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Criminal Justice

Whenever you tell another mother you’re about to fly to or from Australia on your own with two young children, they look at you with indescribable pity.

“22 hours?!” they say. “That must be hell!”

Well, it really isn’t. In fact, now both my children are well past the absolute worst flying age of 18 months (which really was hell 30,000ft above earth), I would almost go as far as saying I enjoy it.

The in-flight entertainment on most long-haul flights is now so extensive that even 44 hours there and back isn’t enough to catch up on all the films I’ve missed – and there are many worse things in life than having your meals brought to you while you sit and watch TV.

This year, we flew back on one of Qantas’s new A-380s, which (if you can get past the fact that the engines have a habit of blowing up) is a magnificent plane with an unbelievable in-flight entertainment system. They don’t just have episodes of TV programmes, they have whole series.

And on there was one BBC series that I watched and loved when it was on TV a couple of years ago, but forgot to write about at the time.

It’s called Criminal Justice and it’s a five-part series (originally shown over five consecutive nights) charting the progress of a teenage boy (Ben Coulter) through the criminal justice system after a night out goes horribly wrong and he is charged with the murder of a girl he has just met.

It’s written by a former barrister, which gives it real credibility and, although obviously dramatised, the story is compelling and utterly believable.

“We’ve got the best criminal justice system in the world,” Ben’s dad tells him at one stage as he still clings to the hope that his being innocent and telling the truth will be enough to secure his son’s release.

I remember being absolutely gripped first time round, so much so that when I landed at Heathrow, one of the first things I did was log on to Amazon and order the box set (which also has second series that I have not yet seen).

Perfect for those very long sleepless nights as your jetlagged body (and your jetlagged children) slowly readjust to an 11-hour time difference. That, as any antipodean mum can tell you, is the part that is no fun.

Click here to order Criminal Justice for £4.99 from Amazon.