Comedy fans, get ready. The team behind the award-winning People Just Do Nothing has a new show premiering on Channel 4 on Feb. 6 and it promises to be full of the same ridiculous, laugh-out-loud moments as their mockumentary. The Curse follows a group of friends in London’s East End in 1982 who accidentally find themselves in the middle of a high-stakes heist. While The Curse is first and foremost a comedy, parts of the show are gritty, tense, and unnervingly realistic. At the beginning of each episode, viewers are met with the disclaimer, “Some of this might have happened,” leaving us to wonder: is The Curse based on a true story?
Well, the short answer is, sort of. As Channel 4 explains, “The comedy is a fictionalized tale loosely inspired by real-life crimes.” Although the network doesn’t offer any info as to what those real-life crimes are, outlets such as Deadline and the British Comedy Guide have pointed out that there are a some notable similarities between The Curse’s plot and the notorious 1983 Brinks-Mat robbery at Heathrow.
Like the group of petty criminals in The Curse, the real-life gang involved in the 1983 robbery (led by Brian Robinson and Mickey McAvoy) got much more than they bargained for when they broke into the Brinks-Mat warehouse. They arrived expecting to steal around £3 million in cash but instead made off with £26 million worth of gold and diamonds.
In addition, the family connections among the Brinks-Mat gang seem to be reflected in The Curse also. In the series, gang member Sidney (played by Steve Stamp) is a security guard at the depot where the robbery takes place. His sister, Natasha (Emer Kenny), is married to Albert Fantino (Allan Mustafa), another gang member. As crime site Crime+Investigation notes, there was a similar set up with the Brinks-Mat group. “Inside help was provided [for the real-life 1983 robbery] by Anthony Black, a Brinks Mat security guard who happened to be living with Brian Robinson’s sister at the time.”
Finally – and perhaps most importantly – the on-screen story mirrors the Brinks-Mat robbery in terms of what happened to the gang after the crime took place. In the weeks, months, and years following their £26 million heist, Robinson and McAvoy’s crew dealt with a series of unfortunate events. As the series’ title suggests, The Curse sees a similar thing happen to its fictional gang. But you’ll have to watch the show to find out exactly what we mean by that...
The Curse premieres on Feb. 6, 2022, at 10 p.m. on Channel 4.