A bit of Garrow’s Law on BBC Radio4

December 28, 2012

Hello everyone,

First, let me that you for your kind words about the show. It’s appreciated. I’m only sorry that we’re not able to bring you more of Mr Garrow’s exploits!

For those of you in the UK, you might find it interesting to listen to the following episode of the Radio 4 show “Unreliable Evidence”  which was broadcast on BBC Radio4 on Boxing Day. Here is the link.


I took part in the show, hosted by former lawyer Clive Anderson along with Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, appeal court judge Sir Alan Moses, and German judge Ruth Herz.  We had a great chat about the drama of the court, and courtroom drama – I talked about Garrow’s Law, and they played a clip too! We also had a broader discussion about the theatricality of the law.

I hope you find it interesting. Sorry for those of you who are not in the UK.

“With its sets and costumes, soliloquies, suspense and dramatic revelations – the courtroom is pure theatre.

Following the return of Rumpole to Radio 4, Clive Anderson and his guests discuss how accurately the legal world is depicted in stage and screen dramas. And they discuss the issues which arise when the distinctions between fiction and fact – between Rumpole and reality – become blurred in the public’s mind.

Does the way courtroom dramas introduce dramatic last minute evidence, show defendants crumbling under cross-examination and defence barristers reducing juries to tears, even remotely reflect the real world? Are judges really as out of touch, and lawyers as pompous and greedy as their screen counterparts? And does it really matter if screenwriters fail to stick to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”


best wishes

Mark Pallis



Harry Potter on the Garrow’s Law set!

July 4, 2012

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

Just wanted to let you know that the documentary ‘The Strange Case of the Law’ written and presented by the Barrister Harry Potter features Garrow this evening. They came up and spent the day on set, chatted to the actors and crew. So for those of you keen on history, and Andy Buchan, you should enjoy it! BBC4, 9pm tonight.

For Garrow fans in America, I’m afraid that it’s not available unless iplayer works in your region.

best wishes to all Mark

Garrow’s Law behind the scenes sneak peak!

November 24, 2011

Hi everyone,

Here is an extract from Garrow’s Law: From dawn to dusk. A 19 minute film which takes you behind the scenes of Series III.  The full version will be part of the bonus features of the Garrow’s Law series III DVD.


New article on Garrow Society website

November 18, 2011

Good afternoon everyone,

Two things: My friends at the  Garrow Society have just posted a new and interesting article by His Honour John Wroath called: Garrow’s Law and the Real Story of Women’s Rights.  I heartily recommend it.  More to come on this in my piece on inspirations for Episode 2 coming soon.

The second thing isn’t Garrow related, but is fun and important. In addition to my work on Garrow’s Law, I also write and direct tv commercials. I wrote and directed this 60 second viral, which has just been released and aims to raise awareness of mens’ testicular cancer during the month of “Movember” (www.movember.com).  Enjoy the dance, all in a good cause!


Fascinating facts from the Garrow’s Law blog archive

November 15, 2011

Hi everyone,

Here is a re-post of something I put up for the first series, Garrow’s London and how it worked from Crime to Punishment.



Garrow’s law is set in London at the end of the 1700s.  It was quite a time to be alive:  the American Revolutionary War had just ended, leaving thousands of disgruntled British soldiers looking for work; there was revolution in France, and back in England there winds of change were starting to blow.  People were starting to talk about rights, and about democracy. The movement to end slavery was getting going, women, like Mary Wollstonecraft, were asserting themselves and talking about the rights of women.  And reform was in the air, people were getting frustrated with the corruption in parliament and were hungry for change.

And all this was being played out in a new public arena.  There had been an explosion of newspapers and journals:

  • In 1770, London has 5 daily papers;
  • In the 1780s, it had 9 dailies, 8 tri-weeklys and 9 weeklys;
  • In the 1790s, it had 14 dailies, 7 tri-weeklys and 2 weeklys.

But whilst there was change on one side, on the other the ruling classes were battening down the hatches and steeling themselves.  They were quite happy with things as they were thank you very much!

From Crime to Punishment

A common way for crimes to be detected is that a Night Watchman would hear or see something.  Have a look at the case of Henry Morgan 15 September 1784, we hear from a Watchman examined by Garrow in the Old Bailey.


If there were no watchmen around, there was no choice other than to run after the criminal yourself.  If you discovered a felony, you were legally obliged to apprehend those responsible and notify the constable.  Also, if a constable was trying to catch a felon, he could require people to join the ‘hue and cry’.

