The Barristers, BBC2

Did we like it?
We love a bit of a nosey behind the scenes of strange professions. They’re normally enlightening and full of engaging characters. But this fly-on-the-wall series left us confused by the archaic workings of the legal profession and bored by the robotic newbies.

What was good about it?
• Richard ‘Dickie’ Bond, an old-timer from Birmingham, added pizzazz, finding time to give us some insights into being a barrister while bustling around in his job. However, the story about how his older colleague made a fool of himself by referring to “a bling” went on a bit, as did the blue bag/red bag revelation – he probably forgot he wasn’t being paid by the hour.

What was bad about it?
• The narration by Jack Davenport (chosen because this is a real life This Life minus sex, drugs, personality) didn’t really help us grasp how the wannabes did or didn’t become barristers. Other peculiarities about the workings of the Temple also didn’t get set out clearly enough for us to understand.
• “Cameras have been allowed inside the closed world of the Bar for the first time in 800 years,” Davenport told us, as if documentary makers and their equipment-carrying crews were turned away back in 1357.
• We failed to warm to any of the four focused-upon students bidding to become barristers: the one with the mini-beard, the one like a cute lickle rabbit, the one with a weirdly posh accent and an annoying eye-rolling habit which leaves just the whites of her eyes exposed, and the other one who has “a strong support network” (ie friends and family).
• They may be training for the bar, but they are not averse to X Factor-style statements about giving it “110 per cent” or giving it their “best shot”.


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