Episode 4 – inspirations

Hi everyone!

If you want to read about some of the cases which inspired this episode, go to the BBC pages where you can read my notes about the case.

Don’t forget to scroll down or click here to watch an exclusive preview of the special mini-documentary on Garrow that will be available with the DVD of series 2.

And if anyone is thinking of criminal conversation, be warned: “The legislation existed in many U.S. states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but has been abolished in all but North Carolina, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico and Utah.” And just this year, someone was awarded damages of £6million. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1259677/Cynthia-Shackelford-sues-mistress-Anne-Lundquist-6m.html#ixzz17Jp7a4Mc

Thanks for watching and hope to see you all again next series.


with best wishes


22 Responses to Episode 4 – inspirations

  1. Francis Rafferty says:

    Fantastic job.. Any sign of a third series?

  2. Daniel Harley says:

    Absolutely fantastic series, and gripping final episode! It is the best period drama I have ever seen and coincidentally the only one ever to retain my interest. Even my dad found himself glued to the television and it was the first episode he’d ever seen.

    Really keeping my fingers crossed for a 3rd series, although I can’t imagine where’d they’d take it and I doubt they could top what they’ve already done.

  3. David says:

    Mr. Pallis,

    Enjoyed this latest series as much as the first. Nice work. However, as regards the charge of criminal conversation being ‘legal’ in ‘Georgia’, I think you have a few facts wrong. Firstly, the case you provide the link for only mentions that the case was lodged and decided in ‘North Carolina’ — not Georgia. As the article states, the charge of criminal conversation “has been abolished in all but North Carolina, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico and Utah.” No mention their or anywhere else in the article of Georgia. And assuming this was a Georgia state law, it wouldn’t/couldn’t be applied in North Carolina. I know Southerners have the popular reputation for being backward rednecks, but I would hope that some people would do their due-diligence and get their facts straight. Secondly, if the charge of criminal conversation were ‘legal’, how could someone be convicted of it? Surely, a person can’t be brought to trial and the case decided against them for legal and legitimate conduct? Might I suggest that you change the ‘legal’ to ‘illegal’ and ‘Georgia’ to ‘North Carolina’?

    Those two points aside, excellent work.

    • Mark Pallis says:

      Thanks very much for these points. I have made the changes. i can assure you that no ill intent was aimed at Georgia. I’m glad you enjoyed the show otherwise.
      with best wishes

  4. judith charters says:

    I’d like to echo all the appreciative comments made by the previous correspondants. Could everyone let the BBC know too!

    Please pass on my congratulations to all concerned in the series a third one cannot come too soon for me.
    I’m sure there are many more legal cases to be fought out along with William & Sarah’s life together and the eventual shared custody of Sarah’s son.

    No mention was made of the DVD at the end of the programme. Do you have any knowledge of the release date?

    Thanks to you for all your additional info. and keeping us up to date with everything.

  5. Mark Pallis says:

    Hi Judith,
    I’ve enjoyed it! As far as I can see from Amazon, it comes out on the 7th February 2011.

    I’ll certainly pass it on.
    Here is the link:

    with best wishes


  6. Garrowfan says:

    I really enjoyed this series– as did really many others(more than 5 millions apparently per episode!)

    Hope there will be more!

  7. elementseu says:

    I very much look forward to a 3rd series

  8. […] And don’t forget to visit Mark Pallis’ “Garrow’s Law” blog! […]

  9. Meredith says:

    My heart was beating out of my chest while watching this episode, and I felt like a wrung sponge after. Fantastic stuff, as always! I’m a costume drama aficionado, and Garrow’s Law is right up there at the top (yes, it’s better than Downton Abbey!). I pray that BBC commissions a third series of what is, to me, the best show on TV right now.

  10. Molly Joyful says:

    Great series, great ending, great everything! Thanks a lot for your comments and links all through the series, they were very helpful and I found a lot of new material for my researches. I know how much work it must have been to collect all the information; it’s very much appreciated. To series three!

  11. Liz Hanbury says:

    A big thank you from me too, Mark. Your blog posts have been a great accompaniment to a fantastic series! Please pass on my congrats to the whole Garrow’s Law team :0) I am keeping everything crossed for series three.

