CELL doors slammed last night – but it was all in aid of the MEN TV pages.
The Courthouse Hotel Kempinski in London used to be better known as Great Marlborough Street Magistrates’ Court.
Several famous names appeared there over the years, including Oscar Wilde, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Johnny Rotten and even Napoleon.
Charles Dickens also worked there as a reporter for the Morning Chronicle before going on to write a few more lasting stories.
The original cells, now part of a fashionable bar, were the venue last night for interviews with the cast of The Innocence Project.
I spoke to former Monarch of the Glen star Lloyd Owen and four young members of the cast of the BBC1 series, filmed in Salford and Manchester.
Due on screen next month, it follows a group of hand-picked law students who are still studying at the “University of East Manchester”.
Based on the original real Innocence Project in New York, there are now similar projects attached to universities throughout the UK, including Manchester.
It’s an ambitious primetime TV production from Tightrope, the company founded by Paul Abbott and Hilary Bevan Jones, about “failures in the process and cracks in the system”.
Lloyd, who plays brilliant lawyer and lecturer Professor Jon Ford, said the eight-part series and its young stars would demand viewers’ attention.
“The wider issue is – you don’t have to watch Big Brother, if you’re young. You can be bright, sassy, sexy and intelligent as a young person, and it’s still OK.”
More about The Innocence Project on another day. I’m now off to meet TV’s favourite con artists on location at a farm in wildest Hertfordshire before a date with television’s new Cheshire set in London’s West End tonight.
It’s going to be a very long day – and night. Check back tomorrow for further news.
Click here for more about the history of last night’s venue.