Archive for October, 2010

Garrow’s Law will return on 14th November, 2010!

According to Dominic Barlow, Executive Producer of Garrow’s Law series 2, our favourite barrister will return to our TV screens on


The very dashing Mr. Garrow (Andrew Buchan)

No time given yet, but I assume it will be the same time slot as last year. On BBC1, of course.

By now the BBC has put the press pack for the show online; the curious and interested can read spoilers, character statements and much more


And I have even more excellent news:


Silvester (Aidan McArdle, also very dashing) is back to hound Mr. Garrow. Or is he...?

I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but there will be a highly interesting – and unexpected! – development in the Garrow / Silvester relationship.

Bring it on, Auntie Beep, I can’t wait!

( Source )

31 October, 2010 at 8:48 pm Leave a comment

Ship in Need: Vote for the “Falls of Clyde”!

Hampton Hotels has a “Save-A-Landmark” program to support refurbishment of national landmarks. The “Friends of Falls of Clyde” have nominated this wonderful national historic landmark for a grant. A desperately needed grant, I have to add. Alas, the whole thing is a competitive arrangement, so I recommend/ask/beg you all to vote for the “Falls of Clyde”.




Launched in Scotland in 1878, Falls of Clyde is the last remaining four-masted, iron-hulled, full-rigged sailing oil tanker in the world. Many enthusiastic volounteers spend a lot of love, time and money to keep this wonderful ship alive.

Please help them to restore the ship to its former glory – one click is all it takes.

Thank you!


30 October, 2010 at 9:56 am 3 comments

And MORE Garrow’s Law – thar shall be sailors and mollies

I must say, Mr. Garrow sure keeps me on my toes today. The first reports from the recent screening for the press giving more details emerge.

BBC One hits back at Downton Abbey with Garrow’s Law return

I’m not sure the BBC has much to hit back there. Downtown Abbey has everything I should like, it’s well-made and there are excellent actors, but it just didn’t manage to captivate me. What can I say, I’m a fickle member of the audience.

Back to “Garrow’s Law”, though, and looking at the stories we can expect, the readers of this blog will very likely be as pleased as I am. And it’s also good to see the BBC doesn’t avoid themes which are usually skipped during history lessons. According to, we can expect Mr. Garrow to tackle, among other things:

  • Slavery through a massacre prosecuted as an insurance fraud (the previously mentioned Zong Massacre)
  • The grave implications of being gay in the 18th Century
  • The mistreatment of injured and disabled sailors in war campaigns

Those issues haven’t been chosen at random; they all have a very clear connection to our lives today. Unfortunately, some people are mentally still stuck in the 18th century. Take Michael Culkin (Judge Buller), for example, who is quoted as saying about the cast:

“The reason we’re such a happy gang? Because there’s only one woman in the cast.”

I see, somebody’s been to the Duke of Edinburgh’s School of Humour… you might want to have a look at your audience before making further comments of that kind. Personally, that one woman is of far more interest to me than you, Mr. Culkin. Consider yourself whacked on the head with my fan and fallen out of grace, Sir.

28 October, 2010 at 6:15 pm 1 comment

Garrow’s Law will return in week 46

The programme isn’t “placed” yet, but the BBC has announced that the first episode of four will be shown in week 46. For the full synopsis, please click the following link:

GARROW’S LAW – The First Episode

Thar will be spoilers! Abandon all hope, ye who scroll down this page!




The second series will start with a crime that the public in general prefers not to think about, and that’s slave trade. And the writers dug out an especially disgusting example for the way this “business” was handled, the notorious Zong Massacre. The traders were insured against the loss of their “goods”; if a slave died at sea, the trader would get compensated. If a slave died ashore, however, the trader would get nothing.

Captain Luke Collingwood (who is not, I repeat, IS NOT related or connected in any way, form or shape with our dear admiral!), confronted with the problem of a growing number of sick slaves aboard his ship, decided it would be in everybody’s best interest if they died in a way that would secure the owner’s money, and so ordered his crew to throw them overboard. To Luke Collingwood, this was “getting rid of damaged cargo”. To us, this was  mass murder on 122 human beings who were thrown into the Atlantic ocean – for insurance reasons!

Mr. Garrow (who, in real life, wasn’t involved with this case, as far as I can tell), gets right in the middle of the ugliness that is slavery. Whose side will he be on, considering that all sides profiting from slave trade were revolting? The testimony of a freed African slave turned campaigner called Gustavus Vassa (actually Olaudah Equiano) might tip the balance for Mr. Garrow.

Meanwhile, Mr. Southouse has lost his wife, we’re very saddened to learn, and is not in a good place. What can he expect from his future? Does he still have a future? And what part will Mr. Garrow play in it?

