Nine questions we need answers to after watching The Gold

Adams was investigated as part of the 1987 corruption probe, Operation Russell (which saw another investigated officer commit suicide) and was later named in reports on the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation. Lawrence’s family suspected that Adams had links to gang member Clifford Norris, the father of one of the suspected – and eventually convicted – killers.

Retiring in 1993, Adams took a job as security chief at Rupert Murdoch-owned tech firm, NDS. Adams was named among accusations that NDS had hacked codes and helped pirates gain access to Murdoch’s pay-TV competitors.  

But in 1990 the Director of Public Prosecutions announced that there was no evidence to support any charge against him regarding corruption allegations, and he did not face any subsequent disciplinary action.

Just last year, allegations against Adams were detailed on Dispatches. A representative stated that Adams was exonerated in all investigations.  

Why did criminals move to Kent?

As depicted in The Gold, it’s true that villains from south east London moved out to Kent. Not because of Brink’s-Mat, but for its handy location ­– a place where the villains could spend their ill-gotten gains on a country pile (as seen when robber Mickey McAvoy buys his wife Jacqueline and mistress Kathleen a cushty Kent farm each) while having easy access to their south east London stomping grounds.

“They could get back into Rotherhithe and Old Kent Road quickly and they were familiar with it,” says Ramm. “It wasn’t far from home. In the same way that east end criminals moved out into deepest, darkest Essex.”

According to Wensley Clarkson’s book, The Curse of Brink’s-Mat, the fact that Kenneth Noye came from Bexleyheath (considered more Kent than London by fellow villains), rather than being a south east Londoner who moved to Kent, was a strike against him. “Noye wasn’t the real thing and he knew that the others thought that, too,” said the real-life Kathleen.

Was there really police corruption in Kent?

“What’s the first rule of working in Kent?” asks DCI Boyce in the second episode. His right-hand man is quick to reply: “Don’t tell Kent police you’re there.” 

“The birds start singing,” adds Boyce.

Indeed, Boyce’s special task force is reluctant to alert Kent police to operations on their turf. The Kent “cozzers” can’t be trusted. Noye has Kent officers – who are also fellow Freemasons – in his pocket. Ramm recalls that being a real issue. “There was suspicion about the people in Kent and Noye,” he says.

As well as having friends in the Kent police, Noye – according to Clarkson’s book – was sleeping with a civilian within the Kent constabulary who passed him intel on the Brink’s-Mat investigation.

However, a Channel 4 Dispatches on police corruption last year told the opposite story. Retired Kent Det Supt Nick Biddiss recalled that when Kenneth Noye was wanted for a 1996 road rage murder, he “deliberately avoided” involving Metropolitan police in inquiries because of potential links within the Met to Noye.

Stories of corruption in Kent persisted until 2014, when four officers were sacked following accusations of manipulating crime stats – by getting criminals to confess to crimes they hadn’t committed. There are no longer any issues regarding corruption in the Kent police force.

Whatever happened to Jeannie?

In the series, Jeannie (Dorothy Atkinson) is a down-on-her-luck moll who’s roped into the Brink’s-Mat money laundering scheme by Noye. The real Jean Savage ran a newsagent and tobacconist. She was the partner of John “Little Legs” Lloyd, a suspected Brink’s-Mat robber who scarpered to Florida.

Savage paid more than £2.5 million of Brink’s-Mat cash into Croydon bank. Apparently, she really did drop a big wedge of notes – £12,500 – during one of her bank visits, as depicted in The Gold. The book suggests that the story may be apocryphal.