Archive for November, 2009
From the blog of Emma Collingwood:
Unfortunately, “The Radiant Boy” won’t be available in time for Christmas (the book will go on sale in January 2010). A small consolation: the price for “Lieutenant Samuel Blackwood (deceased)” has been lowered by £ 1.00!
Buy “Lieutenant Samuel Blackwood (deceased)” for
£ 7.50 (Europe) or £ 8.50 (elsewhere)!
First class postage is included in these prices!
HMS Privet has the reputation of being a cursed ship: every first lieutenant serving aboard her dies gruesomely. Lieutenant Daniel Leigh is determined to solve the mystery and volunteers for the place himself, putting his life in desperate danger. Little does he suspect that he will fall in love with the captain, John Meadows, and end up fighting not only for his own life, but for the soul of his lover, too.
Lieutenant Samuel Blackwood (deceased) – a Georgian ghost story featuring a cursed ship, a vengeful ghost, a haunted captain and a very daring lieutenant.
Illustrations: Amandine de Villeneuve
Editor: Alex Beecroft
Contains male/male romance.
The excellent third episode of “Garrow’s Law” confirmed what we already assumed: Mr. Garrow might be the upcoming star on the stage of the Old Bailey, but in all other aspects of his life, he is – with all due respect – not the brightest candle on the candlestick.
Garrow handles challenges – be they of a professional (Silvester) or romantical (Lady Sarah) nature – like a petulant child. But temper tantrums and hurt vanities will neither pave the way to a lasting career nor win a woman’s heart, so maybe Lady Sarah should rather have whacked her pigheaded firebrand on the head with her fan than kissed him. Then again, who could blame her.
Garrow (Andrew Buchan) defends the detestable Edgar Cole (James Bradshaw) on a charge of raping a servant girl (Josie Farmiloe), much to the disappointment of Lady Sarah (Lyndsey Marshal). She confronts Garrow, and Silvester (Aidan McArdle) senses the intimacy between them. His insinuation offends Garrow and he challenges Silvester to a duel. He also comes up against his old nemesis Edward Forrester (Steven Waddington) over the case of a stolen box of lace. Garrow seeks help from Southouse (Alun Armstrong), but will his close friendship with Lady Sarah cost him his association with his dear mentor?
“Garrow’s Law” made it into the Top 50 of the UK iTunes downloads last week, and it’s clear to see why: it’s excellently written, acted, directed and researched drama with just the right pinch of romance and humour to make it appealing to a wide audience. It’s set in the 18th century, yes – but there are neither dust nor cobwebs – and you may take that literally. This is one of the cleanest versions of 18th century London I’ve ever seen. Even the off-all thrown at the culprit in the stocks seems to come straight from the farmers’ market.
William Garrow has reached a crossroad in his life – will his future actions be guided by principles or purposes? The audience better be prepared for its loyalties to be challenged: it’s not so much Garrow’s decision to defend rapist Edgar Cole per se which makes us frown, it’s the perfidious way in which he leads the victim on. He’s willingly sacrificing the poor girl for his own success; friendly, understanding, compassionate, he talks to the girl as you would to a frightened child – but he only has one target: freedom for his client, whom he knows to be guilty. Great acting by Andrew Buchan here, but Lady Sarah isn’t amused; actually, she’s outraged and not holding back in telling a flabbergasted Garrow what she thinks of him. By the end of the trial, one’s disgusted with the hero and sides with Silvester; this sure speaks for the quality of the writing. Nothing is ever black and white here.
It’s a pity there’s only one episode left, for now the characters are established and we learn more about them, their motivations and interactions. Mr. Southouse got himself new teeth – five guinees each, imagine! – but what loving husband wouldn’t happily sacrifice such an amount to keep his wife happy? Southouse is a wonderful character, and his portrayal by Alun Armstrong superb. Southouse and Garrow have very much a father/son relationship, and there’s great chemistry between them. It sure looked like Southouse secretly enjoyed teaching Garrow, who foolishly challenged Silvester to a duel, how to use a duelling pistol, even though he didn’t agree with the duel itself. Garrow, being his usual humble self, completely overestimates his abilities as a marksman while underestimating Silvester’s determination to teach him a lesson. The outcome is both humiliating and painful for Garrow.
