Hatton Garden is no Cockernee caper, but it is a criminally good true story

Timothy Spall and Kenneth Cranham were grizzled old lags in Hatton Garden
Timothy Spall and Kenneth Cranham were grizzled old lags in Hatton Garden
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There’s something about a daring heist that makes for great entertainment. Ocean’s 11, The Italian Job – the first one, not the rubbish Marky Mark effort – Robin Hood, they all play into our glee at seeing the plucky underdog rob the undeserving rich and stick it to the man.

There was no man sticking, or undeserving rich, for that matter, in Hatton Garden (ITV, Mon-Thurs, 9pm) this week.

Hatton Garden recounted the story behind the real-life robbery of dozens of safety deposit boxes from a London strongroom over the Easter weekend in 2015.

This was no caper movie, There were no tuxedos or grasping marks in sight. It was no Danny Dyer ‘get art my manor’, Cockernee gangster knees-up either.

Where you might have expected a light-hearted tale of old giffers beating the system, of bumbling policemen and miraculously close shaves, all soundtracked by that tinkly Dave Brubeck jazz bar piano, Hatton Garden gave you grizzled old lags Timothy Spall and Kenneth Cranham engaging in furious, spittle-flecked rows, and the police using hi-tech surveillance which seemed to catch the old fellas unawares.

And by introducing one of the victims of the theft – a hard-working, hard-up jeweller, whose life savings are in the deposit box –writers Jeff Pope and Terry Winsor emphasise there is no such thing as a victimless crime.

This was meticulous drama, where even if you had followed the story, still threw up little nuggets you didn’t know – like them hiding the loot in wheelie bins and leaving them outside a house for 24 hours.

By the end, as the real-life mugshots of the gang flashed up, you were just glad they weren’t watching the fountains in Vegas, instead they were locked up. After all, crime doesn’t pay.

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Stupid, silly, inane, puerile. Yes, Taskmaster (Dave, Wednesdays, 9pm) is all these things, but crucially, it is also the funniest thing on TV at the moment. And Iain Stirling is way too competitive.