What happened to lovely Lady Sarah Hill? Sir Arthur Hill, who is now Assistant Secretary to the Admiralty (I hope for some navy uniforms, but I won’t hold my breath) grows convinced that his wife is in love with Mr. Garrow. Obviously, Amazon only now delivered the DVD of series 1 to him. He questions the paternity of his own son and kicks his wife out of his house, which is just about the daftest thing a cuckolded husband can do. Let’s face it, if it’s true, all his mates will point and laugh, and if not, he’ll look like a right git, not to talk about never winning his wife back. But we’re dealing with somebody working for the Admiralty here, so you won’t be surprised to learn that Sir Arthur Hill tries to drag Mr. Garrow in front of the judge for adultery.

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.

Now, wait a second… where is Silvester (Aidan McArdle)?!

28 October, 2010 at 3:02 pm 2 comments

Garrow’s Law: DVD of series 2 available for pre-order!

We don’t even know when we’ll get to see series 2 of “Garrow’s Law” (no mention of it for the first week of November – BBC, stop teasing us!), but the DVD is already available for pre-order! Guess who just placed an order…

Difficult to decide what I like more here – Mr. Southouse’s splendid brocade waistcoat, Lady Sarah Hill’s gorgeous dress and hat or Mr. Garrow’s cravat!
Then again, maybe it’s not that difficult…

The DVD will be released on 7th February, 2011. Thanks a lot to anonymouse for the tip.

22 October, 2010 at 9:26 am 2 comments

Garrow’s Law: Cleaning up London for Sunday

The following article is certainly of interest to technophiles, but all those of us who are eagerly waiting for the second series of “Garrow’s Law”. Gavin Struthers, Director of Photography, talks about his work on set. There are some pictures from series two, but I wouldn’t consider them spoilerish – it’s common knowledge that Mr. Garrow (Andrew Buchan) is quite dashing even when he looks grumpy.


“18th Century London was very dirty, noisy and smokey but in designing the ‘look’ it was important to remember the TX slot, this was a Sunday night BBC1 show, it had to sit comfortably in that slot but push boundaries, something the first series did exceptionally well. I added some dutched angles where appropriate and looked to using wide lenses for closeups where possible.”

Bring on the clean rags and fleeless wigs!

21 October, 2010 at 8:19 pm 2 comments

Trafalgar – the 13 year-old Veteran

Helicopter parents are advised to hit the back button now. If you’re worried about leaving your 13 year old in the living room without supervision for ten minutes, the following tale might traumatise you.

“The One True Story of the Battle of Trafalgar” doesn’t exist. There are as many stories as there were people, ships and nations involved. And, not to forget, the historians writing about it! Nelson’s legendary signal before the battle, “England expects that every man will do his duty”, was also addressing the youngsters serving in the navy. Ship’s boys. Powder monkeys. And midshipmen.

Regulars of this blog will know the tragic story of young Norwich Duff who, at 13 years of age, saw his father die next to him, and whose letter to his mother with the sad news is probably telling us just as much about Trafalgar as documents of naval strategies.

From our modern point of view, the mere thought of sending a 13 year old to war is lunacy. It goes completely against our concept of protecting children (and rightly so!). But back in the 18th, early 19th century, a 13 year old midshipman wasn’t a child anymore – he was a “young gentleman”, with all the rights that came with the status – but also with all the responsibilities. No hiding behind barrels when the cannon balls came a-flying – a midshipman was expected to be on deck, like any other officer, not showing any fear – a role model for the men.

In a recent episode of “The Antiques Roadshow”, I came across the story of a 13 year old midshipman who had served in HMS Defiance during the Battle of Trafalgar, under the command of Captain Philip Charles Durham. Now most of you will think of Jack Spratt, the middie who fought alone against the Aigle until men and officers of the Defiance came to his help. His story will be told some other time, though.

The midshipman I’m talking about here was Spencer Smyth. He had joined the navy at 11, the same age as Collingwood first went to sea. Little did Smyth know that, centuries later, his great-great-great-grandson would take his naval service medal to the Antiques Roadshow! (My thanks to the gentleman in question, by the way).

The medal  is exceptional, but what really made this little bit of historical information so interesting was the fact that Mr. Smyth’s descendant  also brought a picture of his ancestor along, showing him with fellow veterans of the Battle of Trafalgar. You can see him on the left, sitting under Nelson’s portrait.

The gentleman said that he didn’t know what year the picture had been taken, but that he thought Smyth must have been well in his seventies. Now, the NMM has two pictures of Smyth in it’s possession, unfortunately none of them are available online. One is titled “Last survivors in the year 1880 of Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October, 1805“,  though, so I wouldn’t rule out that the picture was taken during a veteran meeting on 21st October in 1880 and Smyth actually was 89 years old!

