Garrow’s Law axed by BBC1

Period legal drama will not return for a fourth series

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Garrow’s Law has been axed by BBC1, the channel has confirmed.

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The drama, co-created by Tony Marchant, centred on real 18th-century lawyer William Garrow (Andrew Buchan), whose daring acceptance of unfashionable or controversial cases helped to liberalise the legal system.

Garrow’s Law had seemed to be a continuing success: at the end of 2011 it had more than four million regular viewers on Sunday nights, despite being up against the likes of The X Factor and I’m a Celebrity… on ITV1.

“BBC1 will screen more than 20 new dramas this year, but Garrow’s Law will not be returning,” confirmed a spokeswoman for the channel – and the decision not to renew Garrow’s Law underlines BBC1’s commitment to new drama under controller Danny Cohen.

Cohen has already chopped popular existing dramas, such as Zen and Lark Rise to Candleford, to make way for new series – a strategy that is arguably working well at the moment in the form of the ratings-busting Call the Midwife. With Garrow’s Law having already run for three series, and with the series three finale serving as a viable swansong for the programme as a whole, it was perhaps an obvious target for Cohen’s axe.

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In any case, like Lark Rise – axed primarily because its writer, Bill Gallagher, no longer wished to continue with it – Garrow’s Law is perhaps a casualty of how in-demand its main writer is. Tony Marchant has already written Public Enemies for BBC1 this year and has been commissioned to pen Leaving for ITV1. He also has plans to revive and update his 1997 breakthrough, Holding On, the state-of-the-nation drama about disparate characters living in London.