Wednesday, 23 February 2011


[Updated] Martha Costello is an overworked and ambitious defence barrister applying for silk - the chance to become QC (Queen's Counsel) with the attendant silken robe. Having just won an important case, Martha is given two new cases for the next day, with a possibility of getting a good reference for her Silk application. But her rival is the arrogant Clive Reader.

Silk is another legal drama series from BAFTA award-winning writer Peter Moffat, a former barrister who created the acclaimed Criminal Justice. Criminal Justice 2's Maxine Peake stars as defence barrister Martha Costello and former "Spook" Rupert Penry Jones is back on BBC One as Martha's ruthless rival Clive Reader. Neil Stuke (Reggie Perrin), Natalie Dormer (The Tudors) and Tom Hughes (Cemetary Junction) are among the cast.

Martha is a hard-working woman in a workplace dominated by men, who struggles to find a balance between her principles and her job. She's in competition with Clive, the ultimate a**hole patronizing colleague. She calls her mum regularly and has no personal life - when she's back home you can hear piano. A tough but protective senior clerk is devoted to her and both Clive and Martha are assigned two young and cute pupils. Martha's one shoplifts a barrister wig.

This six-part series could be the Luther or Zen of legal dramas - in fact the titles are designed by the talented folks from the company which did their titles, Momoco - and it doesn't help a genre worn out by years of David E. Kelley's shows. Neither does this dull series opener saved only by the legendary Peter Vaughan as a victim. Next episode's trailer seems to promise more drama but trailers always do anyway.

Or we'll have to catch a rerun of Kavanagh QC. But Silk's premiere did more than well in ratings (1), which would be a solace for BBC One after Outcasts if the other episodes confirm. Silk is exec produced by Hillary Salmon and Peter Moffat and produced by BBC Productions.

(1) Update (16.19 - French Time) : 5.324 million viewers (

No comments: