Hi. My name is Mark Pallis.
I am a former barrister and I work as a writer and creative in tv, film and adverts (some of my work is online at http://www.markpallis.wordpress.com) Also, I am the author of cookbook called Lipsmacking Backpacking, a gap year culinary bible!
I first became involved with this project back in 2008. TwentyTwenty television (www.twentytwenty.tv) had the idea of making a drama inspired by real cases from the Old Bailey archive. The only problem was that the archive covered cases from 1674 to 1913 – almost 200,000 criminal trials! My job was to propose a specific period and person.
I had a special interest in human rights and due process. I honed in on a barrister called William Garrow. Both Garrow, and the time at which he practiced – the late 1700s, between the American and the French Revolution and beyond – were totally fascinating to me and I thought he’d be just right. A treatment was submitted and got a green light from the BBC.
Then came the magic ingredient: Tony Marchant!
As Tony explains:
“Twenty Twenty approached me because they had, rarely, been given a green light on the back of a treatment about a maverick barrister called William Garrow and the Old Bailey online archive – verbatim accounts of trials. What I was looking for, beyond dramatising the development of the law, was the main character’s journey and his relationships with key individuals like his former mentor / father figure and attorney, John Southouse.”
From there we went on to make the show, win an RTS award for History and do a second series! This time around I was the Legal & Historical Consultant, and also the Story Editor.
Garrow’s law is inspired by real cases and real events and aims to give viewers a real sense of legal london in the late 1700s. I want this blog to be a place where people who are interested can come to find out more about some of the stuff that helped inspire the show, and also learn about how the changes Garrow fought for are still affecting us today.
I will post facts and details from time to time and I hope you find them interesting. The work that I carried out for Garrow’s Law drew on a range of information, including books, case reports and primary materials held by Lincoln’s Inn Library London, and by the British Library. I plan to put references to some of these books as I go along.
I was also greatly inspired by conversations with a number of helpful experts, who I thank heartily. Also, my research was greatly facilitated by the excellent http://www.oldbaileyonline.org , the Old Bailey Proceedings Online. This fantastic resource was created by a joint project between the Universities of Sheffield, Hertfordshire and the Open University. It was directed by Professors Robert Shoemaker, Tim Hitchcock and Clive Emsley. I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in learning more to make that website their first port of call.
NB: This blog is not official and does not represent the views of TwentyTwenty Television, the BBC, or any of the writers involved. If you would like to go to the official pages then please click on the links which I have provided. They will take you to the BBC pages and the TwentyTwenty pages.