This first Crown Court serial feels somewhat different to what would come later. For one thing, the familiar theme music (Distant Hills) is noticeably absent.
There’s also a fair amount of whispered chat in the courtroom as Mr Frost (George Waring) has a good old natter to Barry Deeley (John Atkin). He helpfully explains to Frost (and the viewers) various bits of procedure. This was dropped from the series as presumably it was felt the audience would be able to understand how the court functions without these prompts.
Mr Simpson, one of Fulchester’s leading chartered accountants, died after walking out of hospital (he had previously been involved in a car accident). His widow (played by Petra Davies) is suing the hospital for damages.
Mrs Simpson is the very model of middle class respectability and it’s easy to see that Mr Justice Waddingham (Ernest Hare) is rather taken with her. After James Elliot QC (Charles Keating) asks her a somewhat awkward question she appeals to Waddingham and the question isn’t pressed. This seems a little off.
Mrs Simpson comes across as a perfect witness. A little too perfect for me ….
The hawk-like Jonathan Fry QC (David Neal) is representing Mrs Simpson in her quest for damages and next calls an expert witness – Dr Sissons (Basil Dignam). Dignam would return to Crown Court – albeit as the top dog (he’d later play Mr Justice Poynter).
Another unusual aspect of this first serial is the way the action moves outside the courtroom every so often. This wouldn’t happen again in the early stories as they were firmly (and claustrophobically) courtroom bound.