The Escape Artist (TV series)

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

The Escape Artist
First episode titlecard
Created byDavid Wolstencroft
Written byDavid Wolstencroft
Directed byBrian Welsh
Composer(s)Nicholas Hooper
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes3 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)David Wolstencroft
Matthew Read (BBC)
Producer(s)Paul Frift
Hilary Bevan Jones
Production location(s)  London, England, United Kingdom
  Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
CinematographyDavid Higgs
Editor(s)Jamie Pearson
Running time57 minutes
Production company(s)Endor Productions Ltd
Original networkBBC One
Original release29 October (2013-10-29) 
12 November 2013 (2013-11-12)
External links

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. 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.[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 Kate (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, beginning 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.



Episode Title Directed by Written by Original airdate Viewers (millions)[4]
1"Episode 1"Brian WelshDavid Wolstencroft29 October 2013 (2013-10-29)[3]6.19
Will Burton is a talented barrister, known for getting his clients out of tight spots. His latest acquittal, however, takes a dark turn - with deadly consequences.
2"Episode 2"Brian WelshDavid Wolstencroft5 November 2013 (2013-11-05)5.32
Liam Foyle is on trial again, this time defended by Will's long time nemesis - Maggie Gardner.
3"Episode 3"Brian WelshDavid Wolstencroft12 November 2013 (2013-11-12)5.64
Will finds himself in a position where he has to take the law into his own hands when the case against Foyle collapses.


The series received positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the series an 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]


Worldwide release

Country Network Premiere date
 Germany VOX 15 March 2014


  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. "The Escape Artist Series 1 Episode". Radio Times. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  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.
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