1 9 6 4 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
There has to be some element of the detective in every good lawyer. So when Edward Grierson, a solicitor living in Northumberland, heard talk about a long-closed case which looked to him suspiciously like a piece of sharp practice by a police officer, he could not resist ferreting around a little.
The results of his investigations – with names, locale and period changed – provided the material for his successful novel, The Massingham Affair.
The book was dramatised by Rex Tucker as a six-part television serial for transmission on BBC2 in Autumn 1964, which was repeated on BBC1 in January 1965.
The setting is a remote rural area of Yorkshire towards the end of the 19th century, where poaching is rife. A policeman is shot dead when he surprises a gang of poachers at work, and very soon afterwards a clergyman is shot and wounded in the course of a burglary.
Two men – Mick Kelly (Barry Wilsher) and Pat Milligan (George Little) – are arrested for the wounding, and the local police superintendent is determined to pin the murder on them as well so that their sentences can serve as a warning to the whole poaching fraternity.
But a young solicitor’s clerk has his doubts and begins his own inquiry.
Justin Derry, the rookie lawyer who is prepared to risk his whole professional and social future to uncover what he conceives to be a case of police ‘railroading’, is played by Lyndon Brook. His adversary, the hectoring and supremely confident Superintendent Blair is played by Andrew Keir.
The Lawless Element | A Tradition of Justice | The Breakthrough | Parting of the Ways | A Tangle of Lies | The Finishing Touch