The jury's in again as 'Crown Court' returns to TV screens

It was one of the most successful daytime television dramas ever created and launched the careers of dozens of actors who went on to become household names.

Now Crown Court is set to return with a rerun of the 250 cases that gripped daytime television audiences between 1972 and 1985. The repeat screening will give new audiences a chance to review the youthful talents of the likes of Ben Kingsley, Juliet Stevenson, Nigel Havers, Mark McManus, Vivien Merchant and Brenda Fricker, who all appeared in the fictional Fulchester Crown Court in south London.

Producers at Legal TV, which is to bring back all 800 episodes, believe Crown Court's appeal spanned all generations and classes because of the controversial issues tackled in the cases and the use of a real jury which meant the endings were always unscripted. The unflinching storylines meant characters stood trial for rape, terrorism, and racist crimes - sensitive and controversial issues rarely covered in 1970s television.

Among the regular barristers to appear at Fulchester Crown Court was Bernard Gallagher who played the tough but very fair Jonathan Fry QC. Dorothy Vernon helped to give the show a little lunchtime sex appeal as the lawyer Helen Tate. Writers included the playwright John Godber and Jeremy Sandford, who wrote Cathy Come Home.

Crown Court was devised as part of ITV's plan to add a further 20 hours of television to the weekly schedule. Instead of gearing the programmes towards an assumed audience, the schedule brought a standard mix of genres to daytime TV. But it was Crown Court, the forerunner of modern legal dramas such as Kavanagh QC and Judge John Deed, which proved a serious subject matter given a dramatic twist could entertain millions of people every day.

A typical dramatic device employed by the programme's writers was to play on the audience's prejudices. In one three-parter called "Sugar and Spice", the backgrounds of a spiky-haired punk rocker and a well-spoken public schoolgirl were brought before the jury in the case of a very nasty mugging.

Viewers automatically assumed that the punk was the initiator of the attack and had coerced her apparently meek friend into the crime. It turned out that the public schoolgirl was responsible for the crime after a wily lawyer successfully antagonised her to the point where she showed her real character in the witness box.

Simon Haveland, the head of production at Legal TV, said: "I remember watching the original shows while 'sick' from school. The storylines were so addictive that I often tried to extend my illness for the rest of the week to see the outcome.

"My nan used to love the show too, which wasn't very cool from my perspective, but looking back it was incredibly clever that they managed to appeal to such a wide audience. We know that attraction is still there."

The prosecution will open for the first case at 9am on Monday 2 October on Legal TV and will continue six days a week with an omnibus edition on a Sunday.

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
News
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
News
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
people
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
Voices
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
voices
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel your sales role is l...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Account Director / AD

£Competitive + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Director with a ba...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?