In this case, a man explains the steps he took to catch the highwayman:

This isn’t a Garrow case, but it shows you just how swift and harsh the justice was.  No defence counsel, not even a prosecution.  Basically, the judge was in charge and played all the parts …


Next step

OK, so the crime has happened. How else would the suspect be brought to court?  A common option was to use a Thieftaker.  As you’ll know if you’re read the outline for this Sunday’s episode, Garrow defends Peter Pace, who is accused by renowned thief-taker Edward Forrester of robbing a man at gunpoint.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nsp4s Thieftaking was most notorious in the 1720s – 50s, but carried on as long as there were rewards paid.  The Times newspaper was writing against the corrupting effects of the reward system well into the 1780s.  Thieftaking didn’t stop finally until 1818 when the reward system was abolished by Parliament.

The core idea is that Thieftakers are driven by the reward money.  They will do anything to get it.  However, they were not all bad, and many performed useful functions.   These included,

1) Recovering stolen property and claiming any private reward that was offered from the victim eg man’s horse stolen.  He offers a reward and puts an advert in the paper. You find it, bring it to him and claim the reward.

2) Apprehending criminals:  Often, private citizens would go to a Thieftaker and ask them to intercept a criminal.  Basically, the Thieftaker is like a private policeman. The Thieftaker is paid by getting some of the reward money offered by the state for successful conviction of criminals.

That’s it, let’s wait and see what happens in Episode 1 (series 1) !!!

If you are interested in learning more about Thieftakers, have a look at the historical section of the Old Bailey Proceedings Online.  It gives you a great overview of the development of policing over a long period – much longer than just Garrow’s time.

We have a crime, we have a suspect, but we’re not ready for the Old Bailey just yet.

Here is a nice example, with Garrow for the defence, where a victim of crime obtains a warrant from the magistate, and then, with the warrant in hand, goes and gets a constable to accompany him to the suspects’ house.  The accusation was that someone has stolen some meat.  … But when they got there, the cats had already gnawed it!!




Andy Buchan on the BBC – link

November 10, 2011

Hi everyone,

For those who missed it, or who live overseas and don’t have access to iplayer, someone has uploaded the clip of Andy Buchan taking about the show on BBC breakfast.


Series III trailer now online!

November 9, 2011

Here it is:  It’s a full five minutes long, but watch out, it contains some spoilers!




Your questions answered!

October 27, 2011

Hi everyone,

The press screening went well and I was lucky enough to catch a couple of minutes with the lovely Andy Buchan and Lyndsey Marshal.

I asked Andy about his hair extensions (question from Demurely).  He said that it was different this year because he had a clip in hairpiece, whereas last year he had actual extensions, but it still took time to attach it every morning!

Meredith asked about the favourite and least favourite thing about working on the show.  Andy said that one of the highlights for him was watching Aidan McArdle (Silvester) work, and getting to spend time with him in the court scenes.  Meredith also asked about how Andy got on with his convoluted lines. Andy said that after three series now, it gets in your blood and you become really familiar with it.

Judith asked about what items of clothing do the cast like or loathe wearing. I asked Lyndsey this question. Lyndsey said that she loves her corset because it gives her some cleavage ! But she also loathes the corset because it’s such a hassle to put on and it’s so tight, she has to take it off so that she can eat some lunch!

Judith also asked about what Episodes they have enjoyed to date.  For Andy, he said one highlight among many was the Duel scene with Silvester in the first series.  Lyndsey said that for her, the whole of series three has been a highlight – she said that everyone has raised their game and she thinks it’s the best series so far.  Sounds good!

Oh, and finally, Irene asked me to give Andy a hug – I did! It was very enjoyable – thanks to Andy for being a good sport and receiving my hug on your behalf!



William Garrow: Fact and Fiction

October 19, 2011

Here is the full twenty minute version of my documentary about William Garrow and Garrow’s Law as featured in the Garrow’s Law Series II dvd. I hope you enjoy it, and thanks again to Acorn Media for giving permission.

Put your questions to the cast! (via me)

October 5, 2011

Hi everyone,

We have a closed screening of Episode 1 of Garrow’s Law series III in a few weeks. Some of the cast are going to be there – not exactly sure who yet. I’m also going along so …. if anyone has any burning things they’d like to ask anyone in the cast, do post them below and I will endeavour to get  some of them answered for you! I can’t promise that I’ll get to ask them, but I do promise to try!

with best wishes