Upcoming Channel 4 series The Trial has an ever-so-slightly confusing pitch.
The five episodes, all of which will be screened over the course of a week, will focus on the fictional murder of 38-year-old Carla Davis, who was strangled to death in her own home. Her estranged husband, Simon (an actor, obviously), is accused of the crime. All a bit grim, but you’re already intrigued.
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Here’s the clincher: the team trying the made-up, definitely not real crime, is comprised of practicing QCs, a proper judge and 12 members of the public. So, essentially it’s a mixture of documentary and drama – a sort of mini Law degree that you can enjoy with your dinner. What’s not to like?
“The Trial aims to both hook viewers with the real twists and turns of a criminal murder trial and reveal the inner workings of the justice system as never seen before,” Channel 4 said in its description. “Secrets of what being a juror entails will be revealed when cameras follow them into the deliberation room as they try to reach their verdict.”
Forensic experts, police officers and eye witnesses will all give evidence, and we’ll hear from friends of relatives on both sides.
Judge Brian Barker CBE QC, formerly the most senior judge at the Old Bailey and, judging by his impressively long title not a man you want to mess with, oversees proceedings.
On directing duty are Nick Holt, who won a Bafta for the 2013 documentary The Murder Trial, and fellow Bafta winner Kath Mattock. Holt’s previous project followed a real life Scottish court case, and he chose to make The Trial partly fictional so they’d have better access to the process as a whole.
Given our obsession with true crime stories at the moment, we reckon this could turn into a massive hit.
The Trial begins on Channel 4 on April 10.
[Main image: Channel 4]