Play for Today: Season 6, Episode 10

Rumpole of the Bailey (16 Dec. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 110 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

An irreverent barrister chooses to defend a young Jamaican boy accused of stabbing on the same day his only son leaves for college in America.



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Title: Rumpole of the Bailey (16 Dec 1975)

Rumpole of the Bailey (16 Dec 1975) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joyce Heron ...
Noel Willman ...
Mr. Justice Bates
David Yelland ...
Herbert Norville ...
Ossie Gladstone - The Defendant
Artro Morris ...
Mr. Winter
George Sweeney ...
John Byron ...
Magnus Piecan
Edwin Brown ...
Detective Inspector Arthur
Paul Greenhalgh ...
Rev. Eldred Pickersgill
Peter Spraggon ...
Prison Officer
Tommy Wright ...
Man in Cell
Sarah Thomas ...
Eric Hillyard ...
Court Usher


Horace Rumpole is an iconoclastic, poetry-quoting "Old Bailey hack," whose irreverence is not particularly popular with judges. He has a dysfunctional marriage to "she who must be obeyed" and a rather tenuous one with Nick, his only son, who has always believed his father cares more for the Bailey than him. Although Nick is scheduled to leave for college in America, Rumpole opts to defend a Jamaican teenager who has apparently confessed to randomly stabbing a pedestrian at a bus stop after a cricket match. Nick does stop by the courthouse to have lunch with his father and try establish communication with him before he leaves. Written by

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Release Date:

16 December 1975 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Served as the pilot for a series of the same name that ran from 1978 to 1992. See more »


Horace Rumpole: I could win most of my cases if it weren't for the clients. Clients have no tact, poor old darlings, no bloody sensitivity. They *will* waltz into the witness box and blurt out things that are far better left... unblurted.
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Followed by Rumpole of the Bailey (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

Rumpole at sunrise
1 January 2010 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

The Rumpole of the Bailey series is largely a comedy, primarily because of the antics of Horace Rumpole's colleagues at 3 Equity Court and Rumpole's usually successful efforts to frustrate their schemes. But this introduction to Rumpole is a sadder, more melancholy, short play that doesn't show his life in chambers, but that takes Rumpole's dysfunctional family life a bit more seriously. Rumpole's legal philosophy is already fully formed even before the beginning of the series -- the true crime isn't being a criminal, but imprisoning criminals. However, his wife Hilda ("She Who Must Be Obeyed") hasn't found that awkward balance she has in the series between loving and loathing Rumpole, between being frustrated by him and fearing that every woman he meets is attracted to him. She's really unhappy in her marriage. Rumpole's son, who in the series loves and appreciates his father, has a much more difficult relationship with him here.

It's well worth seeing for those who love the Rumpole series and stories. It's unfortunately not included in the complete series collection, but it is available as a stand-alone DVD.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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