TV Preview: Mrs Biggs cashes in on Great Train Robbery

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As someone who grew up in the village of Cheddington, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tried to explain its location by saying “near where the Great Train Robbery happened”.

Despite the fact the crime took place nearly 50 years ago, the details of the robbery and lives of the culprits have remained firmly fixed in the national spotlight.

One of the most famous members of the gang that robbed the train is Ronnie Biggs, who later escaped from Wandsworth Prison and then managed to evade capture by living in Australia and Brazil.

His former wife, Charmian Brent, someone who has not been shy of cashing in on her ex-husband’s notoriety, has now agreed to act as a consultant on the five-part drama Mrs Biggs (ITV1, Wed, 9pm) for an “undisclosed fee”.

Despite the slight feeling of queasiness provoked by seeing Charmian again profit from her ex-husband’s criminality, the series tells the remarkable story of a headmaster’s daughter who, at the time of the robbery, thought Biggs had gone to Wiltshire to do a logging job.

Further cause for optimism can be found in the choice of talented duo Sheridan Smith and Daniel Mays to play the lead roles.

For those who are fans of long-running soap operas, Channel Five will be showing a new episode of Dallas on Wednesday (9pm).

Two decades after the last series finished, JR, Sue Ellen and Bobby Ewing are back alongside a new generation of cast members in the Texan family drama.

TV revivals rarely manage to repeat the show’s original success but Channel Five will be happy to attract just a quarter of the 20 million viewers who tuned in to find out who shot JR in 1980.

Another show that is attempting to take viewers back in time is Wartime Farm (BBC2, Thurs, 8pm) which tells the story of life on a farm during the Second World War.

Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn will explain how farmers managed to ‘dig for victory’ and double food production to cater for the loss of ship supplies which had been sunk by German U-boats.

Finally, for entertaining time-travelling there is, of course, no better programme than Doctor Who (Sat, BBC1, 7.20pm), starring Northampton’s own Matt Smith. It’s an example of a show that has been successfully revived. Writers of Dallas should take note.