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Silk (BBC-1 2011-2014, Maxine Peake, Rupert Penry-Jones)



An all star cast led by Maxine Peake and Rupert Penry-Jones are heading to the bar for new legal drama Silk written by former barrister Peter Moffat who has based the series on his own experiences as a Silk.

The series revolves around Maxine Peake who plays Martha Costello, a single and determined defence barrister applying for Silk. Whilst fellow barrister Clive Reader (Penry-Jones), who came to the bar at the same time as Martha, is also applying for silk. Neil Stuke is senior clerk Billy who holds a candle for Martha but doesn’t believe she has what it takes to be a QC. Also in chambers are wannabe barristers Nick Slade and Niamh Cranitch but only one of these will make it through by the end of the series.

Writer Moffat said: ‘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.’

Legal dramas are very much back in vogue at the moment (although to be fair the strong and tense dramatic angle they always offer means they never really go out of fashion) and the casting is first rate, added to that a Peter Moffat script is always worth watching.

Incidentally Silk is a term that is linked to the fact that barristers, once they are made a QC, are allowed to wear coloured silk robes.

production details
UK | BBC One | 18×60 minutes | Broadcast from 22 February 2011 – – 31 March 2014

Writer: Peter Moffat
Executive Producer: Hilary Salmon
Producer: Cameron Roach

Maxine Peake as Martha Costello
Rupert Penry-Jones as Clive Reader
Neil Stuke as Billy Lamb
Nina Sosanya as Kate Brockman
Phil Davis as Micky Joy
Natalie Dormer as Niamh Cranitch