The Gold: Is the TV Show Based on a Real Robbery Case?

‘The Gold’ is a British historical drama series that centers upon a team of six armed men who infiltrate the Brink’s-Mat security depot near Heathrow airport and steal gold bullion worth £26 million as well as diamonds and cash. To gain easy access to the depot, the robbers have a security guard working for them who also pours petrol on the staff and threatens to light them up if they do not cooperate and reveal the combination numbers of the vault.

After the gold heist, the authorities launched a number of investigations in an attempt to catch the robbers responsible for what was considered the biggest robbery in history. Created by Neil Forsyth, the crime show features compelling performances from talented cast members, including Hugh Bonneville, Dominic Cooper, Charlotte Spencer, Sean Harris, Jack Lowden, and Tom Cullen. The ever-so-prevalent and realistic themes of robbery and the investigations that follow are something that has happened numerous times in real life, which makes one wonder if ‘The Gold’ is inspired by real events or not.

The Gold: True Story Behind the Brink’s-Mat Heist

Yes, ‘The Gold’ is based on a true story. In fact, it is a dramatized version of the real-life Brink’s-Mat robbery that took place on November 26, 1983, in a Brink’s-Mat warehouse. Brink’s-Mat was a former corporate partnership between the London-based company MAT Transport and the US-based security company Brink’s. The infamous robbers broke into the warehouse and reportedly stole $33.2 million USD worth of gold bars, diamonds, and cash, which amounts to $133.6 million USD in today’s times.

In the show, the robbery is recreated accurately by holding extensive research on the actual event and interviewing some of the individuals directly involved with it. Besides that, the parts where the robbers are surprised to find all the gold bounty in the warehouse and where they pour gasoline on the security staff to blackmail them into opening the vaults also occurred during the actual heist. However, just like many other biographical productions, ‘The Gold’ also consists of a few portions that are added or changed for dramatic purposes.

For example, while the robbers are mostly directly based on real people such as John Palmer, Kenny Noye, and Gordon Parry, there are a few characters whose names have been changed or written as a composite of multiple real-life people. One such character is of Nicki Jennings, who is based on three women that were involved in the heist case. As for Hugh Bonneville’s character, DCI Brian Boyce, he was the actual police inspector who led the investigation of the real-life heist case.

Moreover, Edwyn Cooper, portrayed by Dominic Cooper, is another one of the characters that seem to have been based on an actual individual named Michael Relton. He was a solicitor who got convicted of helping the robbers launder the proceeds from the heist. Even the characters of Brian Boyce and Kenneth Noye are real-life figures who were involved in the case. In a February 2023 interview with Drama Quarterly, creator Neil Forsyth explained how he enjoyed researching and organizing the story for ‘The Gold.’ He said, “I quite enjoy it. I find it easier than writing straight fiction, to be honest, without the blank page.”

Forsyth added, “It sounds simplistic, but [my process is to ask] who are the most interesting characters here? What are the interesting things to happen? Is there a way to make it fit together using poetic license and making sure there’s not too much story? Because otherwise, the characters can be a bit thin. The story was quite clear to me from the start. There’s a very clear definition of the criminals, the police, and those in between, who are the most interesting. It was about finding how to put that together across the series.” In conclusion, even though a few aspects of the real-life case were modified for dramatic purposes, the core of ‘The Gold’ and its characters are rooted deeply in reality!

Read More: Where is The Gold Filmed?