The Prosecution: Gerald Lewis QC
The Defense: George Cording QC
The Accused: Duvinder Singh
Rose Davies | Johnnie Donne | Elsie Beamish
Charles Gore | Marcia Thomas | Peter Segal
Jeremy Crawford | Eva Prohaska | Warren Murray
Jessica Garland | Hector | Derek Batey
For the Prosecution: Gerald Lewis QC
A devastatingly effective counsel for the prosecution, Lewis's life outside the courtroom is a mystery. He takes on the persona of a surgeon -- his approach is very clinical and he meticulously goes through each detail, even the goriest ones, showing no remorse or emotion for the defendant, Duvinder. He is there to do a job and will go to any lengths to win the case. A very efficient character, lethal and a defendant's worst nightmare.
In preparation for his role in The Jury, Antony Sher sat in on a high profile trial in Great Britain -- the Jane Andrews murder trial -- in courtroom No.1 at the Old Bailey.
'I can honestly say they were ... the most dramatic hours I've ever spent. It was absolutely spellbinding. I felt like I was sitting at the Roman games alongside a group of strangers, watching this woman fall apart as every detail of her sex life was dissected. I also spent a great deal of time with the legal advisor for The Jury, Colin Aylott. Colin not only arranged for me to sit in on Jane Andrews's case but to have a tour of the Old Bailey. I went round the counsel dressing rooms and met the prosecution QC in the Jill Dando case. He was a very impressive and interesting character.'
Sher had to read the scripts for The Jury only once to know he wanted to be part of 'a very special drama. Peter Morgan is a superb writer and that is evident from the opening lines. The Jury is not a politically correct or simple courtroom drama; it goes further than that. It shows you how complicated life can become for those involved, especially the jurors. The moment I started reading the first script, I knew it had the potential to be one of those really magical television events.'
Sher was raised in South Africa and studied at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982. He was knighted for service to the theatre in 2000. Sher continues to act frequently on stage as well as in films and on television. He played Dr. Moth in 1999's Shakespeare in Love and a charming Benjamin Disraeli in Masterpiece Theatre's Her Majesty, Mrs Brown.
For the Defense: George Cording QC
Kind, protective and maternal. Feels it is his duty to watch over the defendant, Duvinder. By acting as a father figure towards the boy and giving him the support and confidence he needs, Cording knows Duvinder will perform to the best of his ability and show himself in a good light.
On filming in the Old Bailey, Derek Jacobi said, 'The first thing I noticed when I walked in to the Old Bailey was the atmosphere. It is very oppressive and quite intimidating. You are fully aware that someone's life is on the line and to an extent in your hands. Despite filming there for a few days it was a very interesting experience. I had never been inside before -- it is such a beautiful building and one of the best settings I've had the opportunity to film in.'
'In all the years I've been acting until now I have never had the opportunity to do a courtroom drama -- and what a fascinating experience it is. Having to dress up in the full attire -- gown and wig -- is fabulous and I'm really taking to it. We had a fantastic barrister on set, Colin Aylott, who talked me through the basic do's and don'ts of how to conduct yourself in a courtroom. I couldn't quite believe how disciplined and restrictive it is -- there is very little opportunity to voice your own opinions and phrase questions in your own way.'
Sir Derek Jacobi was invited by Laurence Olivier to join the National Theatre Company after study at Cambridge and training with the Birmingham Repertory Company. He has been featured in numerous stage productions and films and has won or been nominated for many international awards including a Tony Award for his role as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. He is perhaps best known in the United States for his stunning TV work in Masterpiece Theatre's I, Claudius and has also appeared in Cadfael, Breaking the Code, Gladiator, Gosford Park and The Gathering Storm.
The Accused: Duvinder Singh
17 year-old Sonnell Dadral started acting after a school visit from the National Youth Musical Theatre. They were holding auditions in the hope of finding a number of young new actors. Dadral was offered his first acting role (as Captain Smalski in a radio adaptation of Bugsy Malone). He then won a part in a musical called Pendragon at the Lyric Theatre which Andrew Lloyd Webber moved on to Broadway. 'In all my wildest dreams I never thought I'd be on Broadway, especially not at the age of 14.'
Dadral was offered the role of Duvinder after his father noticed an ad for open auditions in their local paper.
'I arrived with 35 other boys all of whom were desperate for the part. It was a long and quite difficult process -- watching and waiting as they whittled us down. I just couldn't believe that out of all the other boys I'd got the part.'
