Judge Rinder: 'My new show is like being on a jury of the most extraordinary crimes!'

Judge Robert Rinder looks into serious crimes in his new series, Judge Rinder's Crime Stories.

Famous for sorting out minor disputes on his reality courtroom show, Judge Robert Rinder looks into serious crimes in his new series, Judge Rinder's Crime Stories.

We get the lowdown from the man himself…

What’s the idea behind your new show, Judge Rinder’s Crime Stories? "I take viewers on the journey of the story from beginning to end and narrate the stories. You see it reenacted and hear from all of the people involved, from victims and families to police officers that investigated the case and also how they solved them. This is a bit like being on a jury of some of the most extraordinary and difficult crimes."

In the first episode, you explore the case of stable-worker Laura Davies, who was murdered by her 22-year-old boyfriend Jordan Taylor last July in a frenzied knife attack in Essex… "She was attacked and murdered in a vicious explosion of violence – and of course he tried to get out. The evidence was completely overwhelming and what that must do a family to compound the horror of having that phone call along with having to go through a trial process where the evidence is completely overwhelming and the jury take less than an hour to convict is quite something."

You also examine the case of Andreas Christopheros, a man who was left disfigured for life after a horrific acid attack at his Cornwall home… "This guy, the nicest guy in the world, was at home with his family. He opens his door one day and someone throws sulphuric acid in his face. As you'll discover, it's purely a case of mistaken identity. It's the stuff of nightmares."

These cases sound pretty gruesome – are they really appropriate for a daytime show? “Naturally, the show is cut so it's genuinely appropriate for daytime. I used to do trials at the Old Bailey that were in the daytime and I wouldn’t say to the jury: ‘We’ll turn to the autopsy but you’ll have to come back after the watershed’. Yes, there are children at home and we have to be mindful of that. This show is definitely shocking but not anything I would be worried about a younger person watching."

With this show, and with Judge Rinder, do you think you’re changing the perception of the legal world in some way? “I'm not sure I’m changing the perception of the legal world but I hope it's definitely – and this will sounds sanctimonious – a mild mission to changing the perception of the law to an extent and to make it more accessible. It's a big thing I want to champion that anyone can deal with a basic legal issue especially one you can confront in the small claims courts. I don"t think I'm changing the perception of lawyers or judges or anything but I hope I'm part of a conversation that's making people more confident in the law in general."

Some of the cases on Judge Rinder can end up being rather amusing. How do you keep a straight face? “Well, the mankini case was a challenge. Since the show started, we’ve been more confident about the length and breadth of the cases we can take. There's a much broader variety that we deal with now, from rather light-hearted cases to wills, suing over funeral expenses, cars, consumer issues. I'd say I am serious in Judge Rinder but this new show is a more serious ‘me’ giving you an insight into the work I used to do as a criminal barrister.”

How have your law friends reacted to your TV success? “My law friends have been really kind. I suspect a lot of them were waiting to see if it would be a success and, you know, success breeds kindness doesn't it? But I've always been of the view that I don't care what people think of me. I think it's really only meaningfully important what I think of them and always to be polite. They have been supportive. I think they'd only be unhappy if I was bringing the law into disrepute."

Finally, what do you think of courtroom dramas like Law & Order or Silk, perhaps? “I always get asked: ‘What’s the best thing I can watch to give me more of an inside sense of what the bar is like’ and I always say one thing: Rumpole of the Bailey, shown in the 1980s and starring Leo McKern. That's the only drama that comes even vaguely close. None of the others are anything like what the day-to-day realities are like."

Judge Rinders’ Crime Stories airs weekdays at 2pm on ITV from Monday June 20.

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!