In answer to the many questions asking how accurate the ITV “factual drama” series Mrs Biggs is to the real life story of Ron and Charmian Biggs, the honest answer is not very. It is very much “drama” and precious little “fact”.
If you take episode two of Mrs Biggs, it is true that there was a train robbery, that Ron was arrested, and that he stood trial and was sentenced to thirty years in prison. But that is about it. What was portrayed on screen is not close to what happened in real life.
For example Ron was visited twice by the police in his house in Alpine Road prior to his arrest. The first time the police wanted to ask about when Ron had last seen Bruce Reynolds. The second time the police came to search the house. Ron was not arrested in the house, but driven to Scotland Yard for questioning. He was then taken to Aylesbury where he was formally charged.
The policeman in charge when Ron was picked up at his house was Detective Inspector Frank Williams and not Jack Slipper. Slipper was there, but was just a young detective who never spoke to Ron..
Ron also got a retrial at the original trial after a policemen giving evidence let slip in front of the jury that Ron had been in prison with Bruce Reynolds. When Ron came to give his evidence none of the other members of the Great Train Robbery gang were in court, which was a different courthouse to the original trial. Charmian also never gave any evidence in court during the trial. There was also an appeal hearing at the Old Bailey, three months after the first trial.
Most of the real facts of what really happened can be found on this web site or in Ron’s autobiography, Odd Man Out: The Last Straw.
Driven by the interest generated by ITV’s “factual drama” series Mrs Biggs, Ron’s web site, www.ronniebiggs.com, crashed over the weekend of 15-16 September.
Ron was delighted that people – fans or not – were taking the time to check out the actual facts of his life rather than the distorted depiction of the TV series that appeared to have scant regard for what actually happened in Ron and Charmian’s life.
People were also turning to Ron’s autobiography, Odd Man Out: The Last Straw, with an noticeable increase in sales of the book and the Kindle edition.
Despite Ronnie Biggs’ offer to ITV to check the facts of its new drama series Mrs Biggs, a programme that features Ron as a major character, the broadcaster declined, apparently confident that it would know the correct details of Ron’s life better than the man himself.
But not even Ron could have imagined that in the first episode of Mrs Biggs they would manage to get the date and time of the Great Train Robbery wrong.
Quite a few fans of Ron and the Great Train Robbery spotted the error. All a question of attention to detail and knowing the facts.
For the moment we are going to see if the producers can work out how they got it wrong, or perhaps being a drama the facts are surplus to requirements.
If you want to read the true and full story of Mr and Mrs Biggs for just £4.11, you can on Kindle through Amazon. The true story of Mrs Biggs is part of Ronnie Biggs’ autobiography, Odd Man Out: The Last Straw.
The autobiography is also available as a hardback book at the special price of £15.00, down from the RRP of £19.99. For collectors there are also limited leather bound editions and box sets ranging from £210 to £500.
Ronnie would like to clarify that he will let the world know of his thoughts on the “Mrs Biggs” drama series in his own good time. He is still waiting for ITV to answer a number of his questions and concerns that he has about the programme. The answers given so far have been inadequate and contradictory, and Ron has raised his concerns with both the chairman and the CEO of ITV.
Ron has had no participation or part to play in the series. He has also not given the series his “thumbs up”, nor has he made any comments about the series, despite the media apparently being fed quotes from him. If the media are given quotes from Ron and would like to check their authenticity please feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ron has also been concerned by some of the rubbish and factual errors that have been appearing about him and his life in some of the features in the media linked to the promotion of the up coming TV series.
If you want the true and factual account of Ron’s life and his time with Charmian (“Mrs Biggs”), the only place you are going to find it is in Ron’s autobiography Odd Man Out: The Last Straw. Worryingly ITV has said it felt no need to either reference Ron’s autobiography or check the facts about Ron’s life with Ron himself.
Ron will be giving his true and factual account of “Mrs Biggs” and his thoughts on the series very soon.