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The Dock Brief

Synopsis

We have produced a Style Guide to help editors follow a standard format when editing a listing. If you are unsure how best to edit this programme please take a moment to read it.
A play by John Mortimer
[Starring] Michael Hordern and David Kossoff
See page 4

A Dock brief is a strange method of defending a prisoner which is still sometimes used in England. The prisoner, if he has no other legal help, is allowed to choose any barrister who is sitting in Court to appear for him. He takes his pick from the Dock, as you might try to pick out a winning race-horse with a pin, and prisoner and barrister then meet in the cells for a hurried consultation; a half-cooked defence is hastily brought to the boil; and the trial begins.

Tonight's play is about an elderly, unsuccessful barrister who finds himself one happy day picked out to defend an equally unsuccessful criminal. As they work together in the cell, becoming in imagination the Judge, the jury, and various favourable or ruthlessly destroyed witnesses, they become not only enthusiastic but deeply considerate of each other's tender feelings. Alone and happy they make a world which they can always control until they have to emerge, half way through the play, to face the rude reality of the trial.

The Dock Brief is designed as comedy; it is also designed to make the lawyers and the criminals of the world recognise their close affinity. (John Mortimer)

Contributors

Writer: John Mortimer
Producer: Nesta Pain
Music specially composed by: Antony Hopkins
Designer: Donald Horne
Morgenhall: Michael Hordern
Fowle: David Kossoff
Prison Officer: Richard George

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About this project

This site contains the BBC listings information which the BBC printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. You can search the site for BBC programmes, people, dates and Radio Times editions.

We hope it helps you find information about that long forgotten BBC programme, research a particular person or browse your own involvement with the BBC.

Through the listings, you will also be able to use the Genome search function to find thousands of radio and TV programmes that are already available to view or listen to on the BBC website.

There are more than 5 million programme listings in Genome. This is a historical record of the planned output and the BBC services of any given time. It should be viewed in this context and with the understanding that it reflects the attitudes and standards of its time - not those of today.

To read scans of the Radio Times magazines from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, you can navigate by issue.

Feedback about The Dock Brief, BBC Television, 20.45, 16 September 1957
Please leave this link here so we can find the programme you're referring to: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/a8534347cd3d49198927f5c8cd76a428

Welcome to BBC Genome

Genome is a digitised version of the Radio Times from 1923 to 2009 and is made available for internal research purposes only. You will need to obtain the relevant third party permissions for any use, including use in programmes, online etc.

This internal version of Genome, which includes all the magazine covers, images and articles as well as the programme listings from the Radio Times, is different to the version of BBC Genome that is available externally/to the public. It is only available inside the BBC network.

Your use of this version of Genome is covered by the BBC Acceptable Use of Information Systems Policy and these terms.

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