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Justice: A Libel Among Friends (ITV 23 Feb 1973, with Donald Houston)



In A Libel Amongst Friends a pair of councillors, Mr Fielding and Miss Stephens, have allowed their feud to enter the courtroom. To complicate matters the pair were once romantically involved. Fielding has brought a libel against Stephens over a land deal which he says Miss Stephens is claiming he acted fraudulently over.

Most of the episode takes place in the courtroom, according to that weeks TV Times the episode was a specially written one putting the audience directly in the court so that they could make up their own minds as to who was the guilty party. It’s true too, evidence is only revealed under examination and cross-examination.

And yes Harriet does find herself going up against Sir John in the courtroom once again – it’s starting to very much stretch the bounds of credibility.

The episode really belongs to Sir John though who shows just how mean he can be in court when he pushes Miss Stephens to the brink over her sex-life. At the age of forty Fielding is the first man she has slept with. In the end though it doesn’t work in his favour as it makes the judge sympathetic to Miss Stephens.

Ronald Leigh-Hunt and Barbara Leigh-Hunt are real life cousins. This was Ronald’s second appearance on Justice, he had previously played dishevelled lawyer George Bryant in season one episode By Order of the Magistrates. Here he is all business as the upright Colonel Watson. Excellent unsung character actor George Waring pops up as fellow councillor Mr Martin. Waring, who is in pretty much every early 1970’s show going, was no stranger to courtrooms being a regular on Six Days of Justice around this time.

production details
UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Friday 23 February 1973 at 9.00pm

Writer: Bill Macilwraith / Production Design: Jane Martin / Director: Tony Wharmby

Series: Justice Season 2 Episode 3

Margaret Lockwood as Harriet Peterson
John Stone as Dr Ian Moody
Philip Stone as Sir John Gallagher
Donald Houston as Mr Fielding
Barbara Leigh-Hunt as Miss Stephens
Ronald Leigh-Hunt as Colonel Watson
George Waring as Councillor Martin
Michael Bilton as Mr Forbes
John Bryans as Clerk of Chambers