Lady Sarah, not impressed with Garrow’s juvenile attempts at “defending” her honour, has to deal with a jealous husband, and she handles the situation very well, given the circumstances. Unlike the way women are usually portrayed in dramas set in that period, she’s very capable, confident and straightforward. A refreshing perspective, and if you look at the achievements of some women in the 18th century, it’s not an unrealistic one. Just because history was written by men doesn’t mean women had no part in making it!
It’s obvious Lady Sarah’s drawn to Garrow, but neither her conscience nor her sense of loyalty for her husband allow her to act upon her feelings beyond a kiss – for now. Her actions are far more rational and mature than Garrow’s, and she’s the one in charge. How things would go if Sir Arthur should act in a manner that betrayed his wife’s sense of loyalty and justice remains to be seen, though. Luckily, Sir Arthur isn’t portrayed as a cruel, unbearable ogre of a husband; a trope unfortunately found in many period dramas. He’s quite forward in asking her if he was a cuckold, without yelling and drama.
While things are getting pear-shaped in the Hill-household, Garrow is taking great pleasure in suffering. Southouse calls his injury a mere nick in the arm, but Garrow’s quick to point out that it’s a “most painful one”. May the Gods prevent this man from ever catching a cold; he’d be unsufferable. Lady Sarah visits him to see how he’s doing, and things go as they tend to go in such situations.
As a consequence, it dawns to Southouse what, or rather, who the actual reason for the duel was. He’s both disappointed and angry with his young protégé for deceving him; this does not bode well for the future. However, despite his personal problems (not to mention his “most painful” injury!), Garrow is butting heads in court with Forrester, the corrupt thieftaker we’ve already encountered before. Unfortunately, Garrow’s focus is more on his dislike for Silvester and his feelings for Lady Sarah, so things don’t go well for the unfortunate couple of thieves that were paid by Forrester to rob a lace shop, only to find themselves not only arrested, but also blamed for the murder of the shopkeeper’s grandson.
Though Garrow manages to at least save the lives of his clients and finally expose Forrester’s evil deeds, he falls out with well-meaning Southouse due to his arrogance and hot temper, deeply disappointing and hurting his fatherly friend. By the end of the episode, William Garrow’s about as popular as the swine flu.
“Garrow’s Law” has obviously garnered a loyal fellowship within a very short time. That’s great, and they’re very curious and observant people! So I got more mails in a week than I usually get in two months. Here are some answers to the questions (and criticisms) I found in my mailbox; I hope the answers will be helpful.
“Who played the servant girl in episode 1, and where have I seen her before?”
The actress who played Elizabeth Jarvis, the servant girl accused of having murdered her bairn is Tessa Nicholson. The link goes to her IMDB profile; maybe you’ve seen her in one of the productions listed there?
“Who was THE MONSTER?”
Renwick Williams, the not-monster, was played by Joel Gillman. For more information about the actual case used for this episode, please read this very interesting article by Mark Pallis.
“There was this one guy with a beard who heckled Silvester. They had no beards in the 18th century?!”
Now that is a very good question! By no means am I an expert on hairstyles, but I’d say that it would have been highly unlikely to see a young man of some status (judging by his clothes, his presence in the court room and his company) to wear a beard. The 18th century was a very bad time for beards, so yes, I agree: that scene wasn’t realistic or historical correct, imo. I hate beards, though, so I’m biased. Beard-experts are welcome to come forward with further information.
“Why are some men wearing wigs and others aren’t?”
