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Stuttering BBC legal drama Silk is axed

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Third series of BAFTA-winning Inns of Court drama will be its last.

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Since its return to screens last month, Silk has felt less like a critically-acclaimed example of British TV excellence and more a legal version of The Bill.

While previous series have yielded some decent action, this time around the story lines have felt formulaic — with series three so far dominated by star QC Martha Costello’s super hero-like brilliance. As she has won the day, over and over again with schmaltzy victory after schmaltzy victory, many members of the legal profession have found themselves switching off.

For whatever reason, Silk seems to have lost its mojo. Indeed, how distantly it has come to resemble anything even vaguely reflecting the reality of the Bar is a surprise given that its creator, Peter Moffat, is a former barrister.

So it isn’t a huge shock that the show has been brought to an end, with series three’s final episode on Monday 31 March to be Silk’s last. Yesterday Moffat gave this explanation:

“It has been a complete joy to work with a group of actors as good as this and with a lead actress who I consider to be the best there is.

“The main characters in Silk all have personal and professional stories which are coming to a natural conclusion at the end of this current series — it would be dishonest as a writer, and unfair to the integrity of the show and everyone involved in it, to prolong the series beyond what I hope is a powerful and compelling denouement.”

But for Neil Stuke, the actor who plays the most convincing character in Silk, senior clerk Billy Lamb, the end of the show was less a “natural conclusion” and more an axing. Still, he appears to have other glamorous projects on the go.

The good news for Silk fans is that there will be a new BBC Radio 4 Silk spin-off that will focus on life in the clerks’ room. The first episode will air on 1 April at 2:15pm.

In the meantime, lovers of legal drama may want to check out this radio play that aired on Radio 4 yesterday featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as a young Rumpole of the Bailey.