBC iPlayer
The Gold: The real story behind Brink’s-Mat by Neil Forsyth and Thomas Turner is out now (Ebury Spotlight).
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