Series 4 + my best bits!

Hello everyone,

Having seen the note in The Sun, and today’s piece in The Bolton News (it quotes a BBC spokesperson as saying: “BBC1 will screen more than 20 new dramas this year, but Garrow’s Law will not be returning.” ) it seems fair to say that there will be no series 4 of Garrow’s Law.

I remember when I first came across Garrow way back in 2008. I was looking through the Old Bailey archives on the website trying to come up with ideas for a drama based on real cases for Twenytwenty televsion. Once I’d narrowed down the period that i was interested in, it wasn’t as much a case of me finding Garrow, but Garrow finding me! He appeared in so many cases in the Old Bailey that you can’t help but wonder, who was this guy? I was fascinated and captivated and it’s been a real pleasure to have the opportunity to delve into his life and come up with cases and stories for the show.

I know that for many people there’s no substitute for more episodes but, if you are left wanting more, then I genuinely urge you to go to the excellent website and have a browse.  It’s so easy to use – just pop Garrow’s name into the search engine and browse the cases.  John Beattie’s scholarly article about Garrow, John Hostettler’s biography of Garrow and the Garrow Soceity website are all great additional resources. Also, I can’t recommend strongly enough the book The Bar and the Old Bailey by Allyson May – it’s a really detailed account of the Bar around Garrow’s time and is full of great information.

Many people have been so helpful to me that I’d be here all day if I listed them all but I’d like to give special thanks to oldbaileyonline and Prof Tim Hitchcock, and the Librarian and staff at Lincoln’s Inn library who have been so great in helping me dig out obscure and dusty volumes of cases. Also, I’d like to thank the producers of the show, TwentyTwenty television and writer Tony Marchant – it’s their attention to detail that makes the magic. And the actors too, Andy, Aiden, Alun, Lyndsy, Rupert, Michael…  OK I’ll be here all day!

Thanks also to everyone that watched the show and came on this site to find out more. The whole reason I put information up here was because I wanted people to have a sense of the real cases that inspired the show. When I started, I wasn’t sure if people would be interested, but with close to 60,000 visitors, I’m delighted it’s been popular.

And finally, I’d like to thank the BBC for commissioning the show over these past three years. I think that shows like Garrow’s Law are the BBC at its best.

Here are my best bits, please do feel free to share your own highlights!

My favourite moment of the series…. it’s a hard one but here’s my top three. The Zong case – this was one of the cases that I included in my original document about the show. When we brought it to screen in Episode 1, series 2 I was proud to be able to shine a light on this sad but important day in our legal history.

Moment two would be the Captain Baillie case, also series 2.  As I say in the interview for the DVD, when I found Baillie’s pamphlet, he’d written in the forward explaining why he was setting down his story – it was in the hope that the plight of the seamen would not be forgotten. I can’t tell you what a feeling it was to dig this up and help make Baillie’s wish come true, some 200 years later.

But, drum roll, best moment…. Garrow’s Law is, after all, a drama so for me, the moment that best captures it was the Jones and Jasker case where one man accuses his lover of sodomy to save himself. The acting, the writing, the case, for me, it all came together in this episode. Tears of sadness and of joy…. perfect sunday night viewing!

with best wishes, and thanks for your support


PS: OK, other favourite bit, this last series when Silvester is imagining he’s a judge and talks about how he’d make Garrow’s life a misery, sustaining every objection and making his life hell, within the strictures of the law of course!


33 Responses to Series 4 + my best bits!

  1. demurely1 says:

    Thanks for everything, Mark – especially bringing the whole idea to life! There are many very disappointed folk out here at the moment.

    My favourite bit? Really, really difficult – but the whole of the Luisa Calderon episode (3.3) with its counterpoint between Luisa & Sarah; with Garrow prepared to sell his soul until Southouse’s final words; and the looks between Garrow & Sarah in court as Will renews his attack – wow! I just loved it!

    I hope some kind of solution is possible!

  2. Molly Joyful says:

    As you can imagine, I’d love to put some people over at the BBC in the stocks for an unlimited time. And I’d gladly provide the offall!

    However, cast and crew aside, I’d like to thank you for sharing all those fascinating historical details with us. As a dedicated history geek, researching the real cases was almost as much fun as watching the episodes.

    It’s difficult to pick a favourite, but if I have to, I’d probably also go for the Jasker/Jones case.

    Oh, and Lady Sarah telling the pettifogger where to stick it, heh!

    And though the BBC has dropped the ball – who knows? Maybe somebody will write a virtual season 4. There’s always hope!

  3. Pat Caswell says:

    We must be grateful to the BBC for bringing William Garrow to life and for all the enjoyment many of us have had watching it! Sadly I am one of the loads of folk who are seriously disappointed that we do not have a series four to look forward to. I agree it’s hard to choose a favourite but I loved the “Dual” episode, it brought a wonderfully human side to the genius of WG and was superbly acted. Perhaps people in high places can change their minds!

  4. Garrowfan says:

    I loved the bit where Garrow sits on the judges chair-only to jump when Sir Arthur applauses–much potential for the future, which, sadly enough, will not happen.

