The Escape Artist (TV series)

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The Escape Artist
Alt=Series title over the London Inns of Court
First episode titlecard
Genre Drama
Created by David Wolstencroft
Written by David Wolstencroft
Directed by Brian Welsh
Composer(s) Nicholas Hooper
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 3 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) David Wolstencroft
Matthew Read (BBC)
Producer(s) Paul Frift
Hilary Bevan Jones
Editor(s) Jamie Pearson
Location(s)  • London, England, United Kingdom
 • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Cinematography David Higgs
Running time 57 minutes
Production company(s) Endor Productions Ltd
Original network BBC One
Original release 29 October 2013 (2013-10-29) – 12 November 2013 (2013-11-12)
External links

The Escape Artist is a British drama thriller three-part series,[1] starring David Tennant.[2]

The series was created and written by David Wolstencroft and directed by Brian Welsh. It premiered on 29 October 2013 at 9 p.m. on BBC One.[3]


Barrister Will Burton (David Tennant) is known for never losing a case and getting criminals out of "tight legal corners". On the verge of applying for the title of Queen's Counsel, Burton agrees to defend murder suspect Liam Foyle (Toby Kebbell), of whose innocence he is in some doubt. Having examined the evidence, he recognises a loophole, and Foyle is acquitted on a technicality.

In revenge for a perceived slight from Burton, Foyle begins stalking Burton's wife (Ashley Jensen) and young son Jamie (Gus Barry). When Burton arrives at their holiday home, he finds his wife brutally murdered and Jamie in shock; he sees Foyle outside the house. Maggie Gardner (Sophie Okonedo), who has lived her career in Burton's shadow, takes up Foyle's defence. The prosecution team consists of two of Burton's colleagues, but he has little confidence in them and begins to carry out his own investigation. He discovers that the woman who has provided Foyle's alibi is also looking after Foyle's possessions in a storage unit. After a search, police find evidence against Foyle. Jamie finally describes his experience, which leads to the discovery of DNA evidence.

Gardner discredits the evidence against Foyle, and the judge directs a verdict of not guilty, but Gardner becomes increasingly unsure when Foyle begins stalking her. Burton follows Foyle to Scotland and confronts him, a sequence of events leading to Foyle's death. Burton is charged with murder and elects to defend himself in court. While the jury is deliberating, Gardner confronts Burton with her theory that he committed "the perfect crime". The jury comes back with a verdict of not proven and Burton is released.


Character Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Julian Fowkes QC Alistair Petrie
Jenny Kate Dickie Kate Dickie
Peter Simkins
Roy Marsden
Maggie Gardner
Sophie Okonedo
Gavin de Souza QC
Patrick Ryecart
Jeany Spark
Eileen Morris Monica Dolan
Danny Monk
Stephen Wight
Liam Foyle
Toby Kebbell
Trever Harris
Tony Gardner
Richard Mayfield QC
Anton Lesser
Kate Burton
Ashley Jensen
Brid Brennan
Will Burton
David Tennant


The series was filmed between 24 January and 22 March 2013, at various locations in London, Hertfordshire, Surrey and Scotland. The interior court scenes were filmed on a set at Wimbledon Studios, in Colliers Wood; and at Surrey County Hall, in Kingston upon Thames. The exterior court scenes were filmed at Paisley Sheriff Court, in Paisley. The final court scene external shots were filmed around the Edinburgh City Chambers, Parliament Square and the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

Tennant visited the Old Bailey before filming began to do research.


Episode Title Directed by Written by Original airdate Viewers (millions)[4]
1 Brian Welsh David Wolstencroft 29 October 2013 (2013-10-29)[3] 6.19
2 Brian Welsh David Wolstencroft 5 November 2013 (2013-11-05) 5.32
3 Brian Welsh David Wolstencroft 12 November 2013 (2013-11-12) 5.64


The series received positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the series a 85% 'fresh' rating based on 13 critic reviews. The critical consensus reads "Its deliberate pace demands patience, but The Escape Artist benefits from David Tennant's performance, as well as an emotionally engaging, socially conscious storyline."[5] Metacritic gave it a score of 71 out of 100 based on 12 critics, indicating 'generally favorable reviews.'[6]



  1. ^ Press release (31 January 2013). "Filming Starts on New BBC One Thriller, The Escape Artist, Starring David Tennant". BBC. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Munn, Patrick (7 January 2013). "Doctor Who's David Tennant Cast as Lead in BBC One's 'The Escape Artist'". TVWise. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Graham, Alison (undated). "The Escape Artist – Series 1 Episode". Radio Times. Retrieved 22 June 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "episode_1" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ "Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. 6 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Escape Artist: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Escape Artist - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "The Escape Artist Nominated in Seoul". Retrieved 17 May 2014.

External links[edit]