Authenticity is the aim of most TV drama-documentaries but C4 has gone to enormous lengths to ensure that this new project is the next-best thing to a real murder trial. More than 600 pages of evidence were created in consultation with legal experts and former police detectives, and the judge, barristers and court staff are all the genuine article.
This fiver-parter is a must for students and teachers of law, criminology and citizenship, as it focuses in great detail on the process of the administration of justice.
The Trial follows the fictional case of a university lecturer accused of killing his estranged wife. The 12 jurors are members of the public selected at random, just as members of a real jury are. Those who lived outside the area were booked into different hotels so that they were unable to discuss the case.
The legal teams, both defence and prosecutors, are eminent lawyers and lead prosecutor Max Hill is actually the Government’s new independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. Judge Brian Barker was the Old Bailey’s most senior judge before he retired two years ago. The roles of defendant and key witnesses are the only parts played by actors.
The Trial starts on Sunday 21 May (9pm) with police officers and eyewitnesses giving their testimony to build up a picture of the day that the victim was killed. It continues at 9 pm each night until its culmination on Thursday 25 May, when the cameras watch as the jurors deliberate and finally reach their verdict.