Last week saw some tense courtroom scenes on ITV’s Emmerdale as the climax of a storyline which has gripped the nation, with character Gordon Livesy finally facing judgement for his horrendous crimes against his son Aaron.

Soaps can provide a powerful platform for highlighting real life issues and this latest abuse storyline, and indeed others that Emmerdale have tackled, are sensitive, real life topics that will affect many viewers. The pressure is therefore always on to get it right and to make sure that stories are realistic.

The key to making a storyline work is making sure that the subject matter is well researched – and soaps such as Emmerdale have a team of advisors and researchers who will spend months looking into the various aspects of each and every storyline, seeking advice behind the scenes from experts including charities, healthcare professionals… even lawyers!

I had acted as a legal adviser to Emmerdale for a number of years in relation to any criminal story lines that may be covered, and recently advised on set with regards to the courtroom scenes which aired last week. Not only did I cover the legal aspects of the storyline itself, for example potential sentences for the accused, but even down to included how witnesses should stand in the box, how the Judge and Jury conduct themselves and various other courtroom procedures.

Being on set is a great experience and alongside getting an extra part it was fascinating to watch the actors play out some really intense scenes – it felt like I was in a real courtroom, which is a testament not only to the acting skills of all involved– but also the team behind the scenes that make it all happen.

For further advice on any criminal matters, please do not hesitate to contact Farleys’ specialist criminal defence team on 0845 287 0939. Alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.