BBC Two is Defending The Guilty in new courtroom comedy

Monday 30th April 2018, 9:21pm

Defending The Guilty. Image shows from L to R: Will Packham (Will Sharpe), Caroline Bratt (Katherine Parkinson), Ashley (Prasanna Puwanarajah), Danielle (Gwyneth Keyworth). Copyright: Big Talk Productions

BBC Two has ordered a new courtroom comedy.

Defending The Guilty is based on the book Defending The Guilty: Truth And Lies In The Criminal Courtroom by Alex McBride, and is written by Kieron Quirke.

Will Sharpe and Katherine Parkinson star in the six-part series as lead characters Will and Caroline.

Producers explain: "Will is an idealistic pupil barrister being shown the ropes by his cynical, worldly-wise pupilmaster Caroline. Mistakenly believing that his role is to serve justice ("No Will, a Barrister's job is to win"), he must navigate his way through a criminal justice system seemingly designed to be as opaque and confusing as possible. While also dealing with his fellow pupils, each of them after the same single job at the end of their training and more than happy to stab each other in the back to get it. Can he succeed and hold on to his principles? Or will the system claim another victim?"

The cast is completed by Gwyneth Keyworth, Prasanna Puwanarajah and Hugh Coles.

Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, says: "We only went along for a read through and ended up ordering a whole series! Such incisive writing, cutting humour and a brilliantly rendered world. I am delighted we are bringing Defending The Guilty to the audience on Two."

BBC commissioner Shane Allen adds: "A terrifically vibrant and sure-footed pilot made for a very quick and easy decision on Defending The Guilty going to series. There's a very universal theme of having high ideals when entering this professional world versus the cold hard, cloak and dagger reality of how the legal profession truly operates. The core cast have irresistible chemistry and the writing fires out whip smart lines in all directions. A very classy addition to the BBC Two canon of comedy."

Kenton Allen from producers Big Talk Productions says: "Alex's book was expert, authoritative and hilarious and in Kieron Quirke's excellent hands, the real life of Criminal Barristers will be an eye-popping, roller-coaster ride through our criminal justice system that will make you re-examine everything you thought you knew about Great British Justice."

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