Kavanagh QC (1995–2001)
3 user

The Burning Deck 

Two sailors, one a young officer with a family pedigree and a common seaman who is a childhood friend are accused of setting fire to their ship's barracks.


Charles Beeson


Russell Lewis (teleplay)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... James Kavanagh QC
Rick Bacon Rick Bacon ... Burrell (as Richard Bacon)
Rosalind Bailey Rosalind Bailey ... Cynthia Kavanagh
Keith Bartlett ... Captain Ian Tredinnick
Daisy Bates ... Kate Kavanagh
Tom Brodie ... Matt Kavanagh
Anna Chancellor ... Julia Piper
Sean Chapman ... Lieutenant Commander Hugh Mills
William Chubb William Chubb ... Commander Driscoll
Oliver Ford Davies ... Peter Foxcott QC
Alan Gilchrist Alan Gilchrist ... MEM Patrick Jones
David Gillespie David Gillespie ... Railway Guard
Lisa Harrow ... Lizzie Kavanagh
Frank Huseyin Frank Huseyin ... Second Provost Marshal
Geraldine James ... Eleanor Harker QC


Kavanagh defends Lt. Ralph Kinross RN accused of starting a fire in a barracks. His co-accused is Jones, a childhood friend who is a sailor in the same unit, who had loaned money to the sailor whose bed was set on fire. Kavanagh's colleague Eleanor Harker QC is defending Jones but is also having problems at home. The defense focuses on the role of Chief Evans, the senior rating in charge of the engineering department, who was also Jones' main tormentor. In Chambers, Julia receives a proposal of marriage but has only a very short time to make up her mind. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery








Release Date:

11 March 1996 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


MEM O'Brian (played by Andy Serkis) arrives at the court martial with only three good conduct badges on is left arm. Although referred too as "MEM" O'Brian throughout the trial several scenes during his testimony, an Anchor "LMEM" appears and disappears half way through that scene. See more »


Peter Foxcott QC: Don't sacrifice real life on the altar of career.
Julia Piper: I thought career was real life.
Peter Foxcott QC: Real life? I prosecuted a boy the other week... fifteen... one of four children, each with a different father. He'd murdered the youngest... terrible case, but as he stood there in the dock, shoulders hunched against the sentence, I suddenly realized this shabby, venal, malnourished scrap of humanity had experienced more in his fifteen summers...
[He closes his eyes in pain]
Peter Foxcott QC: . You understand? He was more alive than...
See more »


References Forrest Gump (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Too much in too little.
1 July 2019 | by robsmithjrSee all my reviews

A chapter in the series that is muddled with too many stories and ends, seemingly, to make some point lost in the what had been presented.

I count five different stories strung together for this episode. All are done poorly and together makes the episode hard to follow or understand. Maybe if the writers had focused more upon the Kavanaugh part of the story, it would, or could, have been stronger and make the whole far better.

Instead, the episode is held down by cuts to various soap opera-esque elements that are mostly left as loose ends. I, myself, don't care if I learned any more about any of it. Sadly, the Kavanaugh part ends up reflecting this direction, though not connected.

Even Thaw's usual exceptional acting skills, which are not at full speed here, doesn't save this mess.

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