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BBC Crime Drama The Gold – Interview With Jack Lowden

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BBC Crime Drama The Gold - Interview With Jack Lowden

Tough new true crime drama The Gold, about the infamous early 1980’s Brink’s-Mat Gold Bullion robbery, premieres Sunday 12 February on BBC One. Here Jack Lowden, who plays Kenneth Noye, here tells us about playing Noye and why one of his favourite parts was the costumes.

Tell me about Kenneth Noye

Kenneth Noye was officially described as a builder from Kent but it quickly became evident that he was not just a builder. He was many different things, namely a ‘fence’ to stolen goods.

Explain how they set about cleaning the gold?

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Kenneth is brought to the gold in a lock-up with Micky McAvoy, and he’s shown the gold bars. He then takes one of the gold bars to John Palmer, who is a gold expert, to talk about how they’re gonna break it down. And essentially John Palmer smelted it down, but it was too pure, too traceable. That amount of gold can’t suddenly appear on the market, or on the black market, it would have been too suspicious. So, they washed it, essentially by throwing in copper coins, jewellery – anything really – before selling it or depositing it in far flung banks.

Did you do your own research?

I think it’s very important, when playing real people, to stick to the script as much as possible. Neil (Forsyth)’s writing is so good that there wasn’t much that I needed to look at and I preferred it that way. The character that Neil had written, like all the characters, was so fully formed and offered so many opportunities for playing around that I didn’t wanna get too bogged down in anything else.

What did you find fascinating about this story?

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For me, what’s most fascinating about this story is the amount of people that are involved in it. It wasn’t one gang, one clever, criminal genius or anything like that. It’s a huge group of people that probably didn’t even know they were all connected by this huge web of people who all came from very different backgrounds and very different skill sets. You get the sense that if one of them fell, the whole thing would. But also, just the fact that it happened, and they sort of got away with it, in essence. Most of the gold’s still not been found.

What drew you to Neil Forsyth’s script?

I’ve been a massive fan of Neil Forsyth’s since he made Guilt up in Edinburgh, which is basically where I’m from. I was so excited that something as good as that was made there. With The Gold, I think it’s important that this piece is filtered through a hell of a lot of humour, because it is an unbelievable set of events. Certain points of the story should be very serious of course, and are dealt with enough pathos to make you stop and think about the price being paid for this extreme greed. But, it’s very important also to laugh at it as well… it’s a brilliant way of dealing with some fairly evil people. He’s just done a brilliant job.

What do you think audiences will enjoy about The Gold?

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1980s London will be forever intoxicating and attractive. It’s never not fun to dip back into that and the ridiculousness of the time. But also, I think it’s important that people get to see that some of the Docklands came from dodgy money. And the real horrible underbelly that that period had, a real ugliness that came with all the flamboyance. I think it’s very important to be reminded of that because there were some pretty horrible things done.

Did you enjoy working in the 1980s sets?

What I found surprising, from a location point of view, was how many locations we shot in that don’t need particular dressing. I think that just reminds you that even though it’s about 40 years ago, it’s still quite recent and a lot of these places still exist. But everything seemed a lot more analogue, a lot more grey. Also, it’s always confusing to somebody that was born when I was born, to see the places the people used to smoke! I also got to drive around in a genuine gold Rolls Royce on my first day of filming. The owner was stood on the corner looking terrified! It was so stately, and comfy. I couldn’t believe the clobber and the gear that those guys were surrounded with.

What did you most enjoy in this role?

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To be honest, the main things were the clothes. It’s the 80s, so everything’s just that little bit more brash, and a little bit more self-assured. Some of my costumes were fantastic. That was genuinely what I looked forward to each day – what am I wearing today? It was never a disappointment.

What was it like on set for The Gold?

The actors that I met on this job are just lovely human beings. Whilst there are some horrible things that happen in this story, particularly Kenneth’s story, it’s important to remember that and give it as much reverence as we can, there’s still a great sense of humour on set and both of the directors (Aneil Karia and Lawrence Gough) are two of the best directors of actors, they both have a very similar attitude towards actors that’s enormously helpful for something like this.

The Gold Premieres Sunday 12 February 2023 at 9.00pm on BBC One.

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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