BBC Press Release on new legal drama


As we revealed earlier this morning Maxine Peake and Rupert Penry-Jones will be starring in a new legal drama for the BBC (see here >> ). The BBC has now issued a press release for the drama, Silk, which reveals that the drama will also include Natalie Dormer, who played Anne Boleyn in Showtimes historical romp The Tudors while Silk will also star Neil Stuke and Tom Hughes.



Maxine Peake (Criminal Justice), Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks), Natalie Dormer (The Tudors), Tom Hughes (Sex, Drugs And Rock And Roll) and Neil Stuke (Reggie Perrin) star in Silk, a thrilling new drama series for BBC One about the lives, loves and hard cases facing barristers on the front line of criminal law, written by Bafta award-winning writer Peter Moffat (Criminal Justice, North Square).


Maxine Peake is Martha Costello, in her thirties, single, passionate and a defence barrister applying for silk. Innocent until proven guilty are four words she lives by. But how does this fundamental principle stand up to examination by clients who are sometimes good, sometimes bad and sometimes evil? Martha is faced with challenging cases and surprising clients. Her beliefs and prejudices, her conscience and her faith in the criminal justice system are tested to the limit over the course of the series. Former barrister Peter Moffat makes a return to BBC One, providing an insider’s view into this exciting, morally complex, highly-charged world.


“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.” – Peter Moffat


Joining Martha is Clive Reader, played by Rupert Penry-Jones. He’s funny, gifted and dangerous. The same age as Martha, they’re called to the bar together. Both are applying for silk – how they perform in court is vital to this process and Clive knows how to play the game.

Neil Stuke plays Billy, the senior clerk at Martha’s chambers. He is dedicated to Martha, even if secretly he believes that she hasn’t got a chance of being made a QC.Nick Slade, played by Tom Hughes is Martha’s pupil. Niamh Cranitch (Natalie Dormer) is assigned to Clive. Both are thrown in at the deep end and, as “baby barristers”, must sink or swim. Only one pupil will be taken on as a member of chambers at the end of the series. Who will it be and why? And how will Martha and Clive influence the outcome?


Silk was commissioned by Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One and Ben Stephenson, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning. The executive producer is Hilary Salmon (Criminal Justice, Five Days). Silk is directed (episodes 1 & 2) by Michael Offer (The Passion, Moses Jones) and is produced by Cameron Roach (Life On Mars, Moses Jones). The new six-part drama will commence filming in July. Silk will follow in the footsteps of successful BBC dramas such as Criminal Justice, Five Daughters and Luther.