The cases of a portly and eccentric criminal law barrister.
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1992   1991   1988   1987   1983   1980   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Horace Rumpole (43 episodes, 1978-1992)
...
 Henry (38 episodes, 1978-1992)
Julian Curry ...
 Claude Erskine-Brown / ... (36 episodes, 1978-1992)
Marion Mathie ...
 Hilda Rumpole (24 episodes, 1987-1992)
Richard Murdoch ...
 Uncle Tom (24 episodes, 1978-1991)
Maureen Darbyshire ...
 Dianne / ... (24 episodes, 1978-1991)
Peter Blythe ...
 Samuel Ballard Q.C. / ... (22 episodes, 1983-1992)
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Storyline

Horace Rumpole is an "Old Bailey Hack," one of the underpaid barristers who ply the courtrooms of the Old Bailey, London's criminal court. Rumpole refused to handle most suits and will never prosecute. He always defends. Each of his trials has both a victory and a defeat in them, his clients who are acquitted often angrier than those who are found guilty. There is always at least one and often two subplots. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Details

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Release Date:

12 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rumpole von Old Bailey  »

Company Credits

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Yelland played Rumpole's 17 year old son Nick in the first episode, despite being 31 at the time. See more »

Quotes

"Soapy" Sam Ballard: Rumpole as a client! God give me strength!
Hilda Rumpole: Oh, don't worry, Sam. If God doesn't, I certainly will.
See more »

Connections

Follows Play for Today: Rumpole of the Bailey (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury
7 April 2006 | by (Derbyshire, UK) – See all my reviews

It is hard to know who deserves the most credit for this courtroom series; author John Mortimer QC (a noted barrister himself), or actor Leo McKern.

Obviously, the series was written with the benefit of intimate knowledge of the English legal system, but almost every branch of it is portrayed very unflatteringly. Most Barristers are shown as smug and pompous, fencing with each other in Latin phrases while the defendant and jury look baffled; policemen are bent, solicitors are shady and judges are either more concerned with barristers' correct dress rather than the evidence, or sadistic and bigoted.

The seamier side of the profession is also shown; with prestigious barristers having to work from poky "chambers", at the mercy of clerks for their work ("briefs") and undervalued secretaries for their paperwork.

In such a world, a weary and introspective character such as Rumpole dominates the scene. McKern's booming delivery and range of facial expressions make this all too easy. The language is a delight, as Rumpole quotes Browning, Tennyson, Shakespeare at will. Some of the most hilarious scenes occur as lawyers take on their clients' personas and start arguing their cases with each other in the first person, in bars or restaurants.

Rumpole's home life with wife Hilda, "She who must be obeyed", is also shown as quite a caricature, as Hilda Rumpole is portrayed as having few interests beyond her husband's lowly position in the pecking order, and household cleaning agents.

Any one of the episodes makes good viewing.


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