The Jury started filming at a very crucial time for Sonnell -- he was in the middle of taking his first year A-Level exams.
'Trying to revise, learn my lines and juggle college with filming has been extremely difficult. I had very little time to devote to my studies but I couldn't have turned down such a great opportunity. And the whole cast has been so supportive, offering me lots of advice and encouragement, especially Antony (Sher). He is such a decent guy and it has been a fantastic experience working so closely with him. I haven't felt intimidated or nervous at all because everyone is just really lovely.'
Juror profile: Rose Davies
A trained beautician, has put her career on hold to care for her husband Len, a 40 year-old once handsome solider, now disabled. Young, good-looking, yet neglected. Her daily appearance is plain and her clothes are modest but unflattering. Desperate for a new life, Rose uses her role as a juror to escape the mundane pattern of married life by transforming her image each day into that of a glamorous and single young woman who is quickly drawn to fellow juror Johnnie Donne.
Actress Helen McCrory has appeared in previous Masterpiece Theatre titles including Anna Karenina and Lucky Jim. She says: 'Rose's change in appearance whilst on jury service is a statement not only to others but herself. She wants to be seen as a sophisticated, middle class, responsible and stronger woman and not the dowdy, low self-esteem person she has become.'
Juror profile: Johnnie Donne
A jack-of-all-trades fresh out of rehab and currently battling alcohol abuse. A charming rogue with stereotypical good looks. Despite being well on his way to recovery, Johnnie fears that the stress of jury service will send him off the rails again. His fears almost ring true when he falls for juror Rose Davies.
Gerard Butler was raised in Paisley, Scotland and attended Glasgow University. While shooting his first film role (Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown) Butler saved a young boy from drowning in the River Tay; he received a Certificate of Bravery from the Royal Humane Society. Of his role in The Jury, Butler says: 'I have lived a wide and varied life that has taken me to so many places and shaped me as an actor. Without experiencing some real low points including battling with alcoholism I would not have been able to play Johnnie. I can really relate to some of the more negative aspects of his character.' Butler will be seen in the upcoming films Timeline and in Tomb Raider 2 (both scheduled for summer 2003 release).
Juror profile: Elsie Beamish
A kind, warm-hearted elderly widow with a heartbreaking secret. An avid churchgoer, she soon befriends Charles Gore, who is questioning his commitment to the priesthood. Elsie looks on Charles as the son she never had and before long needs to rely on him more than she could ever have imagined.
British leading lady Sylvia Syms trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts where she received The Gerald Lawrence Scholarship and an HM Tenants Award. Her first major film role came in My Teenage Daughter in 1956; she has received British Film Academy nominations for her performances in The Tamarind Seed (1974), No Trees in the Street (1958) and Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957). Syms says: 'The Jury has to be the most extraordinary project I've ever worked on. The script reads like a fantastic psychological thriller -- I couldn't put it down. It constantly leaves you questioning whether you are being told the truth and delves into the lives of not only the accused and the victim's family, but the jurors.'
Juror profile: Charles Gore
A confused young man who is using his time on jury service to decide whether he wants to complete his training in the priesthood. He entered the clergy after the end of a long-term relationship but now he's back in the 'real world' and determined to track down his past love in the hope of starting again. A very quiet man, a bit of a loner. He and the inquisitive Elsie Beamish become firm friends.
Stuart Bunce has appeared in several films and television movies in the past decade, including Masterpiece Theatre's All the King's Men. Bunce had to study for the role of Charles Gore in The Jury: 'I didn't have a religious upbringing so I've been reading up on Catholicism for this part and discussing it with friends. It has all been very interesting but the thought of entering the priesthood hasn't crossed my mind and I don't envy any young man who's trying to make that decision, especially in today's world.'
Juror profile: Marcia Thomas
Twenty years old, a very independent, strong-willed single mother. Highly opinionated and quick-tempered, Thomas finds it difficult at times to accept help from others -- especially her mother with whom she has a strained relationship and a difficult history. One of the more diplomatic jurors.
Young actress Nina Sosanya has appeared on Masterpiece Theatre as Joanne Fagunwa in Prime Suspect 2. She found one scene in The Jury a particular challenge: 'It was quite emotional and difficult to film. When researching our roles as jurors we were given a number of videos which contained a variety of case studies on people who'd done jury service. They were quite insightful in the way they showed the impact the different cases had on jurors. In some cases the trials had happened years ago and yet people were still suffering emotionally.'
