Next time the Downton Abbey faithful in the UK get upset that American critics saw a clip of the upcoming series 4 before anyone saw in the UK, I might be inclined to point out that the brilliant BBC legal drama has run for two series on BBC One before U.S. audiences got even a shot at a series 1 broadcast. Finally, what BBC viewers have witnessed for two years will cross the pond this Sunday as PBS’ Masterpiece series premieres Silk, starring Maxine Peake (Criminal Justice), Rupert Penry-Jones (Persuasion, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Spooks), Neil Stuke (Reggie Perrin) and Natalie Dormer (The Tudors).
Peake is Martha Costello, a thirty-something, single, passionate defense barrister applying for silk. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ are four words she lives by. Clive Reader, played by Penry-Jones, is funny, gifted and dangerous. Both are applying for silk, or appointment to the Queen’s Counsel, so how they perform in court is vital to this process and Clive knows how to play the game.
Created and written by Bafta award-winning writer and former barrister, Peter Moffat, Silk provides an true insider’s view into this morally complex world of the British criminal justice system. Moffat explained: “Silk is based on my experience at the bar. I want to tell it as it really is. The extreme pressure, the hard choices, the ethical dilemmas, the overlap between the personal and the professional, principles fought for and principles sacrificed, the Machiavellian politics, the sex, the drinking, the whole story – life at the bar is the richest possible drama territory.”
Silk 3 to air this Autumn on BBC One.
Don’t fret, however, if you are a UK fan of Silk. Series three is currently wrapping up production and will air on BBC One this Autumn. As evidence of the fact, series star, Rupert Penry-Jones tweeted out this set pic the other day. It definitely is a good day on both sides of the pond….unless, of course, you’re a Downton Abbey fan (im)patiently awaiting the series 4 premiere, obviously.