Set in 1925 (after World War I and before the Great Depression) around a family of lawyers in Melbourne, the Australian TV series, 'Carson's Law' enjoyed a loyal following when it was shown back in 1983 and 1984. "At the start we all felt pretty certain that it had all the ingredients to be a really good show," Matt Carroll remarked. "After a couple of episodes we felt marvellous with it." Lorraine Bayly noted, "Some storylines are more dramatic than others but even the lesser ones have a certain reality about them to keep the audience interested."
Peter Wilmoth observed, "What is remarkable is the consistency of the show's quality, stemming from a team of enthusiastic writers who have extraordinarily quirky characters to write for; 5 young directors who make sure the show's lifeblood flows fast and freely; crisp storylines and camera work and lighting which befit the romance of the age (the Roaring 20s)."
On 'Carson's Law', "the eye of the Carson storm is Godfrey, the family patriarch." Kevin Miles recalled, "I thought the pilot script was marvellous. I thought, 'Gosh, if we can keep this up it's quite possible to have something really good.' Its strength lies in the fact that every department is jam-packed with talent, but most importantly they are good."
Lorraine conceded, "The success of the show is extremely satisfying but that doesn't stop the odd frustration with lack of time. You may have finished a take and they say, 'Thank you, get ready for the next scene' and I think, 'Oh, I'd love to be able to do that again'. When something reaches a certain quality you tend to be more critical and I suppose that's hardly fair." However "the most important test getting bums on lounge suites."
Noel Trevarthan played Gerard Kent. "He's a great character. I've been working very hard to make him loathed by the public and it's working. He's a real cold fish. I have to work hard to become this devious, zombie-like sinister character. When he started Gerard was just an afterthought. He hardly did anything for the first 4 months. He wasn't really intended to be a creepy character – just a background figure. Then I remembered the wonderful Mrs Danvers played by Dame Judith Anderson in the old film 'Rebecca' (1940). She was sinister and quiet, always lurking. Everything about Gerard has nothing to do with Noel Trevarthan at all."
Noel studied to be an architect. However at 17 years of age (around 1955), Noel decided to leave Auckland, New Zealand for England. When he arrived, his first job was as a farm-hand, before getting modeling work. Noel told Allan Webster, "People started saying, 'Hey, you film very well. Why don't you try acting?' So I did (starting in 1957)." On reflection, "I used to think I was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I was very impressionable back then (in the 1960s) and I got myself in with very rich people and got whirled into what would now (in 1983) be called the jet-set.
"Of course, now (in 1983) I can see it all as a terrible joke. In those days in London there were a lot of very elegant young men, very English and tall and thin. But I was a fairly hefty, rugged New Zealander and a little bit different, so I got swept up in it all. I even went through a stage of being engaged to very rich ladies … the sister of a marquis, another was one of the wealthiest women in the world. I never did marry because I'd freak out and feel a bit like a toy, actually.
"I used to go to the south of France and cruise the Mediterranean in these big yachts. Unfortunately, I was doing all this at the same time I was acting, and agents used to complain that they could never get me because I was always off somewhere and that I wasn't serious about my career because I was too busy having a good time – which I was!
"I just wasn't a dedicated actor. I didn't have that burning desire and I still don't. I became an actor because I thought it would be fun and it is a pleasant way to make a living. I’m not exactly in it for the art. I believe acting is a business like anything else. You hear actors talking about how they won't do this or that and I'm amazed. I’ll do any thing as long as they pay me. It’s a job – although I have turned down certain things if it's a step I think might affect me badly in another area.
"But as long as I'm acting, I don't care if it's TV, film or theater. I think I blew a lot of chances (career-wise) because my private life was so good. But like all these things, one day you grow up. It just took me a lot longer than most people. One day it just all went sour. I wondered what the hell I was doing. I realized I'd practically blown my career through mucking about.
"I decided that once I burned my bridges there (in England where Noel lived from 1955-1980) I wouldn't go back. Now (in 1983) I don't even want to visit there. It's gone. I lead a very quiet life now (at age 45). I don't see any point in going out and parties bore me. I'd much rather stay home." Home at the time was the 4 hectares (or 11-acre property) Noel owned on the Kawau island off the coast of New Zealand. Noel said, "There are about 20 or 30 permanent residents. There are no roads or cars – everyone has their own jetty and travels around by boat. It's very beautiful. Living in the city holds nothing for me. I love the solitude of the island and I like my own company. I'd like to be a recluse and if I had the money I'd do it."
Of 'Carson's Law', Susan Hely made the comment, "The 1920s setting provides a glamorous backdrop of vintage cars, beaded drop-waist dresses, winged collars, tuxedos, potted palms and heavy maroon velvet curtains." Garrie Hutchinson added, "I like the titles, seeing the characters as reflections in mirrors here and there, even a hub cap. The titles, in spite of the transitory nature of reflections, paradoxically gave an air of permanence to the show."