Critical Divide send all best wishes to the community of G.R.E.S Unidos do Porto da Pedra and its carnavaleso Mauro Quintaes. The Rio samba school parades fifth on Saturday, 18 February in Série Ouro with its samba “A Invenção da Amazônia”. The samba is based around a book by Jules Verne published as “La Jangada” in French in 1881 and “Eight Hundred Leagues of the Amazon” in English.
It was Porto da Pedra and Mauro who featured Ronnie Biggs in its carnival samba “Samba No Pé e Mãos ao Alto isto é um Assalto” (Samba On Your Feet and Hands Up. This is a Robbery) back in 1998. We spent an afternoon and evening with them in December 2022 as the school prepared for this year’s carnival. Mauro gave a great interview about Ron and 1998 for out documentary and then the school and community gave a magical, emotional and super charged performance of “Samba No Pé e Mãos ao Alto isto é um Assalto” over 20 years since it was first performed.
It would be great to see Porto da Pedra back in Grupo Especial in 2024, as they were in 1998. Boa sorte para Porto da Pedra.
Business Doc Europe’s coverage of our Ronald Biggs documentary “Ronnie Biggs’ Rio: No One is Innocent” that we are currently making with TvZero and Canal Brasil for broadcast in 2023, the 60th anniversary of the “Great Train Robbery”.
A new study by “True Crime Mania” has found that online searches on Netflix and IMDb for true crime documentaries, according to popularity and critical rating, have risen by 114% since May 2020. The study found that while staple mysteries like The Black Dahlia and Jack the Ripper remain among the most-searched cases, it’s the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann that has garnered the most worldwide interest to date. But some viewers are watching true crime docs with no preference for case, as it’s Netflix’s 2020 “Unsolved Mysteries” series that is the most-streamed show globally, with Season 1 Episode 3 House of Terror considered the best of the bunch. The series seeing a massive 696% increase in searches. The top 10 true crime shows based on search volume since May are according to True Crime Mania as follows:
- Unsolved Mysteries
- Making a Murderer
- Wild Wild Country
- Abducted in Plain Sight
- The Act of Killing
- Bowling for Columbine
- The Thin Blue Line
- The Keepers
- The Imposter
- The Devil Next Door
Critical Divide will be hoping to add to the list with a new documentary about the life of the Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs. “Ronnie Biggs’ Rio: No One is Innocent” is currently in pre-production.
A new “Great Train Robbery” exhibition opened 11 October at the Postal Museum in London and will run through until April 2020.
For more information CLICK HERE
At the exhibition you will be able to buy copies of Ronnie Biggs’ autobiography “Odd Man Out: The Last Straw” as well as the special 50th anniversary “Great Train Robbery” bookazine produced by Nick Reynolds and Chris Pickard, with a little help and input from Bruce Reynolds and Biggs. Both books benefitted from the publishing expertise of Critical Divide and Calm Productions. You can also find both books on Amazon.
To mark what would have been Ronnie Biggs’ 85th birthday on 8 August 2014, his first and only novel, Keep on Running, has been published on Kindle by Critical Divide and Mpress for the first time.
Keep on Running is a novel that draws on the true events surrounding the Great Train Robbery. It gives a dramatic account of what may have happened to the three men at the track who were never caught or charged. It covers their lives before, during and in the years immediately after the robbery in August 1963. It also features the shadowy character known to people on both sides of the law as the Ulsterman, and provides a dramatic solution to the puzzle as to whether or not there was a shipment of jewels on board the train and, if there was, why the owner never came forward.
The book is Ronnie Biggs’ only novel, although he was very active in writing both poetry and lyrics, most famously for the Sex Pistols and Die Toten Hosen. He had also been involved in writing the screenplay for the film Prisoner of Rio.
Ron was invited to write a novel by Bloomsbury, the original publisher of his autobiography Odd Man Out. The invite came after that book had become one of Bloomsbury’s top sellers in 1994, and in fact, of all time. The publisher asked for a follow‐up novel and suggested to Ron that he should base it around the Great Train Robbery, as that is what he was best known for and what his fans would want.
