Rumpole of the Bailey

ITV (ended 1992)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 7 : Ep 6

    Rumpole on Trial

    Aired 12/3/92

  • S 7 : Ep 5

    Rumpole and the Family Pride

    Aired 11/26/92

  • S 7 : Ep 4

    Rumpole and the Reform of Joby Jonson

    Aired 11/19/92

  • S 7 : Ep 3

    Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle

    Aired 11/12/92

  • S 7 : Ep 2

    Rumpole and the Miscarriage of Justice

    Aired 11/5/92

  • Cast & Crew
  • Leo McKern

    Horace Rumpole

  • Peggy Thorpe-Bates

    Hilda Rumpole [ 1978 - 1983 ]

  • Marion Mathie

    Hilda Rumpole [ 1987 - 1992 ]

  • Peter Bowles

    Guthrie Featherstone

  • Jonathan Coy


  • show Description
  • Welcome to the Rumpole of the Bailey guide at Horace Rumpole (played by the late Leo McKern) is an untidy, ageing London barrister with one glass eye who defends in criminal cases. His clients rarely cut elegant figures. He is fond of red wine, poetry, and fair dealing, and is not looked on as a great success in life by his wife, Hilda ('She Who Must Be Obeyed'). Rumpole has had a few triumphs, and the Penge Bungalow murders are often on his mind... Rumpole shares Chambers at Number 3, Equity Court, with a mixed group of barrister colleagues, including Guthrie Featherstone (Peter Bowles) and Phyllida Trant (Patricia Hodge). He also takes pupils - notably Fiona Allways (played by Rosalyn Landor) and Liz Probert. The creator and writer of the series, Sir John Mortimer, received an Edgar Allan Poe Award for crime and mystery for Rumpole.moreless

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    User Score: 285


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    User Score: 125


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (17)

    • Rumpole: Our best chance of getting the lad off will be if the judge turns out to be a Jamaican teenager.

    • Rumpole: Heaven lies about us in our infancy. Shades of the prison house begin to close Upon the growing boy...

    • Rumpole: We look before and after...

    • Simmonds: Captain Parkin wishes it to be known that he is perfectly sincere. Rumpole: Unfortunately, that is not a defence in law. I have known quite a number of genuine robbers. They sincerely wanted to be rich.

    • Rumpole: Mrs De Moyne, it would seem that you are not so much an art lover as a collector of autographs.

    • Featherstone: (discussing his appointment at the palace) It's not so much an appointment, more of a royal command, you know, type of thing. Rumpole: No, I don't really. My only royal command was to join the ground staff of the RAF, as I remember it.

    • Rumpole Away, for we are ready to a man! Our camels sniff the evening and are glad. Lead on, O Master of the Caravan: Lead on the Merchant-Princes of Bagdad. We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go Always a little further: it may be Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow, Across that angry or that glimmering sea...

    • Rumpole: This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be; Home is the sailor, home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill. (See episode allusions, above.)

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    Notes (2)

    • Rumpole of the Bailey made its debut as an episode of Play for Today in December 1975. Horace, Hilda and Nick Rumpole were the main characters to transition into this series. That appearance is loosely considered a pilot episode for this series and is sometimes referenced as Rumpole and the Confession of Guilt.

    • Rumpole's Return has a length of 110 minutes.

    Trivia (5)

    • In this episode we meet Sam Ballard's prayer group Lawyers as Christians. When it first pops up, in Rumpole and the Old Boy Net, the group's name is Lawyers as Churchgoers, which is also what John Mortimer's books call it. But maybe there has been a schism?

    • In the opening sequences, we see Captain Gleason driving out of the Woodland Folk Garden Centre, coming within inches of hitting a van. His car then careers out of control down a steep hill and ends up crashing into the premises of - yes, it's the Woodland Folk Garden Centre again!

    • Anon writes - My word, did teenage girls working in London massage parlours in the mid-1980s really have names like Elsie? Elsie?

    • Keep an eye out for the author John Mortimer, who has a cameo appearance as one of the dinner guests during the second Timpson trial.

    • John Mortimer QC, the writer, makes a cameo appearance as a guest at the dinner (sitting on the Bishop's right).

    Allusions (9)

    • Rumpole quotes from William Wordsworth's poem Ode on Intimations of Immortality - Heaven lies about us in our infancy! Shades of the prison-house begin to close Upon the growing boy...

    • Rumpole quotes from the poet Shelley's Ode to a Sky Lark: We look before and after, And pine for what is not; Our sincerest laughter With some pain is fraught; Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

    • Rumpole quotes from Rudyard Kipling's poem Mandalay On the Road to Mandalay, Where the old Flotilla lay And the dawn came up like thunder Out of China 'cross the bay!

    • Rumpole quotes from James Elroy Flecker's poem On the Road to Samarkand (see episode quotes).

    • Rumpole quotes from Robert Louis Stevenson's poem Requiem (see episode quotes).

    • Rumpole quotes from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (see episode quotes).

    • Rumpole quotes from Shakespeare's Othello - see episode quotes, below.

    • Rumpole in this episode has his guard lowered by an attractive woman who enthralls him with sweet words and hints of promises. This echoes the John Keats ballad La Belle Dame Sans Merci (The Beautiful Woman without Pity) (1819) which tells the story of a knight felled by a predatory creature (the shadow of death) taking the form of a lady. Rumpole rouses himself just in time to turn the tables on the lady and later explains his odd behaviour to Hilda by citing the lines from Keats.

      Keats's knight told of making scented floral garlands for his lady while Rumpole merely had a dash of scent added to his own hair.

    Show More Allusions
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