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on 10 April 2011
How much did I want not to enjoy this, since I am in the business? A huge amount. And how much did I actually enjoy it? About as much. What you mustn't do is take it as gospel or anything like it. Yes, there are quite a lot of little bits of reality (falling asleep over files was one that got me, and the clerks' mantra about never turning down work) but certainly even allowing for the practitioners being in a different area of law a lot of it seems to me to be WAY off beam. In terms of sexism, level playing field for those who do not have family members in the job and equal opportunities generally the programme suggests to me that the writer may have been out of touch for 20 years or so. But of course it makes for much better drama. So too does the fairly terrible cross-examination - have the writers never heard of the basic principle: "dont ask a question to which you don't know the answer"? But again - it is more fun the way they do it - and it provides great illuatrations of the hideous things which can happen if you don't prepare properly. They have also caught the tacit competition between different barristers nicely - but seem to have completely missed the friendship element - no-one seems to have any close friends in chambers - which is not real at all! And I think (I really believe) that the ethical side of it is way, way from the truth. Generally well acted - and I thought Maxine Peake conveyed the stress and exhaustion pretty well. She could have done with bigger bags under her eyes though...
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on 28 June 2011
This is a nicely nuanced show, extremely well acted, and convincing overall. Rupert Penry-Jones is just perfect as the supercilious, somewhat patronizing "blue blood" barrister who nevertheless admires his plucky "red brick" rival, equally well played by Maxine Peake. I'm not quite sure if any one of the excellent cast steals the show, but Neil Stuke as the clerk of chambers is certainly well in the running.
It's very much of an ensemble production, where the characters are every bit as important as the cases, if not more so. In fact, the cases themselves are not that remarkable, so that it's the personal character traits that drive the series forward. I could have done without the rather ridiculous housebreaker intruding into the proceedings with his absurdly exaggerated fixed grimace, but then that's a minor quibble.
Overall, the setup feels very convincing, and the now clichéd portrayal of the gentlemanly world of barristers has been well toned down to reflect the modern world. Not a masterpiece, but a very refreshing and enjoyable offering. Hopefully there will be more to come.
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on 23 July 2012
Silk - Series 1 [DVD] Real to the core. I used to work in Chambers for a few years and I can't think of one character that isn't depicted in such a vibrant and altogether exciting pot of plots and very few if any calumny of facts and experiences. A well written and acutely directed and photographed show.
Series two is even better.
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on 30 March 2011
Fantastic! The best drama to come from the BBC in a long time, and a second series will be soon to follow! The fantastic Maxine Peake stars as Martha Costello who is hoping to become a member of the Queens Counsel - taking silk. The series also stars Rupert Penry-Jones her plays her bitter rival. Each episode revolves around a gripping court case. Written by Peter Moffat the storylines are believable and keep you gripped throughout. Maxine Peake deserves much much more recognition after this brilliant performance.
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on 30 March 2011
I like other people thought it was going to be dull viewing, but how wrong I was. great acting as usual from Maxine Peake, Rupert Penry-Jones. It was a bit like reading a book, slow to get into, but by the middle, couldn't wait for more and found myself thoroughly enjoying it. hope they do a follow up!
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on 18 June 2011
An interesting barrister/courtroom drama - the interaction and back stabbing from the lawyers was believable and the cases that came to court were dramatic and intriguing. However, it only gets three stars from me because it was predictable. It doesn't take more than one guess to come up with who was going to make silk at the end of the series.
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VINE VOICEon 20 May 2012
Someone recommended this to me as a series that would give an accurate picture of life at the criminal bar. As a lawyer, I've managed after two episodes to make sense of it. It's the story of a female barrister in her mid 30s who is outstandingly incompetent and managing not very successfully to cover up her laziness and lack of skill. It is presumably some sort of running joke that her clerk says that she's really excellent and that one day she'll become a silk (a QC) even though we see her defending her first rape case (the sort of thing that in real life she'd have done a dozen times by her age) and doing it very badly. We see a solicitor being very rude to her and her clients being rude to her and accusing her of not being very good at her job - in real life, you'd really have to be appallingly bad to suffer such indignities, and you'd be giving up the job and retraining as an accountant. We see the usual cliches of young female pupils sleeping with their pupil-masters (no unique insights there) and we have the oft repeated "hasn't anyone told you, innocent until proved guilty?" which is the soft of thing lawyers don't actually say, because it doesn't mean what laymen reckon it means. We see barristers indulging in silly games of rhetoric and one upmanship, which wouldn't happen, and we see barristers being rude or offhand to their clients, which doesn't happen. Please, someone tell me that this idiotic series gets better if you persevere with it?
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VINE VOICEon 21 April 2011
Not as good as some other recent legal drama's like Garrow's Law and the US's The Good Wife but an enjoyable legal romp that was fun to watch as long as you don't take it quite a seriously as its presented. Much as with Spooks; good fun but a bit daft in places.

The basic premise is we follow the workings of a legal chambers and specifically Martha Costello (Maxine Peak) and Clive Reader (Rupert Penry-Jones) who are looking to gain Silk; be qualified as a QC.

The episode formats are to follow a legal case, some of which return later, along with the office politics / rivalries in chambers and specifically the pursuit of silk, the position of the Chief Clark and which young intern will be taken on full time. The personal relationship in chambers come under scrutiny and are a significant part of the series.

Not knowing that much about how legal chambers work they could have done with a better dummy's guide to the interns (us) early on but you do pick up how it works over the series.

The interns competition is an idea nicked straight from The Good Wife but doesn't work quite as well here and I found I wanted the wrong intern to win i.e. not Maratha's. I found him quite annoying. I think you were supposed to and then warm to him but I didn't. I found his kleptomania interesting and motive understandable but difficult to see how he could get away with it - either being caught there and then or traced later.

The legal cases are good and serious with plenty of drama and legal twists. It's all the internal office fighting that makes me say don't take it too seriously. I'm sure it exists but the way it is presented almost everyone ends up fighting everyone else and it can end up a bit over powering and a little comical at times. Having said that the finale was very good and Perry-Jones's selfish manoeuvrings were great fun throughout. I didn't find the personal drama that effective, certainly in the way it was concluded.

Maxine Peak is always good to watch and plays the hard working worthy solicitor well but Rupert Penry-Jones steals the show a little with his charming, unscrupulous, duplicitous, self serving character. Well done for him for not taking on a straight leading man role. It's also good to see Neil Stuke on screen and he plays his part as the Chief Clark/Manipulator superbly.

Overall not quite as dramatic as Garrow's Law nor marrying up the elements as well as the Good Wife but still an enjoyable watch.
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on 10 June 2012
Before I ordered Silk series one, I read several reviews all of which were favourable. In particular, Maxine Peake was praised for her portrayal of a dedicated barrister. Neill Stuke, as the wily practice clerk puts in a convincing performance, while Rupert Penry-Jones is his usual suave and charming self as another barrister. On the basis of viewing just one episode, I ordered series two.
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on 28 May 2012
Creator Peter Moffatt has made a big deal of wanting to create an authentic look at the profession, but he has failed: "Silk" is unrealistic, its characters cliches we've seen a hundred times before -- the rough-around-the-edges but canny clerk named Billy; the clients who would rather be convicted than reveal some terrible secret; Rupert Penry-Jones doing Rupert Penry-Jones (probably not his fault -- it's what he keeps getting hired to do). And some of the tired dialogue devices are truly wince-inducing.
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