Rumpole of the Bailey: Set 1 - The Complete Seasons One and Two [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Special Features

  • Episode introductions with John Mortimer
  • Feature-length bonus movie Rumpole's Return
  • John Mortimer biography
  • John Mortimer bibliography and selected credits
  • About the Old Bailey
  • Official executioners of Newgate Prison
  • Interactive menus
  • Scene selection


Three years after the property was introduced as a one-shot on BBC's Play for Today, the seriocomic British legal series Rumpole of the Bailey officially launched its first season of six weekly episodes on April 3, 1978. In the opener "Rumpole and the Younger Generation", iconoclastic barrister Horace Rumpole (Leo McKern) defends a youthful member of the unsavory East End Timson gang when the boy is framed for robbery by a rival gang. Then in "Rumpole and the Alternative Society", the delightfully unkempt lawyer takes time off from visiting a former RAF colleague to plead on behalf of a woman accused of selling marijuana. Next up is "Rumpole and the Honourable Member", wherein his client is a politican charged with raping a party worker, a situation which places Rumpole at odds with his son's fiancé. For "Rumpole and the Married Lady", series creator John Mortimer draws upon his own father's experiences as a divorce lawyer. In "Rumpole and the Learned Friends" Rumpole acts as junior assistant to his bumbling colleague Guthrie Featherstone (Peter Bowles) in defense of a safecracker who may have been set up by a crooked cop. Rounding out the season is "Rumpole and the Heavy Brigade" in which Rumpole again rises to the defense of the disreputable Tilsons to protect a man charged with murder thanks to a preponderance of suspiciously "airtight" evidence. ~ Hal Erickson
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