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Justice (1971-74)

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment Ltd

Main image of Justice (1971-74)
Yorkshire Television for ITV, tx. 8/19/1971-16/8/1974
39 x 52 minute episodes, colour
Directors includeJames Ormerod
 Christopher Hodson
Writers includeBill MacIlwraith
 John Batt
 James Mitchell

Cast: Margaret Lockwood (Harriet Peterson), John Stone (Bill Moody), Philip Stone (Sir John Gallagher), Anthony Valentine (James Eliot), John Bryans (Bill Corletti), Rosie Collins (Rosie)

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The cases of a tough and determined woman barrister, first based in the North of England and then in London, and her turbulent love affair with a doctor.

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Following the success of The Main Chance (ITV, 1969-75), Yorkshire Television's head of drama Peter Willes assigned many of the same production personnel to Justice, chiefly scriptwriters Edmund Ward and James Mitchell, legal consultant John Batt and directors John Frankau and Christopher Hodson. Both series feature headstrong lawyers working in the North of England who clash with authority and have a bumpy love life. However, the similarities end there, as Justice is really an old-fashioned vehicle for the 1930s and '40s film star Margaret Lockwood, who appears glamorously coiffed and attired throughout.

The series was derived from the earlier one-off drama Justice is a Woman (ITV, tx 4/9/1969), in which Lockwood plays the no-nonsense barrister Julia Stanford, who successfully defends a young man accused of killing a Scottish girl he got pregnant. For the series, the title was shortened and Lockwood's character re-named Harriet Peterson, but the premise remained unchanged. Forced to work as a barrister after her husband (played by William Franklyn) is sent to prison, Harriet's diligence, determination and passionate belief in her clients soon make her a success in the courtroom. Her cases veer from international espionage and shipping to more mundane cases of drink driving and burglary, with Harriet as likely to defend a professional burglar one week as a Greek shipping magnate the next, certainly keeping the storylines fresh. Her private life is less successful, however, a recurring theme being the tribulations of her on-off relationship with Dr Ian Moody (played by John Stone, at the time Lockwood's real-life partner of several years).

At the end of the first series, Harriet leaves the northern court circuit and moves to London. The cast of regulars was expanded to include the bumbling head of chambers Sir John Gallagher (who in 'Tresspass to the Person', tx 4/5/1973, proposes to Harriet), the clerk with the bluff exterior Bill Corletti, and the scatterbrained secretary Rosie. The third and final series is probably the best remembered, thanks to the addition of the young, high-flying barrister James Eliot (played by Anthony Valentine), which added a touch of vigour to the show. In the final episode, having already been made a QC and now head of chambers, Harriet finally accepts Moody's latest marriage proposal. In real-life, Lockwood and Stone parted not long after the series ended.

The thoroughly appropriate theme music, given Lockwood's distinctly aristocratic performance, was William Walton's 'Crown Imperial'.

Sergio Angelini

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Video Clips
1. Off the stand (2:19)
2. Dr Lomax's testimony (4:26)
3. Aspirations (3:40)
4. A confession (2:01)
Complete episode - 'Trial for Murder' - Part 1 (16:09)
Part 2 (23:38)
Part 3 (11:43)
Main Chance, The (1969-75)
Lockwood, Margaret (1916-1990)
Walton, Sir William (1902-1983)
Legal Drama