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Radio / The Trials of Marshall Hall

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A BBC Radio series, dramatising five true cases of Sir Edward Marshall Hall, a famous barrister of the early twentieth century.

This show contains examples of:

  • Composite Character: In "The Camden Town Murder", Sir Edward cross-examines a baker. In the real case, this was done by the instructing solicitor, Arthur Newton.
  • Downer Ending: "A Death at Christmas". Sir Edward's client is sentenced to death, his appeal fails, and the law on criminal insanity is not reformed for another thirty years.
  • Insanity Defence: "A Death at Christmas".
  • Large Ham: Sir Edward was well-known for his theatrical style. Tom Baker plays him to the hilt.
  • Narrator: Each show is introduced and narrated by John Mortimer.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Leave. The brief. Here."
  • Unconventional Courtroom Tactics: Sir Edward demonstrates various methods of distracting the jury when the prosecution makes a telling point. Among them are noisily blowing his nose, knocking over a carafe of water, and blowing up an inflatable cushion.
  • The Watson: Mostyn, Sir Edward's clerk.