Juror profile: Peter Segal
A responsible, organized, hard-working businessman; well respected by the other jurors. Takes his role very seriously, feels privileged to have been called. However, his father-in-law's growing interest in the case and constant questioning puts Segal in a difficult position. The trial could be thrown if anyone finds out he's been discussing it.
A busy actor, Michael Maloney has done a lot of Shakespeare in addition to contemporary dramas. His previous Masterpiece Theatre performances include The Last Place on Earth, Henry V, Painted Lady and Me & Mrs Jones. Maloney had been in court only twice prior to the start of filming The Jury: 'Once was for research purposes -- I wanted to see how the whole procedure works. On the other occasion I was a witness on a case where I'd been the passenger in a car accident. I find it all extremely interesting.'
Juror profile: Jeremy Crawford
Jeremy's profile: Intelligent, handsome thirty-something; once a high flying professional until he gambled everything on the stock market. Now lives in a small one-bedroom flat with his wife and two sons. While on jury service, Jeremy is re-united with the person he holds responsible for his misfortune and decides it's time to get revenge.
Nicholas Farrell made his film debut in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. He has since appeared in dozens of theatrical and television films including Masterpiece Theatre's The Jewel in the Crown, The Ginger Tree, The Choir and Bramwell II. Farrell finds his Jury character, Jeremy Crawford, less black and white than he might first seem: 'We know he's had a tragic past and losing his status has left him constantly wanting to better himself. Jury service offers Jeremy this opportunity and we see him using it to the best of his advantage.'
Juror profile: Eva Prohaska
Small, well-dressed Polish woman, mid-fifties. A bossy businesswoman who makes rash decisions and doesn't seem to take the whole process seriously. Prohaska believes the verdict can be decided by holding a simple vote. Eva becomes impatient with the other jurors when they don't agree with her.
Gillian Barge, a Hastings, Sussex, native, was previously seen on Masterpiece Theatre in Interview Day and Anna Karenina. She insists she would be less eager to be the foreman of a jury than her character, Eva: 'I think it is a huge responsibility, especially on a murder case. Although some members on the jury disagree with Eva's decision, I think she is incredibly brave to stand up and say 'I don't agree.' You have to be very sure about your decision.'
Juror profile: Warren Murray
Twenty-something, a sleek golf professional who doesn't take his role on the jury very seriously. He sees it all as a bit of a joke especially when they are trying to vote in a foreman.
Paul Reynolds says: 'Warren just goes with the flow, he's a joker ... I guess you could label him as a bit of a bad lad, which is a role I often get cast in. Maybe it's because I look like one and can be one! When I heard that I'd be working alongside Peter Vaughan (who plays the role of Michael Colchester) I was thrilled -- he is one of my idols.'
Juror profile: Jessica Garland
At eighteen, the youngest juror on the bench. Despite new-age look, piercings and initial hostile and uninterested manner, Jess is one of the more conscientious and popular jurors.
Sarah-Louise Young says: 'I feel so very lucky to make my television debut in a drama that contains some of Britain's greatest actors. It's also nice to have the opportunity to watch and learn from people like Helen McCrory, Sylvia Syms and Nina Sosanya.' The Jury is Sarah-Louise's first television role since she graduated from Mountview Acting and Musical Theatre in 2002.
Juror profile: Hector
Elderly, soft-spoken and very private man who keeps to himself and says very little. However, he opens up to the others on the final day, revealing that he too was bullied like Duvinder. He spurs others on to talk about similar experiences and helps them look at the case in a new light.
William Hoyland says: 'I sat on a jury 20 years ago for a London session. The cases were very small and jury service lasted for just two weeks. I did three in total and was foreman on one. It was a very interesting experience but also a huge responsibility and quite difficult at times. Working on this drama has impressed on me the importance and value of our jury system which is the definitely the best system around.'
Juror profile: Derek Batey
Stocky, middle-aged builder, a man of few words. Keeps to himself throughout the trial. Batey appears to take the whole process in his stride, doesn't allow himself to get too involved. A regular bloke.
Connor McIntyre says: 'Initially Derek isn't really interested in the trial or his role on the jury. He sees it as an open and shut case and a complete inconvenience. But as things develop, even Derek becomes affected by what happens."
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