David Tennant

The Escape Artist

Date: 11.10.2013Last updated: 11.10.2013 at 11.14

Category: BBC One; Drama

The Escape Artist is a new three-part legal thriller for BBC ONE. Created and written by David Wolstencroft (Spooks, Shooting Dogs) The Escape Artist stars David Tennant (Doctor Who, True Love), Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla, Black Mirror), Sophie Okonedo (The Slap, Criminal Justice), and Ashley Jensen (Extras, Ugly Betty).


The Escape Artist is an original suspense thriller set in the world of criminal law. David Tennant plays Will Burton, a talented junior barrister who specialises in spiriting people out of tight legal corners, hence his nickname of 'The Escape Artist'.

Will is in high demand as he has never lost a case. But when his talents acquit the prime suspect in a horrific murder trial, that brilliance comes back to bite him with unexpected and chilling results.

“The law often seems like an intellectual exercise,” says Wolstencroft “but scratch under the surface, and it’s all blood and guts. I wanted to write a thriller set in the legal world that’s as much about those primal feelings as it is about the twists and turns of the case. David Tennant is one of the most accomplished and iconic actors of his generation. Seeing him in Will's shoes is incredibly exciting."

Producer, Hilary Bevan Jones, says: “The outstanding cast we have assembled, which is headed by David Tennant, Toby Kebbell, Sophie Okonedo and Ashley Jensen is a testament to David's breathtaking and original script. Directed by Brian Welsh and produced by Paul Frift, I believe The Escape Artist will be one of the most anticipated TV drama events of 2013.”

Executive Producer for the BBC, Matthew Read, says: “After the incredible response we got for William Boyd’s Restless, it’s fantastic to be working with Hilary Bevan Jones and Endor again on an original drama that brings together the very best of British talent.”

The Escape Artist is produced by Hilary Bevan Jones (State Of Play, Restless) and Paul Frift (Room At The Top, Restless) and directed by Brian Welsh (Black Mirror, In Our Name, Mayday) the executive producers are David Wolstencroft and Matthew Read for BBC.

The Escape Artist will also be released on DVD by Acorn Media immediately following its BBC One broadcast.


Cast list

Will Burton - David Tennant

Liam Foyle - Toby Kebbell

Maggie Gardner - Sophie Okonedo

Kate Burton - Ashley Jensen

Mary - Brid Brennan

Jenny - Kate Dickie

Eileen Morris - Monica Dolan

Trevor Harris - Tony Gardner

Richard Mayfield QC - Anton Lesser

Peter Simkins - Roy Marsden

Julian Fowkes QC - Alistair Petrie

Gavin de Souza QC - Patrick Ryecart

Danny Monk - Stephen Wight

Jamie Burton - Gus Barry


Directed by - Brian Welsh

Created & Written by - David Wolstencroft

Produced by - Paul Frift & Hilary Bevan Jones

Executive Producers - David Wolstencroft, Matthew Read (BBC)

Development Producer - Tom Nash

Director of Photography - David Higgs

Production Designer - Mark Leese

Casting Director - Nina Gold and Robert Sterne

Costume Designer - Jacky Levy

Make-Up & Hair Designer - Catherine Scoble

Editor - Jamie Pearson

Composer - Nick Hooper

Sound Recordist - Chris Ashworth

Dubbing Mixer - Stuart Hilliker

Post Production Supervisor - Heidi Mount

Endor Accountant - Vivien Philpot

Legal Affairs - Medwyn Jones

Head Of Production - George Cashell

Character profiles

WILL BURTON (David Tennant) is a talented junior barrister of peerless intellect and winning charm who specialises in getting people out of tight legal corners. Will is in high demand as he has never lost a case. Despite his innumerable victories he has been putting off applying for ‘silk’; he’s never been able to stand the politics involved in becoming a QC. He works by the simple mantra that everyone deserves a defence, allowing his genius to blossom without being impeded by conscience. Will’s brilliance does, however, sometimes fall short in his private life. He has never quite figured out how to use the dishwasher – despite Kate’s countless teachings – and often finds himself working overtime instead of spending quality time with his family. Even so, he loves Kate and Jamie more than anything in the world.

KATE BURTON (Ashley Jensen) is Will’s wife, and mother to their son Jamie. Witty and beautiful, Kate is the rock in Will and Jamie’s world. She helps Will stay grounded when work is tough, and takes care of him when he forgets to take care of himself. Jamie is her pride and joy. They have a truly special bond.

MAGGIE GARDNER (Sophie Okonedo) is a top prosecution barrister who finds herself constantly up against Will’s brilliance in court. She doesn’t have the natural lawyering instincts that Will does, but she is acknowledged as the next best barrister around, which of course never fails to torment her. Her brain has taken her everywhere she’s ever wanted to go – almost – but she can’t stand the idea of being second-best to anyone. She’s stony-eyed and has the ability to intimidate the life out of most opponents. Some might say she’s overcompensating, that she’s trying too hard to impose herself amongst her colleagues, but she’s driven and she works harder than most.

LIAM FOYLE (Toby Kebbell) is a man who has that look in his eyes. The look that would make you cross the street if you were unlucky enough to come under his gaze. His psychological invasiveness is matched by his imposing physicality, but there is more to him than a blunt expression of danger. His calm, unhurried disposition hides an undisclosed, sinister air. A type of darkness that chills your soul because you can’t quite work out where it’s coming from.

The outstanding cast we have assembled, which is headed by David Tennant, Toby Kebbell, Sophie Okonedo and Ashley Jensen is a testament to David's breathtaking and original script.

Hilary Bevan Jones, Producer

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