BBC comedy chronicling exploits of tenancy-hungry pupils set to return to TV screens next week

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Defending The Guilty back following successful pilot

A courtroom comedy documenting the working lives of pupil barristers as they vie to secure tenancy is set to return to TV screens next week.

The show, Defending The Guilty, follows the day-to-day exploits of Will Packham, an idealistic pupil barrister (played by Will Sharpe) who is looking to find his feet at the criminal bar with the help of his worldly-wise pupil master Caroline (Katherine Parkinson of The IT Crowd and Humans fame).

Television bigwigs have now confirmed that the show, commissioned by BBC Two and piloted last year, will return next Tuesday (17 September) at 10pm.

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During the pilot, viewers discovered Caroline has a rather awkward habit of referring to herself in conversation with Packham as “mummy”, while our intrepid pupils — who are more than happy to stab each other in the back in a bid to secure tenancy — have been given somewhat amusing nicknames by the clerks in chambers including ‘angry chav’ and ‘DJ Stupid’.

The show, which is based on a book of a similar name by criminal barrister Alex McBride, received mixed reviews from lawyers at the time.

Rachel Law, a criminal barrister at London’s Goldsmith Chambers, said that “although obviously exaggerated for comic effect”, the pilot episode was “hilarious” with “elements every criminal barrister will recognise”. Meanwhile, KCH Garden Square criminal barrister Jonathan Dunne described it as “unbelievably awful” and “not remotely funny nor remotely accurate”.

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I thought it was fair close to the real life.

Needed a touch of dialogue polishing.



Come to Mummy!



The reviews reflect the sets the reviewers come from.

Goldsmiths are fun and game for a laugh.


Colin Frissle

Like American girls????

Should I just go to America????



Tom cries himself to sleep in the knowledge that the actors on this show are closer to being barristers than he is.


Grow up

No need to be rude to people. You’re only revealing your own insecurities.



Sorry Tom


Nigel Farage

revoke article 50


Jo Swinson

No Deal Brexit now!


Jeremy Corbyn

Ha, you can’t parody me by stating the opposite of my clearly defined position.

I have no such position!



This Is My Real Name

Are they going to show the rampant alcoholism, high divorce rates and stress-related illnesses at the Bar?


Ex Barrister

Yes they definitely are. I can’t wait.


My Email Is Not Your Business

Alongside the large piles of cash and the long long holidays.



Sorry, but what? LOL 😂


Ratso Rizzo

Well, it is mid-September, about time to start thinking about coming back after 6 weeks away and starting to charge £5k a day…


This Is My Real Name

Teachers have lovely long holidays too.

They also spend far more time with most barristers’ children than their parents bother to do.

Your name is loser

5.01am, one day you will realise the bitter anger you aim at others is caused by your inability to accept your own failings and mediocrity. But that day seems far off.

Brian B

The pilot was deeply unfunny.


Dan E

You’re deeply unfunny.


Lives of Brian

I’ve never met a Brian I liked.



Well the film isn’t called “The Likes of Brian”, is it?


Fred C

You’re funnily deep.


BBC really nailing its diversity quotas with this show. Just need a disabled one for the diversity bingo full-house.



I think some of the characters are intellectually so?



It’s actually based on every chambers in Park Square in Leeds.

Given the egos – an absolute joke.

Kind of like the barrister equivalent of DWF.


Yet another barrister

Well I thought the pilot was hilarious.


Wellbeing at the Bar

We will be using these episodes for our wellbeing training.


Bitter loser

How will accepting my own failings and mediocrity help my feelings of bitter anger towards others? Seems like new age bollocks.


Hot Personal Trainer

U OK hun?


Eff Awf Hun

U OK hun – the passive aggressive twattery of the dull and witless.


Wellbeing at the Bar

You’re not alone…
Well.. you are really. Your mediocrity and failure is only surpassed by the members of the “Wellbeing at the Bar” group..

Come and have a peppermint tea and a lecture on yoga!!!


Well done at the Bar



Always the Legal Officer, never the barrister

Exactly. Whenever anyone mentions the names of London chambers on here that have only 1 or 2 BAME people in the whole set, LC deletes the comment.

Facts and statistics from a chambers’ own website are ‘harassment’ and ‘libel’ now.


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