Julie Walters will lead a star cast as a defence barrister in ITV’s new drama, The Jury, written by Bafta winner Peter Morgan.

The five-part series will see Julie play Emma Watts, a barrister who is determined to free Alan Lane (Merlin’s John Lynch), a man convicted for the violent murder of three women he met on the internet.

Evidence comes to light calling his conviction into question, but a fierce battle then ensues between Emma and John Mallory (Roger Allam).

The Jury will focus on the everyday people at the centre of one of the most controversial criminal retrials of their time. At the centre of the story will be the jurors who are forced to face the complexities of their own lives as they’re caught up in the experiences of being key players at the Old Bailey.

ITV’s Creative Director of Drama, Kate Bartlett said: “We are thrilled that Julie Walters will be playing defence barrister Emma Watts opposite Roger Allam’s prosecution barrister John Mallory in Peter Morgan’s drama that sees his return to television.

“We also have an exciting ensemble of actors playing our jurors – Steven Mackintosh, Jodhi May, Natalie Press and Ronald Pickup – to name a few and John Lynch as the convicted Alan Lane.

“Peter Morgan’s original Jury was a stunning drama and Peter has written another original, complex, character based serial for ITV1 that we hope will make compelling viewing.”