Garrow's Law

Genres: Drama



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About the Show

Garrow's Law is a British period legal drama television series created by Tony Marchant and set around trials at the Old Bailey in Georgian London against a backdrop of corruption and social injustice, inspired by the life of pioneering barrister William Garrow.

The series premiered in the UK on BBC One on 1 November, 2009.

Garrow's Law premiered in South Africa on DStv's BBC Entertainment channel on Sunday 30 October 2011, at 19h00. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.

Season 2 premiered on BBC Entertainment on Sunday 27 November 2011, at 19h00. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are four episodes in the second season.

Season 1

Garrow's Law is set in the Old Bailey of Georgian London against a backdrop of corruption and social injustice and is based on real legal cases from the late 18th century.

In an age where the defence counsel acted in a minority of cases, the young William Garrow championed the underdog and pioneered the rigorous cross-examination of prosecution witnesses that paved the way for our fairer legal system of today.

Each episode begins with the investigation of a case sourced from the Old Bailey archives of the day, from rape and murder to high treason and corruption, and follows Garrow and his associate Southouse working to uncover the truth or fight for justice.

Season 2

Pioneering 18th-century barrister William Garrow revisits the Old Bailey to champion the rights of prisoners against the power of the State, as the acclaimed drama Garrow's Law returns for a second season.

When 133 African prisoners are thrown overboard from slave ship The Zong in suspicious circumstances, Garrow challenges the brutal trade that regards slaves as cargo, not human beings.

Widowed and alone in London, Garrow's friend and mentor, Southouse, grapples with his inner demons. However, Garrow's return proves timely as Southouse's life spirals rapidly into introspection and despair, making him focus on the future and his legal career.

Southouse is approached by an insurance company that wishes to prosecute The Zong's Captain Collingwood, who is accused of inventing his story in order to conceal a massacre and claim compensation.

But Garrow is reluctant to represent the insurers. Unaccustomed to operating as a barrister for the Prosecution, Garrow questions the morality of acting as a mouthpiece for those who effectively support the slave trade.

However, the testimony of freed African slave turned campaigner Gustavus Vassa tips the balance for Garrow. Vassa witnessed first-hand the terrible conditions and brutal treatment that the slaves endure on the ships and, through him, Garrow becomes drawn into a case that engages his sense of outrage and justice.

Meanwhile, Lady Sarah Hill returns unexpectedly to London with her infant son, Samuel. Fuelled by jealousy, Sir Arthur Hill – now Assistant Secretary to the Admiralty – grows convinced that Lady Sarah is in love with Garrow, and questions the paternity of his own son.

Sir Arthur throws her out of the marital home and begins proceedings against Garrow under the charge of "criminal conversation" – an 18th-century code for adultery. The scandal, if successful, will leave Lady Sarah desolate and ruin Garrow for ever. This amounts to a declaration of war between the two adversaries.

William Garrow is played by Andrew Buchan, Southouse by Alun Armstrong, Captain Collingwood by Jasper Britton, Gustavus Vassa by Danny Sapani, Lady Sarah Hill by Lyndsey Marshal and Sir Arthur Hill by Rupert Graves.

Garrow's Law is a Twenty Twenty/Shed Media Scotland production.


Series exclusive to BBC Entertainment

Season 1 (4 episodes)

Premiere: 30 October 2011 | Finale: 20 November 2011 | Sundays, 19h00

Season 2 (4 episodes)

Premiere: 27 November 2011 | Finale: 18 December 2011 | Sundays, 19h00


Judge Buller

Lady Sarah


Sir Arthur


William Garrow

George Pinnock


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