As was noted at the time: “With Keep on Running, Britain’s most lovable rogue has produced a gripping, imaginative and highly entertaining novel.”
The Kindle version of Keep on Running: A Story from the Great Train Robbery is available globally direct from your local Amazon or Kindle store.
Critical Divide and Chris Pickard are saddened by the death of Ronald Arthur Biggs on 18 December 2013. He was 84.
Ron and Chris first met in the early 1980s, when they were both resident in Rio de Janeiro. Chris wrote about music, film, travel and Brazil, and not about Ronnie Biggs. That all changed in 1993 when Chris agreed to help his by then good friend write his life story, Odd Man Out. And what a life it was. Odd Man Out was published in hardback by Bloomsbury and in paperback by Pan Macmillan.
As well as the autobiography they also wrote the novel Keep On Running, published by Bloomsbury in 1995, and Chris was also involved in helping bring Ron back from Brazil in 2001, and his subsequent release from prison.
Despite Ron being unable to speak, Chris, with the help of a spelling board, helped Ron on his release from prison in 2009 to update his autobiography. The new book, Odd Man Out: The Last Straw, was published by MPress Media in November 2011.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Great Train Robbery, Ron and Chris joined up with Bruce and Nick Reynolds in 2013 to write and publish The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary:1963-2013. This was the most complete, detailed and factual telling of what happened before, during and after the robbery.
Sadly Ron and Chris still believed they had one unfinished masterpiece in them, which will not now see the light of day. That book was The Ronnie Biggs C(r)ookery Book For the Single Man on the Run.
For the first time in 50 years the full and complete story of the Great Train Robbery is explained first hand by Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind of the crime, and by Ronnie Biggs, the most famous of the robbers, and the man who was the most privileged spectator to the entire robbery. The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary: 1963-2013 is the story from the people who know what happened, because they were there and they were involved. And from both sides of the law.
The book also looks at the secrets and lies that surround Britain’s most famous and culturally iconic robbery, including the planning and what has happened in the years that have passed since 8 August 1963. Readers will discover that the myths and legends of the Great Train Robbery range from the strange and disturbing, to the downright bizarre.
Readers will discover shocking new revelations about the crime, of foul play, and about those implicated in it. Facts that will make the reader question what they thought they knew about the robbery, and the people caught up in it.
The Great Train Robbery is the story that refuses to die, and one that fifty years on still fascinates and entertains a nation.
“There has never been anything quite so big, bold and crookedly brilliant as The Greatest Train Robbery” Daily Mirror
“History’s Greatest Robbery – There’ll always be an England” New York Herald Tribune
“Balaclava and the 40 Thieves” Daily Sketch
“Great Train Robbery, how’s that going?” John Lennon
Ronnie Biggs has asked his publisher, M Press, to lower the price of the digital version of his autobiography Odd Man Out: The Last Straw, which has been reduced on the Calm Productions web site from £14.99 to just £5.
The digital edition is available HERE.
Biggs was responding to the requests he has received from fans around the world who have not been able to get hold of hard copies of his best selling autobiography, or did not have access to Kindle. The digital edition should be able to be read on iPads, most tablets and computers.
The publisher expects rising demand from Australia where Mrs Biggs is currently being broadcast on Channel 7. In the UK fans were keen to find out what really happened to Ron and Charmian, rather than the fiction portrayed in the TV series that was full of factual errors, even the day and date of the robbery.
Biggs has also promised his fans a new updated Kindle and digital edition of his novel, Keep On Running, as well as a contribution for a new publication about the Great Train Robbery that will be published to tie in with the 50th anniversary of the robbery on 8 August.
The upcoming anniversary of the train robbery has already seen the publication of a number of titles looking to cash in on the robbery that are full of factual errors, erroneous conclusions and bad journalism.