Judge John Deed

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Product information

Judge John Deed is a British legal drama television series produced by the BBC in association with One-Eyed Dog for BBC One. It was created by G.F. Newman and stars Martin Shaw as Mr Justice Deed, a High Court judge who tries to seek real justice in the cases before him. It also stars Jenny Seagrove as the barrister Jo Mills QC, frequently the object of Deed's desire. A pilot episode was broadcast on 9 January 2001, followed by the first full series on 26 November 2001. The sixth and last series concluded on 18 January 2007. The programme then went on an indefinite break after Shaw became involved in another television programme, and he and Seagrove expressed a wish for the format of the series to change before they filmed new episodes. By 2009, the series had officially been cancelled.

The factual accuracy of the series is often criticised by legal professionals and journalists; many of the decisions taken by Deed are unlikely to happen in a real court. The romanticised vision of the court system created by Newman caused a judge to issue a warning to a jury not to let the series influence their view of trials—referring to an episode where Deed flouts rules when called up for jury service. A complaint was made by a viewer about one episode claiming biased and incorrect information about the MMR vaccine, leading the BBC to unilaterally ban repeats of it in its original form. All six series (with the exception of the two banned episodes from Series Five) have been released on DVD in the UK.


Premise

See also: List of Judge John Deed episodes
Sir John Deed (played by Martin Shaw) is a recently appointed High Court judge who actively seeks justice in the cases before him, while at the same time trying to rekindle an old romance with former pupil Jo Mills QC (played by Jenny Seagrove), who regularly appears in his court. Deed is described by creator and writer G.F. Newman as a character who "speaks out against all the petty rules and bureaucracy that frustrates us all but that most of us don't speak out against". Because of Deed's unorthodox actions, he is often hampered in his pursuit of justice by several more conventional-minded characters, including his ex-wife, barrister Georgina "George" Channing QC (played by Caroline Langrishe); her father Appeals Court Judge, Lord Justice (Sir Joseph) Channing (played by Sir Donald Sinden), fellow High Court Judges Mr Justice (Sir Monty) Everard (played by Simon Ward) and Mr Justice (Sir Michael) Niven (played by Trevor Bowen), the Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD, later Department of Constitutional Affairs) Sir Ian Rochester (played by Simon Chandler); and later the Home Secretary Neil Haughton MP (played by Nick Reding and later Aneirin Hughes).

Other recurring characters include Deed's rebellious, animal rights activist daughter Charlie (played by Louisa Clein), who is initially a law student but later progresses to the courts; Deed's police friend, deputy assistant commissioner Row Colemore (played by Christopher Cazenove); and his clerk, Rita "Coop" Cooper (played by Barbara Thorn), who is often on hand to temper some of his more radical ideas. Rita "Coop" was involved in many scenes of the show and was shown frequently in Judge John Deed advertisements. The first three series of the programme have a self-contained structure, with a trial reaching its conclusion by the end of an episode. In later years, the series added a serialised format, with stories running over a number of episodes and a greater focus on the personal lives of characters other than Deed, with the main case concluding in each episode.

Episodes in AVI format.

Technical specifications

Weight 0.18kg

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