New drama set in London divorce firm hits TV screens tomorrow

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Could The Split be the new Silk?

A new series portraying life in the fast-paced world of London’s divorce law scene hits television screens tomorrow.

The BBC’s latest legal offering, The Split, tells the story of the Defoe family — a ménage of some of the country’s leading divorce lawyers. However, loyalties are put to the test when Hannah Stern, a senior partner, joins a rival law firm, Noble & Hale, and faces her mother and sister on the opposing side of a high-profile divorce case.

The six-part series, which starts tomorrow (24 April) at 9pm on BBC1, also contains a few additional sub-plots, including the return of Oscar, the Defoe sisters’ long-lost father.

The Split features some familiar acting faces. The role of Hannah is played by Nicola Walker (Spooks and Four Weddings and a Funeral), while her sister Nina and mother Ruth are played by Annabel Scholey (Eastenders and Britannia) and Deborah Findlay (Collateral and Torchwood) respectively. Other TV stars include Stephen Mangan (Green Wing and Billy Elliott), who plays Hannah’s lawyer husband, Nathan.

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The Split’s creator, Abi Morgan, spoke to a number of family lawyers as part of her research. On this she said: “I was surprised at how complex and varied family law is — it’s not just divorces.” Morgan, who wrote scripts for the 2015 hit Suffragette, continued:

“There’s the complex world of pre-nups, which raises questions that make for an incredible story — legislating for an end when you’re at the beginning and in that bubble of love. Then there’s child arrangements and the rights of parents, surrogacy, issues around fertility. It suddenly felt like a very rich and complex world to interrogate.”

The Split’s inaugural episode comes four years (yes, we can’t believe it either) after fellow London-based legal drama Silk aired its final episode. The series, which proved popular among law students and lawyers alike, focused on the daily goings-on of fictional criminal set Shoe Lane Chambers.

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Sounds like complete dog shit.

Not Amused

There is a, genuinely, worrying lack of gender diversity in that photo.

I appreciate that may be true of the Family Division; but perhaps it shouldn’t be.

Distracted BAME

There is a lack of racial diversity too, but I guess because they are all women it doesn’t matter.


If you read the article, it relates to a family of divorce lawyers (mother, daughter and sister) – they’re almost certainly going to be of the same/similar race. Pipe down.


No reason why they can’t identify as black, Shaun King and Rachel Dolezal style…

Distracted BAME

Why couldn’t the family have been Asian? Or one of the sisters adopted? Or same mother but different baby daddies? This is 2018, if we’re going for diversity, lets do it 100%.


They’re the same family, according to the article, so it would be a bit weird if they’re all different races…

Very amused

That’s racist!


I’m gonna live forever!

Very amused

Agree. It seems to be quite blatantly sexist. No representation for men.


Erm, no it’s not true for the family division.


Will it show divorces involving those on benefits with mental health issues and the involvement of care support workers and vulnerable children?

Or will it focus on the less common high net wealth individuals and make law out to be a sexy profession…


What do you think? It is television.

Do you turn on the sports channel and see some local youths down the rec having a kickabout?

Do you turn on the food channel and see a parent heating up some baked beans and potato smiley faces?

Do you turn on the nature channel and see a documentary about the recent litter problems at the park duckpond?


Do you watch adult videos to see me and my trainee?


I watch videos on the internet but really I think of you and your trainees.

Child at heart

Baked beans and potato smiley faces are excellent. I’d happily tune in to watch that so I can reminisce about my lost youth while I’m stuck at my desk eating Pret soup for lunch and dinner…


Really funny. You’re really funny.


Waddya mean I’m funny?


It’s funny, y’know, the … the reply. It’s funny. You’re a funny guy.


Waddya mean? You mean the way I write? What?


It’s just, y’know, it’s … you’re just funny. It’s … you know, the way you use the examples and everything


I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?


F*ck you then.

Faintly Amused

Ah good, a whole family of high-flying London lawyers hiring their own. Good to see the BBC supporting equal access to the legal profession.

Not the Secret Barrister

I hope the entirety of the show is a bunch of moaning frumps invading the robing rooms to argue about care in full (whining) voice – as if it were their own personal con room – to the annoyance of barristers nationwide.

Nicholas O'Brien

Spot On !


Shocking lack of diversity from the BBC. Why should I pay the extortionate license fees when eskimos and Taoist panzer tanks continue to be vastly underrepresented in BBC shows?




I think this is the third such joke you have made on legal cheek; you started off well and are now declining fast…..

Family type

If the word “concern” isn’t used more than every other word in the English language then it’s totally unrealistic.

Great TV

They could have had a large family of adopted and diverse kids like in Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence a couple of weeks ago.

Then they could have had extra story lines to do with adoption. That would have been really interesting. Should do 2 hour specials like GoT Season 8.


I eat Moroccan food. I am diverse.

Great TV

I watched “A Passage to India”

Ciaran Goggins

Is Rebecca Herbert in it?


Tbh I’m here for any law drama supported by the BBC x


I’d clicked on this to record it. Then I read who wrote and rapidly unclicked. Abi Morgan. She’s ‘in’ with the BBC PC crowd which probably explains her ‘success’. Her previous scripts, in my opinion, are dire, with dialogue not even two wooden planks would engage in.


This fascination with family law and crime in TV series is getting boring. How about a show with three plot lines that are covered separately but often intersect:

1) some middle-aged former city solicitor (who has become broke because of family situation/gambling/etc… because hardship is needed) trying to set up a solo practice in their home city and end up representing a bunch of locals being screwed over by a massive company. The massive company is represented by the solo practitioner’s old “top” international city firm, specifically by one of his closest uni friends who is still a partner at said firm. Could help with the conflict if the solo solicitor has a major chip on their shoulder because the old firm refused to make them partner and just pigeon-holed them before leaving.

2) follow the lives of two trainees at said top City firm that become friends and are initially basking in prestige of working for said fancy firm but slowly start to realise the work they are forced to do conflict with their own moral compass and life expectations. One could be slightly more bothered about it than the other which could start to test their friendship as qualification looms. One becomes the blow-loving American Psycho wannabe, and the other tries to be all virtuous… only to be constantly rebuked by supervising partners that don’t support such drivel. Another twist: the American-psycho-wannabe acts that way because they are of an ethnic minority and they are scared they’re just a “diversity hire” so they want to do everything they perceive will help to fit in.

3) The blue-blooded partner at the top City firm who is respected internationally, but is secretly jealous of (and friends with) the broke middle aged solicitor who pissed off to set up the solo practice, because he’s essentially being held hostage by his greasy clients who keep reminding him of all the terrible shit he’s done for them over the years. Perhaps the partner and the solo solicitor have a further connection like they studied law together in the solo solicitors home city – somewhere good like Oxford, Bristol, Manchester. The partner was from the landed gentry and walked into the BA Jurisprudence/ good LLB programme whilst the solo lawyer was the local working class kid who got the highest marks possible despite a history of family issues to get onto the same course. Whilst the constant chip on the shoulder causes friction the two maintain a solid friendship based on mutual respect of each others’ talent and love of the law, even when fighting each other during this litigation.

15 seconds to come up with an idea with more layers and intrigue than a show about a family of posh wanker divorce lawyers.


Very good indeed.



Hey Tommy, I dare you to take my idea to the BBC and even take credit for it. My brain fart of an idea could turn into the cornerstone of your producing career.


Family law, lol.

AKA making it up as you go along, while obeying th general principle of ‘mother always wins’.


I literally cannot wait


I am SO excited!


Invite Lady Hale to watch.

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