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KNOWN for playing bumbling, mumsy roles, Julie Walters loved transforming herself into a hard-nosed barrister for a new series of The Jury.

It was a much more pleasant experience than the last time she'd been in a courtroom.

The 61-year-old had a brush with the law 20 years ago after she was wrongly accused of going through a red light.

She protested her innocence to the police officer, but he asked for her autograph and then gave her a ticket anyway.

Then, when she got home, her husband Grant Roffey (an excopper) insisted she contest it. "So off I went to court - after driving 50 miles to London - and was ready to represent myself, when they said, 'The policeman's on holiday, we can't hear this'.

"I said, 'I've just driven down!' I was really upset," says the Smethwick-born actress.

"And then this female QC came up to me and said, 'You've got to have somebody with you'.

"So the next time I had a solicitor and I got off."

Walters now plays a QC in the five-part Peter Morgan drama and, by a spooky coincidence, the woman who helped her prepare for the role was the same QC who advised her all those years ago.

"I remember her being really nice," says Walters.

"And this time around the most useful thing she told me was, 'You're not a social worker, you're there to win'.

"That was the main thing that stuck in my head, and that most QCs have terrible hair because of the wigs they wear in court!" This series of The Jury (there was another run with an entirely different cast back in 2002) sees Walters' character Emma Watts locked in a fierce courtroom battle to free a man convicted for the violent murders of women he met on the internet.

It's a tough job, which Watts seems to relish. But Walters does not fancy the role in real life.

"I can't imagine doing that job, but that's why it was so lovely to play her," she says.

"Being able to be combative, articulate, cool, factual and ordered in your thinking, well, that's just not me I'm afraid."


A tense moment for the jury members during the trial
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 5, 2011
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