Chalk up another Brit TV exclusive for Acorn TV. This time it’s the fabulous legal dramedy, The Brief, starring the versatile actor/comedian, Alan Davies.
It’s been years since ITV’s The Brief screened on public television stations in the US. Ditto on Acorn TV. And while the witty courtroom drama has been available for streaming on Amazon Instant Video, it won’t be for much longer, because when it returns to Acorn TV, it does so as an exclusive.
The Brief stars Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek, QI, Whites) as Henry Farmer, a brilliant, bike-riding barrister whose personal life is more trying than his cases.
Between alimony payments and gambling debts, Henry barely has two quid to rub together and is on the verge of bankruptcy. His relationships with his family are distant, literally and figuratively. His ex-wife and son, whom he misses, moved to Australia, and his heavy-drinking, estranged father (Edward Petherbridge, Dorothy L Sayers Mysteries) is disagreeable and critical (quite the browbeater, really). And he’s having an affair with Polly Graham (Zara Turner, Sliding Doors), who happens to be married to an important politician (who happens to be dying), and she won’t leave him for Henry.
Work isn’t all kicks and giggles, either. His caseload is never ending, and senior partner Cleo Steyn (Cherie Lunghi, Secret Diary of a Call Girl) is a b*ll*cks buster. And did I mention that his dad is a judge? On the brighter side of chambers, though, are clerk Ray Scanlon (Christopher Fulford, Whitechapel) and chambers secretary Maureen Tyler (Linda Bassett, Lark Rise to Candleford).
Despite all the messiness, Henry is committed to defending his clients. (It’s serving on the side of the prosecution where his zeal gets iffy.)
It’s too bad that there are only eight episodes of The Brief, because the storylines are engaging and Davies is terrific as the much put-upon Farmer, whose triumphs small and large are reasons to cheer.
Acorn TV begins screening both series of The Brief on 7 April 2014.