  12. mswyrr says:


    Hello! I was pointed to this blog by Joyful Molly. We’d been discussing the exact state of Lady Sarah’s legal situation at the end of episode four, and I wanted to thank you for your reply to her question on that front. Your clarification led me to two more questions, however. Since you said that the outcome of the civil trial would have had no effect on Samuel’s custody, I have wondered exactly how realistic Lady Sarah’s closing line about not being beaten could be considered. *Were* there any legal avenues open for her to pursue visitation and/or custody at the time? I’ve studied 18th Century women’s history in the US, but not in the UK. The US picture of things would be very dire indeed, with no options open to her except to hope for a change of heart on Sir Arthur’s part. Was that true in the UK as well?

    As you can tell, I’ve enjoyed the series very much! It’s rare that a show combines so well thorough research with good storytelling and characterization. I see from other posts here that there are people who disagree with the idea of dramatic license. As a young historian, have to stand in its defense. I admire the way that the show conveys the *mindset* of a time/place and brings across to viewers the way that their current ideas of how things are–the way a trial should be carried out, “innocent until proven guilty,” custody rights, etc.–are a product of historical events and *intentional* behavior on the part of people who went before us. Those who wish to can dig deeper for facts if they like. The far more important contribution is getting people to use their historical imaginations and reflect on the intellectual and social history that often invisibly shapes their lives.

    Apart from that, I’ve taken great pleasure in the sophistication of the dialogue, the performances of the actors, the gorgeous visuals created by cast and crew, and the overall humane spirit of the thing. I hope to see a third series soon! My great thanks to everyone involved for creating a work like this.


    • Mark Pallis says:

      Thanks very much for your comments.

      It was back in March that I did all the research for this series so I’m not 100% sure but if I remember it all correctly! Any children born during marriage were presumed to be legitimate, and so the burden of proof was on the husband to prove illegitimacy. The law also thought the best place for children was with their fathers! So it would totally down to Hill whether he wanted to give it to Sarah or not.

      We’ll see what happens in series 3!

      with best wishes


      • mswyrr says:

        Ah! So the situation in the UK was very much like the US, then. Good to know! Thank you.

        The law also thought the best place for children was with their fathers!

        Yeah, the property orientated concept of parenting. Which later would run up against the 19th Century’s romantic idealizing of (white) motherhood rather amusingly — well, amusing from our vantage point! Not so amusing then.

        Anyway. Thanks again!

  13. judith charters says:

    Hi Mark,
    I’ve watched episode 4 a few times and a couple of points puzzle me – perhaps you could shed some light?

    On several occasions it is mentioned that an adverse verdict in Garrow’s trial would cost him his career as a barrister.
    How is this so when it is a civil not a criminal case?

    Also,although the damages awarded were derisory, the jury still found in favour of Sir Arthur so where does this leave Garrow’s career?

    With regards to previous contributors’ speculation about Sarah’s possible custody of Samuel, Sir Arthur
    doesn’t seems very keen on the child, “I merely wish it not…I merely wish it with its wretched mother”. The trial finding in favour of Sir Arthur must confirm his doubt about the child’s paternity,so I suspect he would not mind him going to his mother – if not permanently then periodically.

    You mentioned that you would let us know when the decision to make another series was taken, how long did this take last time?


  14. Mark Pallis says:

    Hi Judith,

    On the first point, the main jeopardy for Garrow comes from the fact that “if he cannot pay with his purse, he must pay with his person”. There is no way that he’d have £10,000 so he would have ended up in debtor’s prison.

    As to the verdict against him, I won’t speculate too much here about what could happen just in case we get a third series!

    As to when the decision is taken about a new series, I don’t know. It’s something between TwentyTwenty and the BBC. Hopefully we’ll know soon!

    with best wishes


  15. Irene says:

    Yes, please — more Garrow’s Law. I too was glued to the TV when it was on. And of course Andrew Buchan played the role brilliantly as the impetuous, highly strung person Mr. Garrow probably was.

  16. Susan says:

    I received Series 1 & 2 just this week and have almost finished series 2 (leaving the last half hour to watch on the train home from work this evening, thereafter the special features). What a fantastic series! The best I’ve watched in ages and hope against hope there’ll be (at least) a third series. Any news yet?
    Sydney, Australia

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