“Garrow’s Law” is set in the late 18th century; 1780s, I’d say. By that time, younger men would rather powder their own hair than wear a wig (unless it was, like in Garrow’s case, part of the dress code for his profession). While the portrayal of wig-wearing (or lack thereof) looks correct to me, I doubt that somebody like publisher Mr. Angerstein would have appeared in court without a wig. An older gentleman would stick with his wig, as it had been a symbol of rank and status for centuries. Then again, Mr. Angerstein wasn’t really a gentleman, now was he…!
“Hangedhangedhanged! WTF scriptwriter! Men are HANGED, not HUNG!”
As far as grammar is concerned, you are correct. However, if we take anatomy into consideration… next question, please!
Edited to add: looks like I was only half-right with my reply (well, as far as the grammar part is concerned). Mark Pallis gives a more thorough answer to the “hanged or hung” debate here.
For those interested, here are two links to interviews with actor Andrew Buchan, who plays William Garrow in “Garrow’s Law”.
He definitely doesn’t share our enthusiasm for pigtails and coats. Heh!
Jugglers, jesters and clowns are just some of the attractions at this year’s BBC Children in Need event in the North East of England, which will take place on Friday 20 November from 6.00 to 10.00pm at Hartlepool Maritime Experience, home of HMS Trincomalee.
The event will be broadcast live on BBC One North East during several special segments throughout the evening and will be hosted by BBC Tees‘ mid-morning presenter, Diane Youdale, and BBC Look North‘s Jeff Brown and Trai Anfield.
will be open for free entry during the broadcast and it is hoped visitors will join in the fun with fancy dress, and take part in the special fundraising events happening around HMS Trincomalee.
A new broom sweeps clean, so I didn’t dare to hope for episode two of “Garrow’s Law” to be quite on par with it’s stellar premiere. And I was right – it was actually better!
William Garrow (Andrew Buchan), now a celebrated Old Bailey barrister, is encouraged by John Southouse (Alun Armstrong) to defend Renwick Williams, accused of being the infamous Monster who has carried out a series of stabbings on young ladies across London. As a result, Garrow’s popularity diminishes with the public and the press. Even he describes Williams as a ‘lecherous libertine’ and his defence is not easy. Garrow’s growing friendship with Lady Sarah (Lyndsey Marshal) does not go unnoticed by her husband, Sir Arthur (Rupert Graves).
Customs, morals, standards and laws may change – but human nature doesn’t. The case of the “monster” in episode two of “Garrow’s Law” proves that once again. Whenever a heinous crime is committed, media and public are quick to put a dehumanising label on the perpetrator: “monster” or “beast” are very popular. Crimes, however, are committed by human beings – people just like you and I. An uncomfortable thought, belonging to the same subspecies with murderers, isn’t it? Who knows what we might be capable of, depending on the circumstances? Also Mr. Garrow finds affinity of nature in the most unexpected and unpleasant places, and it’s a good thing that Lady Sarah, who is the voice of his conscience, pushes him in the right direction. She may do so with gloved hands, but she’s very firm at pointing out that Garrow’s willingness to defend the accused is his duty and will make the difference between a trial and a lynching. Whether her assumption is correct remains to be seen…
Mr. Garrow is crossing the blade with John Julius Angerstein (Nicholas Day), publisher of the “Gazette”, the 18th-century equivalent of the Daily Mail and mouthpiece of the “decent, hard-working, law-abiding citizens of London”, voicing the public’s rage and self-righteous indignation. All is fair in politics and the sale of newspapers, so the truth is of no great importance in court, and Sir Arthur has his own reasons to wish for Mr. Garrow’s downfall. The public on the gallery, witnessing the trial, harrasses the accused’s mother, trims its sail to the wind, cheers for a witness one moment and boos her the next, and if these fine gentlefolks would live today, you’d find their outbursts on the comment pages of every newspaper and in the BBC’s own “Have Your Say” section.