    Thank you Mark !

  5. Irene says:

    A great shame that the BBC can’t see the value of Garrow’s Law.
    Thanks to Mark for keeping us informed – I just wish it could’ve gone on longer.

  6. caroline rundell says:

    I ‘m so gutted that there wont be at least one more series – I have just finished watched series 3 which I bought on DVD when it came out on Monday. Andy Buchan really brought William Garrow to life, such a great, natural actor. And the support actors were brill. Especially Rupert Graves.

  7. Stella says:

    Unbelievable of the BBC when Downton Abbey is still romping along. Even real men liked Garrow’s Law, not just us female fans of Andrew!

  8. Chelsea says:

    Thank you for everything Mark! I was sorry to hear that the show won’t be coming back, but it’s wonderful that we do have three series of it to re-watch and enjoy.

    The Jones/Jasker episode is my favourite one as well, it was just so beautifully touching. I think the Zong episode is my other favourite though. There were truly brilliant moments in both.

  9. It is a travesty that this quality drama will not be returning to our screens. It makes me sad when so many unworthy shows clog up our TV screens that when something of value comes along that the BBC does not listen to its audience and fee paying public. Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable series all the cast and crew of the show.

    • C. Evans says:

      I agree entirely – with so many programmes not worth even switching the television on for, how can the BBC possibly consider cancelling something as high in quality as Garrow’s Law? Before long it won’t be worth paying for a TV licence.

  10. Nick D. says:

    Thanks again for your terrific work, Mark. Though like everyone else I’m very disappointed that there will be no further series, at least Season 3 provided satisfying resolutions to major plot strands. Am currently working my way through the final season for a second time on DVD with great pleasure, filled with gratitude for the high quality of work from all concerned. Must confess a sneaking partiality for Season 2, for the passionate intensity of the cases; also loved Anton Lesser’s silky, odious Mr. Farmer. But the casting was really so strong from start to finish, just one sign of the care and commitment that went into the show.
    “At last the Dodo said, ‘EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.'”

  11. kathryn hobbs says:

    Undoubtedly your problem with the writing of this series is that you have failed to include any cooking, have not ‘bigged-up’ the adversarial court scenes to a knock-out competition and singularly failed to have any untalented hopefuls wailing or prancing about…………..note to author……must try harder.
    Having spent many and evening, bleeper in hand searching for something reasonable to watch, I was looking forward to the return of a quality programme………..Garrow. Well written, well acted and above all, informative. Before this programme, who, outside the legal profession had heard of this man whose actions secured many of the protections from the law that we take for granted now?

  12. juti says:

    Mark, we just discovered Garrow’s Law last week (via Netflix) and it’s wonderful! What a shame it has been cancelled. Here in the States we don’t have access to the final season just yet so there is yet some to look forward to.

    You and your colleagues should feel good about what you’ve done with this show. Congratulations on putting on a thoughtful and really interesting program.

  13. judith says:

    Like all the previous posters. I’m disappointed that we are not to see a 4th series of Garrows Law. However, I did feel that we had arrived at a natural break in the story at the end of series 3.

    Garrow’s subsequent forray into politics was not his finest hour and it seemed from the biography that he was a fish out of water in parliament.

    I do think though that a strong case could be made for another series (after a length of time) to portray his career as a circuit court judge. In this role it seems he was truly at home again, putting all the experience gained at the Bailey and his intuitive,rapier grasp of the criminal mind, to good use.

    In the meantime, many thanks to you and the whole team for the wonderful 3 series and I do hope that you and ‘the powers that be’ will consider another series in the future to portray Judge Garrow.

    • Irene says:

      I agree with Judith up to a point – the problem is – how many will remember what happened before, if they ever saw it.
      Garrow’s Law was so ‘miserly’ promoted be the BBC that it looked as if it had been produced by a rival company.
      I don’t know – I am still grieving the axing of this series – only a miracle could bring it back.

  14. judith says:

    Pleased you feel the same to some extent Irene. If another series portraying Garrow’s career as a judge were ever to be screened, then perhaps it would be a case of running some previous episodes beforehand to bring people up to date

  15. TeeGee says:

    I am sorry to use such words but… FUCK!!! I’m not British nor do I live anywhere near U.K. ,but let me tell you ; this is one of the more incomprehensible things that are happening with your shows these past years. From now on i dislike BBC. And I fear to watch any other excellent shows in the future from them, because of the possibility someone will axe it becase of some weird interests of a certain entity. Boo, i say again: BOOO!

    p.s.: Hurray for Garrow’s Law though 😉 Excellent writing, acting … my most favourite show in the last 2 years

  16. Marianne Bahlieda says:

    I agree with all the comments about BBC. We also watched Andy in ‘Party Animals’. I think that was also made by BBC and it too was cancelled – a great show about the ins and outs of modern politics behind the scenes.
    Marianne Bee

    • Firefly says:

      Party Animals was Channel 4, and it was taken off because they lost viewers – too many sex scenes.
      That was not the fault of the actors, but the writers and programme makers.
      I just hope from now on programme makers will realise that when they add sex scenes (some of it totally irrelevant to the programme) people actually switch off. Why? Well, it just shows how poorly they judge the general viewing public. Most people want to watch quality programmes – and sex scenes are boring. It shows lack of talent when writers feel the need to throw in these scenes – like car chases in American crime dramas in the past. They’ve run out of ideas, so they pad the scenes out with car chases to make up time. Same about sex scenes.

