Rumpole of the Bailey (1978–1992)

TV Series  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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The cases of a portly and eccentric criminal law barrister.

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7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1992   1991   1988   1987   1983   1980   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 8 nominations. See more awards »
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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)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

12 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rumpole von Old Bailey  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Rumpole has a penchant for giving literary or historical nicknames to friends and foes. His wife Hilda's moniker, "She Who Must Be Obeyed," was originally applied to the title character of H. Rider Haggard's novel "She," while Phyllida Trant Erskine-Brown's nickname, "Portia," is from William Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice." Samuel Ballard is dubbed "Soapy Sam" after 'Bishop Samuel Wilberforce' (1805-73), now best remembered for debating Thomas Huxley over Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, but regarded in his own time as rather a slick operator. And he refers to Judge Graves as the "whited sepulchre" - a Biblical allusion (Matthew 27). See more »


Horace Rumpole: She who must be obeyed!
See more »


Followed by Rumpole of the Bailey: Rumpole's Return (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Rumpole does not plead guilty or prosecute
5 August 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Horace Rumpole is not one of those rich high flying barristers. He's an 'Old Bailey hack' who is equally comfortable with Magistrates Courts. He is particularly comfortable in Pommeroy's wine bar. He certainly doesn't want to be a judge because they send people to the 'Chokey' He doesn't not want his clients to plead guilty possibly because trials are a better earner. He has no ambitions to be a QC even though this would mean that he would not need a 'leader' in big cases. This is a great series with loads of humour.The fact that this was written by a barrister makes it even better.

He lives with his wife Hilda...She who must be obeyed. He is annoyed that she prefers to buy cleaning products like Vim rather than bottles of wine. His most famous case is the Penge Bungalow murders. He is usually successful even though no judges appear to like him.

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