The troubled relationship between Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs and his former wife is to form the basis of a new TV drama series.

The programmes follow their first meeting on a train when wife Charmian was just a teenager and how they went on the run together before settling with their family of three boys in Australia.

“It seemed to me this was an opportunity to convey the rollercoaster of emotions involved, rather than just the bare facts.”

Biggs was jailed for the 1963 robbery but escaped from Wandsworth Prison two years after the £2.6 million heist. He says: “If my story were to be dramatised I wanted it to be done as accurately as possible.

The five-part ITV drama will look at how Charmian continued her life after her husband fled to Brazil to avoid police, abandoning her and their children. It will also show how they were together ‘Down Under’ for four years, until he fled to Rio de Janeiro to evade police.

He went on to father a child with a Brazilian woman and Charmian eventually agreed to a divorce, which would allow him to remarry and avoid extradition.

Writer Jeff Pope, who has worked on the project for four years, said: “Charmian’s is one of the great untold stories of the 20th century, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest crimes of all times. But at the heart of it is a simple love story between Charmian and Ron.”