The epic 1983 Brink’s-Mat heist, the biggest in British history, has been brilliantly transformed into a thrilling BBC series. Get ready to relish the nostalgia of remarkable vintage sets while you’re entertained!
The British criminal underworld, a realm drenched in myth and notoriety, comes to life in Neil Forsyth’s six-part series, “The Gold.” This captivating BBC One production delves into the audacious Brink’s-Mat heist of 1983, where six balaclava-clad men intended to snatch £1 million in cash but walked away with a staggering £26 million worth of gold bullion, equivalent to £90 million today.
As the criminals scatter and embark on the daunting task of laundering their loot, DCI Brian Boyce (played by Hugh Bonneville) and his team navigate unfamiliar terrain in their pursuit. In this review, we explore the series’s strengths, from its intricate storytelling to its exceptional ensemble cast.
The Criminal Odyssey
“The Gold” masterfully navigates the labyrinthine world of criminals and heists. The narrative unfolds as the thieves disperse, seeking refuge and devising elaborate plans to clean their spoils.
The police, led by DCI Boyce, are in pursuit, but it’s clear that in this shadowy world, money reigns supreme, transcending control by mere mortals. The series excels in crafting an engrossing tale of cat and mouse, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.
The cast of “The Gold” brings depth and charisma to their roles. Jack Lowden’s portrayal of career criminal Kenneth Noye is brimming with steely insouciance. Dorothy Atkinson, as cash mule Jeanie, offers a delightful twist on the suburban snob archetype.
Charlotte Spencer, in her role as detective Jennings, captivates the audience, even though her character’s battle against 80s workplace sexism feels underexplored.
John “Goldfinger” Palmer: A Charismatic Antagonist
Tom Cullen’s rendition of the dodgy jeweler John “Goldfinger” Palmer is a standout performance. His lush West Country accent and self-deprecating charm make it difficult to believe he’s guilty, despite the incriminating evidence.
A potential spin-off centered around Jennings investigating Palmer’s continuing crimes would be a compelling addition to this criminal universe.
Repetitive Speeches and Social Commentary
While “The Gold” excels in many areas, it occasionally falters with repetitive and excessive speeches, with each main character delivering about three speeches per episode. The commentary on the oppressive English class system, while valid, loses its impact through repetition.
DCI Boyce’s character, in particular, suffers from this, portraying him as a relic from a bygone era rather than a real person, despite his real-life career combating police corruption.
Unexplored Grit and Violence
The real Brink’s-Mat saga is laden with bloodshed and bullets, said to carry its own curse with numerous associated deaths. Surprisingly, the series avoids depicting these elements, even glossing over the pivotal 1985 killing of DC John Fordham.
While it’s understandable that the series aims for entertainment over gritty realism, this decision may disappoint those seeking a more visceral experience.
A Satisfying Finale
“The Gold” finds redemption in its final episode, skillfully tying up loose narrative ends while acknowledging that the full story remains elusive. As Kenneth Noye astutely notes, “You only hear about the people who get caught.”
This acknowledgement of the enduring mysteries and legends surrounding the Brink’s-Mat heist adds a layer of intrigue and depth to the series.
In the realm of crime dramas, “The Gold” shines as a captivating and entertaining series. While it occasionally stumbles with repetitive social commentary and a reluctance to fully embrace the grit of its source material, it ultimately offers an engrossing narrative with a talented ensemble cast.
This tale of a daring heist and its aftermath is sure to keep viewers hooked until the very end, leaving them pondering the enigmatic world of the British criminal underworld.