Judge John Deed has become one of Martin Shaw’s defining roles. The sharp intellect, rakish charm, keen wit and passionate belief in justice were all qualities GF Newman had in mind for Martin when writing the series.
"I’ve never had so many letters for a single programme in the 40 years I’ve worked in television," reveals Martin. "They all say the same thing, ‘thank God for quality television, and for programmes which treat their audiences as adults.’ Audiences don’t want to be babied, and Judge John Deed has something social and important to say."
Deed has become known as a bit of a womaniser. Among his partners have been a high-risk affair with Sir Ian Rochester’s wife, Francesca, a liaison with his daughter’s attractive friend, Carol, and most notably an on-off relationship with colleague Jo Mills. However, as Martin points out, his love life doesn’t do much for him. "I think as time passes he realises his life doesn’t work. His obsession with casual sexuality doesn’t help him find what he’s looking for and he struggles to look at that part of his nature. Jo Mills represents stability and commitment, but she won’t have him until he mends his ways!"
Deed’s relationship with his daughter reflects Martin’s with his own children. "I’ve got a daughter very similar to Charlie’s age and I listen to her very carefully. It’s a huge point in a parent’s life when they can become friends with their children as well as parents."
Judge John Deed is the fourth television drama on which GF Newman and Martin Shaw have collaborated. "I like the way his mind works. He’s one of the best writers in television and we share similar ideals - we’re both vegetarian, we both care passionately about the environment. He’s a challenging person to work with."
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