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Customer Review

on January 26, 2013
It is so sad that we have only 12 episodes spread across the three series of Garrows Law. Whilst this box set is to be welcomed it is also a matter of regret that the perverse decision was made to axe this very successful programme. What is particularly fascinating is that Sir William Garrow was a real historical figure in the UK. The writers of these programmes have clearly made a real effort to ensure that the episodes accord with what is known of his personal life. Additionally every episode is based on a true case from the annals of the Old Bailey in London, although not necessarily one with which Garrow was involved. Hence they provide an insight into the workings of the law a little over two hundred years ago.

Garrow is not as widely known as he deserves. Whilst this series covers the earlier part of his career when he was a barrister, he was also a Kings Counsel prosecuting cases, although he appears here as the defending counsel. Latterly he became a politician, rising to the post of Solicitor General and confirmed his forward thinking by, amongst other credentials, supporting animal rights which was quite a departure in the first part of the 19th century. This was a time when human rights were fairly generally ignored! The cases which are included in this series are interesting and varied and if you google the details of any of them, you will be able to verify that they were actual cases at the Old Bailey. Here Garrow is the champion of the accused and it is an interesting fact that he originated the phrase 'innocent until proved guilty'. He is also credited with originating the adversarial system of justice, in use in most Western countries with forthright cross examination of witnesses.

Garrow's rather complicated personal life is also based on what happened in real life. He had a long term relationship and later married Sarah, who had previously had a relationship with a Viscount. The script writer has had to fill in the gaps, however, the significant facts which can be checked out are correct. Hence this series portrays both the working life and personal life of a highly significant historical figure in an authentic manner. Andrew Buchan puts in an impressive performance in the leading role, but mention should also be made of Alun Armstrong who is very convincing as John Southouse.

It was always a valid criticism of Garrows Law that the series were so short, comprising just four episodes in each. Therefore this DVD set contains just 12 episodes, four from each of the three series. Brief though it is, it provides a fascinating insight into the workings of the UK justice system in the early 19th Century, with the added interest that it is largely based on fact.
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