Judge Rinder on return of Crown Court: 'It’s based on the real-life case of a husband accused of murdering his wife!'

Judge Rinder Crown Court

Judge Rinder on why he's reviving ITV's daytime classic Crown Court, which is on tonight on ITV at 8.00pm

Anyone who watched Strictly last year will know that Judge Rinder is passionate about dancing, but there’s one thing the barrister is even more enthusiastic about: the law.

So he’s understandably excited to preside over the revival of ITV’s classic 1970s and 1980s courtroom drama Crown Court.

This two-part drama, Judge Rinder’s Crown Court, depicts the trial of a man accused of killing his wife. It’s based on a real case and the evidence comes from the original trial. Actors play the accused, the judge, the barristers, witnesses and jury, but when the verdict is read out, it comes from the real case.

Here Judge Rinder, 39, puts his case for watching Judge Rinder's Crown Court…

Why did you want to revive Crown Court?

Judge Rinder: "The starting point was reviving a well-loved series from the 1970s and 1980s, which had amazing actors in it [see our box below]. But I also wanted it to be an authentic experience, to give viewers a glimpse of what it’s like to serve on a jury."

How did you make the show as authentic as possible?

JR: "It’s based on the real-life case of a husband accused of murdering his wife – a poisoning case from a few years ago in America, which we have transposed into a British courtroom. Some of the exchanges that take place between barristers and witnesses are what I heard in real-life murder trials."

What part do you play?

JR: "I am not the judge! My role is to guide the viewers, like judges in real crown court cases guide juries. So I tell viewers to reject evidence if they don’t think it is compelling. The viewers are, after all, exactly the same as people who sit on juries. They determine the outcome of the case."

What are you most looking forward to when the series airs?

JR: "It will be interesting to see what people say across social media as the trial goes on and whether or not they change their minds and, if so, what evidence made them do that? Was it the way the victim’s father gave evidence? Or were they swayed by what an expert witness said? At the end, viewers will find out if what they decided was the same as the real verdict."

Have you ever been on a jury?

JR: "I haven’t and I would love to! I’m not sure what I would be like, though. I’m certain I would be fair, but I definitely wouldn’t want to be the foreperson."

So, have you been watching Strictly this year?

JR: "I’ve been working most Saturday evenings so I haven’t watched it live, but I watch it when I get home. I feel nostalgic because I loved it so much. I’ve been a big fan of Debbie McGee since the beginning."

Judge Rinder's Crown Court is on ITV on Friday at 8.00pm

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!