      As for Garrow’s Law – that was good. It was based on history, and it had good actors. In this case, the BBC threw the baby out with the bathwater – yes, a lot of their stuff was/is rubbish – but Garrow’s Law was not. Series three was in fact an improvement of the first two.

      • Stella says:

        Well with such an attractive actor as Andy, the more sex scenes the better as far as I’m concerned.

      • Firefly says:

        Why? Why should he and others like him have to prostitute themselves on screen in order to satisfy the ‘sewer’ mentality of a few?
        It’s not the image of the the writers and programme makers that are splashed across the screens, they can hide behind the actors – it is the actors – who often take the flack for what those who hire them put them through.

        Don’t imagine that because we live in ‘enlightened’ times that viewers don’t judge – sometimes without knowing why. I know a number of people, who like myself, if having seen an actor/actress in such a scene, can’t be bothered to watch the next drama they’re in, because they expect their work to be of the same low standard.

      • Stella says:

        Sex is part of life and they are portraying life in a very professional way. So far, the sex scenes Andy has been in have been part of the scripts and been very tastefully done with no gratuitous nudity. I Can’t imagine going back to The Hollywood old days where one foot had to remain on the floor.

      • Firefly says:

        Yes, sex is part of life – but, how often after a night out with friends do we ask them back to our place to watch us while we’re having sex?
        Because that’s what it looks like to the viewers. A scene that is filmed in a studio, with cameras, lights, microphones and numerous people standing around, looks different when it’s squeezed into a square box, like a TV. And more often the actors look like sprawling contortionists rather than lovers. It’s most unrealistic. Sex is a personal feeling and can’t be conveyed to an audience that can’t be part of it.
        And the scenes don’t do much for the image of young male actors either. Which woman cares for a four second guy anyway? Eight at most, depending on the takes. Play it out in real time, and to the viewer it becomes boring, because they are watching someone who may or may not be having a good time – and they are left out unable to enjoy any of it. Sex is not a spectator sport – it is a feeling only the two people engaged in it can enjoy. Therefore a waste of time filming such scenes. It conveys nothing.

      • Stella says:

        Perhaps someone should ask the actors their views?

  17. Mark Pallis says:

    Always good to see some hearty debate. Sex on screen, or in print in the UK, has a long and noble or ignoble history – depending on how you see it! For more info see ‘Rude Britannia’: “In the early 18th century, Georgian Britain was a nation openly, gloriously and often shockingly rude.”

  18. Firefly says:

    There were neither TV nor cinemas in the 18th century, nor photographs – although sketches may have pictured scenes of this kind. And the continuation of the human race didn’t stop for lack of it. If anything, there was more of it – sex that is! (:-))

  19. Tracy says:

    Just catching up with Garrows Law down here in Australia and have been watched Series 1,2,and 3 in about a weeek and a bit. What a fantastic show. So well written and acted. So nice to watch quality television. Congrats to all involved.

  20. Mike Briggs says:

    Just watched the Captain Baillie episode on our local PBS station here in Wisconsin. Historical quibbles: (1) The 4th Earl of Sandwich was a member of the House of Lords. He would never have stood for election to the House of Commons. (2) Even if he had, Huntingdon was not in Cambridgeshire at the time. It was in Huntingdonshire, which was not merged into Cambridgeshire until 1972. Otherwise, great show!

  21. Alton Locke says:

    I watched the original run of Garrow’s Law and I’ve been through the three series about six times since!
    My favourite case was the one about the London Corresponding Society. The comeuppance of Forrester the thief-taker was a good moment too.

    It really needed a fourth series, I was dismayed when the BBC cancelled it. It’s not as though anything worthwhile came in its place.
    It’s atrocious that there are a dozen property programmes and two dozen cooking programmes going in circles and good drama gets the axe. The viewing public’s preferences really are at a low-level sometimes.

    • Firefly says:

      Joyce Eley Johnson says exactly what I would’ve said – Garrow’s Law was exceptionally good drama – just a pity they killed off the court clerk, so very well played by Alun Armstrong. I’d love to see this series back – particularly as William Garrow later became an MP, working alongside others to change the inhumanity of the day. And Andrew Buchan has never really had a role since that suited him so well.

  22. You know what? Garrow’s Law is the best drama ever created for tv, and I’ve been around a long time. That it was axed is highly suggestive of the repeated theme of our times: It was just too good, and that cannot be allowed. It was so inspiring of honor and the values defended that we need to stand up to, that it was in fact dangerous to the powers and people who need to keep us…dumbed down. I hope someone steps up to the plate somehow and brings it back.

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