There’s not one dull moment in this episode; new facts, obscure old laws and withheld information, in combination with the accused’s difficult and self-destructive character don’t help Garrow with his job. There are many highlights, but his interrogation of one of the “monster’s” victims is one of mynew favourite scenes on British television. I’m guilty of loud cheering in front of the telly, your Honour.
At the end of the day, guilt or innocence of the accused libertine aren’t of importance to court and public; if he’s not guilty of that crime, then he’s certainly guilty of some other or might commit one in future. So why not get him off the streets when given the opportunity? Saving his neck isn’t an easy task for Mr. Garrow, and he might be heading for a Pyrrhic victory.
Great acting all around; I have to mention here Joel Gillman as Renwick Williams and Carry Kelly as his mother Agnes. Andrew Buchan and Alun Armstrong give their characters’ interactions a wonderful dynamic, and Aidan McArdle (Silvester) and Michael Culkin (Judge Buller) are perfectly perfidious villains. “Garrow’s Law” is, without a doubt, one of the best period dramas the BBC has produced in ages.
And yes, Mr. Garrow gets more dashing by the episode. Where are my sal volatile and my fan…
You can catch up with the episodes of “Garrow’s Law” on the BBC’s iPlayer. You’ll also find character profiles and additional information there. Don’t forget to check the historical backhistory of the case of “the monster” by Mark Pallis, Legal & Historical Consultant of “Garrow’s Law”.
Let me introduce you to our new good friend, William Garrow (Andrew Buchan). No matter what your feelings about lawyers might be, I can only recommend that you’ll invite him into your homes on Sunday evenings.
“In an age where the defence counsel acted in the minority of cases the young Garrow championed the underdog and pioneered the rigorous cross-examination of prosecution that paved the way for our modern legal system of today.”
Three words: I loved it. “Garrow’s Law” does an outstanding job at re-creating 18th century London – it’s people, it’s politics, it’s intrigues, it’s life. Great care was put into authenticity, from fashion to language, and I was very happy to see that especially the latter lived up to my expectations. Keeping the language authentic for the time the series is set in yet also make it suitable for today’s audiences is hard work. “Garrow’s Law” chose the right way and didn’t censor every bit of life out of the dialogue.
The Old Bailey is presented as a circus, the law being handled by judges and prosecutors more interested in their own interests and agendas than in justice. Fobs and their ladies attend trials for their amusement, just the same as they would visit the theatre, and the (mostly poor) accused are little more than objects of ridicule or contempt for the upper class. It’s cruel, it’s sick, it’s rather accurate for that time, and if you have a look at today’s tabloids, you’ll notice that not much has changed – bread and circuses.
In the first episode, Garrow fails at saving an innocent man from the gallows. As tragic as it is, the incident leads to Garrow’s acquaintance with Lady Sarah Hill, the wife of influential MP Sir Arthur Hill, a right git. Garrow is neither overly fond of Sir Arthur nor of his equally twattish friends, but it’s obvious he’s rather taken by Lady Sarah (and who could blame him!). In following, Garrow tries to help Elizabeth Jarvis, a young servant girl who is accused of having murdered her newborn child. Lady Sarah offers to pay for Elizabeth’s defence, and so becomes Garrow’s “patron”. The build-up through the episode was very good, there wasn’t one boring moment and the story kept me on the edge of my seat . Though I hoped for one specific outcome, I really wasn’t sure what would finally happen; something I appreciate very much in a series.
With “Garrow’s Law”, the BBC brings us a series which manages to get social history, the history of law, classism in Britain, crime and suspense plus romance under one wig, and the most amazing thing: it actually works! It works wonderfully; there’s a number of interesting characters, some I know I’ll love to hate (here’s me looking at you, Judge Buller!), and with Lady Sarah Hill, we also get a woman who knows what she wants. The 18th century wasn’t the best time for women and their ambitions, so I’m curious to see how her ideas (and her romance) will progress.
And on a more shallow note: Mr. Garrow’s pretty dashing in his velvet coat, if I may say so. This series deserves fantastic ratings and a thriving fandom, period.