Tony Marchant (‘Public Enemies’) interview

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Created by multi-award winning writer Tony Marchant (Garrow’s Law), hard-hitting drama Public Enemies aired on BBC One in January. Dealing with the effects of the British Justice system on the lives of those that become part of it, the three-part series is released on DVD this week.

Suspended from her job due to an ex-murderer killing again on her watch, probation officer Paula Radnor (Anna Friel) returns to work and embarks on a new and difficult case. Eddie Mottram (Daniel Mays), has served 10 years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend. Can Paula help Eddie reclaim his life and his reputation or will he end up back in the institution he’s so desperate to escape from?

> Buy the DVD on Amazon.

CultBox caught up with Tony Marchant to find out more…

Where did the inspiration for Public Enemies come from?

“I wanted to write about the idea of ‘disgraced’ and ruined reputations and whether it was possible to ever come back from that. Equally, I was aware of the scapegoating and vilification of those who worked in either social services – i.e Sharon Shoesmith (in Baby P case) or the Probation service.”

Did you have Anna Friel and Daniel Mays in mind to play Paula and Eddie when you wrote the script?

“No, I don’t really write with actors in mind, but it becomes obvious when you’re casting who is most right for a part.”

Do you write differently knowing that a drama will be shown over one week on consecutive nights? It’s a format that both the BBC and ITV have utilised more and more over the past few years; is it a format that you’d like to return to?

“We never know how a show is going to be scheduled beforehand so the question doesn’t arise but ‘stripping’ is certainly better at retaining an audience, although ultimately if the storytelling is strong enough and compelling enough then hopefully audiences will be prepared to wait until next week!”

Were you disappointed that BBC One decided not to renew Garrow’s Law for a fourth series?

“A bit. It had a very loyal, engaged audience and we certainly had some other very good cases to dramatise.”

What direction would the characters and the show have taken in a fourth series?

“There would have been a ‘medical negligence’ storyline involving Lady Sarah in childbirth in a time when the power of male doctors was unassailable and death in childbirth common enough not to raise questions about the ability of doctors.”

Were you pleased with the reaction to CBBC’s Postcode?

“It seemed to be valued because it was so unlike most children’s drama.”

Are there any plans for a second series?

“No plans for a new series.”

Can you tell us a bit about Leaving?

Leaving is about the relationship between a 22 year old graduate and a 44 year old married woman. It’s a very contemporary love story, but the woman (played by Helen McCrory) is by no means a ‘cougar’ but a normal middle aged woman.”

What else have you got coming up?

“I’m working on two shows at the moment – one called Related, the other called Towers of London – just writing them and in a relatively early stage of development.”

> Buy Public Enemies on DVD on Amazon.

> Buy Series 3 of Garrow’s Law on DVD on Amazon.

Watch a clip from Garrow’s Law