We read about and discuss history – but Smyth was there. He was part of that history. He’s seen it all with his own eyes. I guess that’s what makes the picture so special – it’s not a pompous painting, it’s a simple snapshot of a veteran who experienced in person what we only know from books.

And what happened to young master Smyth later on in his life? I wish I could tell you; my research wasn’t very successful. He made his career in the navy, was wounded as a lieutenant in the Battle of Navarino (1827) which earned him promotion to Commander. He became an admiral  in 1878/79 and died in 1880. He married Martha Edmonds, the daughter of the Superintendent Master at Portsmouth and sister of a fellow officer. The navy, it seems, runs in the family.

Smyth must also have had a bit of artistic talent; he made the following watercolour of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The NMM also provides a picture based on one of his sketches. Another drawing, this time of a church, can be found here.

21 October, 2010 at 12:57 am 3 comments

Movie Tip: A Very Dashing Genius – “GOETHE!”

Some say I find a  nautical link in everything I write about, and I’m beginning to fear that it’s true. This time, it’s Emma Lady Hamilton, and if I say that she crossed the path of a genius in Italy, you’d probably take Nelson for 500, wouldn’t you?


I’m talking about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He was a guest at Lord Hamilton’s house and witnessed one of Emma’s performances:

“The performance is like nothing you have ever seen before. With a few scarves and shawls she expressed a variety of wonderful transformations. One pose after another without a break.”

What Da Vinci was for his time, Goethe was for his. Interested in a million things, brilliant and gifted, he was one of the most important personalities of the 18th century. So I guess you’d be delighted if I’d write a lengthy article now about Weimar Classicism and lawyers, right?

I thought so. Very well, have a movie instead:


The story: Young Goethe is not yet the successful poet and writer that he’d eventually become, and he’s only reluctantly studying to become a lawyer. His father, upset with his son’s attitude, sends him to live in the province and become a civil servant. But life in the country is not that bad, after all, for Goethe meets a young woman – Lotte. He’s falling madly in love with her, especially as she encourages him to follow his dream and become a poet.

What Goethe doesn’t know: Lotte is already engaged to his superior, Kestner, and so the tender love between Goethe and Lotte is doomed.

Yes, we can see the attraction.

It is thought that this episode in his life inspired Goethe to write his novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, which was a  huge success and caused “Werther Fever” (today we’d probably call it “fan craze”) and the first known examples of copycat suicides.  It was also responsible for a very early example of fanfiction – author Friedrich Nicolai wrote “The Joys of Young Werther”, “in which Albert, having realized what Werther is up to, had loaded chicken blood into the pistol, thereby foiling Werther’s suicide, and happily concedes Lotte to him.”

“Goethe!” opened yesterday, and I hope I’ll find the time to watch the movie and post a review very soon. I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is not going to be the “100% historically accurate biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe”  but rather “18th Century Costume RomComDrama”. Now, I’m all for historical accuracy, but this will probably get more people into the cinemas and maybe interested in Goethe than some dusty biopic. Plus – dashing men in 18th century garb, how could I resist?

Excellent actors have been casted  – Alexander Fehling as Goethe, Moritz Bleibtreu as Albert Kestner, Burghart Klaussner as the father of Goethe’s love interest Lotte Buff (Miriam Stein) and Henry Hübchen as Goethe’s father, so at least in the acting department, I trust that I won’t be disappointed.

The German-speaking readers of this blog will very likely appreciate the following screencap as much as I do – I consider printing a poster…



15 October, 2010 at 11:29 pm 3 comments

… and “Garrow’s Law” extras again…

While I have no idea what series two will bring, it’s already safe to say that a lot of very lovely ladies (and gents, though most would probably protest the word “lovely”) have been casted. By that I don’t only mean “very nice to look at”, but also “characters fitting the historical setting”. An otherwise fine movie can be ruined if the actors are too “modern” looking.

Here are some pictures of people who fit perfectly into the 18th century.


“Garrow’s Law” obviously makes people jump with delight…!

The very dashing Mr. Garrow (Andrew Buchan. Ditto.)

And when can we expect to welcome Mr. Garrow back on our screens?

Rumours say “November”, with the release of the DVD taking place in the same month, but I haven’t seen or heard anything about this from an official source yet. I can’t wait to see the episode with Sam West, and “Nelson vs. Garrow” is still top of my list for “cases I’d like to see turned into an episode” (here’s me keeping one eye on a possible third series…)

And please take a moment to visit the blog of Mark Pallis, who has exciting news regarding the bonus features on the DVD for series 2!

1 October, 2010 at 10:25 pm 2 comments


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