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Rumpole of the Bailey

All Episodes 1975 - 1992

  • Ended
  • ITV1
  • 1975-12-17T00:00:00-05:00
  • 60 mins
  • 1 day, 12 hours, 21 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Comedy, Drama
Horace Rumpole (played by the late Leo McKern) is an untidy, ageing London barrister 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 by his wife ('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.

47 episodes

Rumpole defends a Jamaican youth charged with attempted murder. Things look grim at first but then when Rumpole discovers the lad's secret he thinks he sees an opening.

Special 2 Mortimer's Musings

  • 1994-06-28T19:00:00-04:00 — 60 mins

An interview with Rumpole's creator, John Mortimer.

Special 3 Rumpole's Return

  • 1980-12-29T19:00:00-05:00 — 60 mins

Retirement on the East Coast of the Former Colonies, at Hilda's behest, is not proving to be Rumpole's cup of tea or his glass of Pommeroy's. The possibility of a trip to London comes up, and suddenly there is a case in the air. The game's afoot - what does the future hold?

1x01 Rumpole and the Younger Generation

  • Series Premiere

    1978-04-02T18:00:00-05:00 — 53 mins

Rumpole defends young Jim Timson, who has been grassed up for robbery with violence by 'Peanuts' Molloy - one of a rival gang of East End villains with whom the Timsons have an ancient feud. Unhappily, Jim's only alibi rests upon a junior member of the Molloy family. Meanwhile, Rumpole is having trouble communicating with his own son, Nick. He is also vexed by the question of who will be the new Head of Chambers at Number 3, Equity Court. Might he dare to dream that it could be him?

1x02 Rumpole and the Alternative Society

  • 1978-04-09T18:00:00-05:00 — 53 mins

Rumpole is in the west of England to visit an old friend from his days in the Royal Air Force, Sam ('Three Fingers') Dogherty, and to defend Kathy Trelawney, who is charged with selling cannabis to a police agent provocateur.

1x03 Rumpole and the Honourable Member

  • 1978-04-16T18:00:00-05:00 — 53 mins

Rumpole defends Ken Aspen, a politician accused of raping a party worker. The defendant admits there was intercourse but claims it was consensual, and Rumpole believes he has found a strong line of defense.Meanwhile, Rumpole's favorite clerk has been accused of stealing from the petty cash at Number 3, Equity Court...

1x04 Rumpole and the Married Lady

  • 1978-04-23T18:00:00-05:00 — 54 mins

Rumpole defends a woman (Mrs Thripp) in a divorce action brought by her husband, claiming infidelity. She Who Must Be Obeyed (Mrs Rumpole) forms the opinion that her husband has a mistress - with curious results. Meanwhile, the aggrieved Thripp has begun a battle of notes.

1x05 Rumpole and the Learned Friends

  • 1978-04-30T19:00:00-04:00 — 52 mins

Guthrie Featherstone, with Rumpole as his junior, defends a safe-cracker who claims to have been framed by the notorious Inspector ""Dirty"" Dickerson. Rumpole risks his reputation by attacking police corruption before a police-friendly judge - and as a result he finds himself called to a disciplinary hearing. There is even the possibility that Rumpole may be forced to retire, but he digs his toes in.

1x06 Rumpole and the Heavy Brigade

  • 1978-05-14T19:00:00-04:00 — 55 mins

Rumpole is busy defending the youngest son of a family of villains on a murder charge. His client has all the evidence stacked against him, but meanwhile it is Rumpole's battered old bowler which is becoming the focus of bemused attention in chambers and beyond. Hilda has made up her mind that Rumpole is to take her to the Scales of Justice Ball. Perhaps a new hat and an acquittal at the Old Bailey will get him in the mood for dancing?


  • no air date — 60 mins

2x01 Rumpole and the Man of God

  • Season Premiere

    1979-05-28T19:00:00-04:00 — 53 mins

Rumpole defends a vicar who is charged with stealing three shirts from a department store, but the troubled clergyman refuses to take the stand in his own defense. George Frobisher, who is in line to be appointed as a Circuit Judge, comes to dinner with the Rumpoles and introduces his new girlfriend. Rumpole remembers seeing her in court and advises his friend to think again.

2x02 Rumpole and the Case of Identity

  • 1979-06-04T19:00:00-04:00 — 53 mins

With the Christmas season in full swing, Rumpole defends Dave Anstey on the charge of stabbing a sales assistant in an off-license. It seems to be a case of mistaken identity, but why does Dave's boss, on whom his alibi depends, change his story and undermine the defense? Meanwhile, Rumpole's Head of Chambers has an attractive new secretary, and starts spending a lot of time with her behind closed doors... When Guthrie Featherstone is seen gyrating at a disco with the girl from the typing pool, Rumpole means to get to the bottom of it all.

2x03 Rumpole and the Show Folk

  • 1979-06-11T19:00:00-04:00 — 55 mins

Rumpole travels to the north of England and practices his own theatricality in defense of Maggie Hartley, an actress accused of shooting her womanizing husband.

2x04 Rumpole and the Fascist Beast

  • 1979-06-18T19:00:00-04:00 — 52 mins

Rumpole defends Captain Rex Parkin, who is charged with inciting a riot by racist speeches. Rumpole also has a new pupil, one Latif Khan.

2x05 Rumpole and the Course of True Love

  • 1979-06-25T19:00:00-04:00 — 54 mins

Rumpole defends a flamboyanty romantic young schoolteacher who is accused of seducing a pupil. Meanwhile, Rumpole's colleague in chambers Guthrie Featherstone pursues his ambition of becoming a High Court judge, while Phyllida has a secret to keep from a former lover.

2x06 Rumpole and the Age for Retirement

  • 1979-07-02T19:00:00-04:00 — 52 mins

Rumpole defends Percy Timson, a receiver of stolen property who has been framed for the theft of an important painting which is out of his league. Meanwhile, Rumpole's wife and son Nick (who is now a college lecturer in the US) are making plans for Rumpole's retirement in the very near future - to a restful existence in Maryland.


  • no air date — 108 mins

3x01 Rumpole and the Genuine Article

  • Season Premiere

    1983-10-10T19:00:00-04:00 — 54 mins

Rumpole defends Harold Brittling, an unsuccessful artist who has been charged with faking a major painting by the late Septimus Craig. But Brittling is remarkably relaxed about the case and seems to have an agenda of his own.

3x02 Rumpole and the Golden Thread

  • 1983-10-17T19:00:00-04:00 — 55 mins

Rumpole flies to Neranga, in Africa, to defend David Mazenze (his former law pupil) on a charge of murder. Rumpole meets with politcs, tribal hatred, and confusion - and his client seems to have no credible alibi to offer for the time of the murder.

3x03 Rumpole and the Old Boy Net

  • 1983-10-24T20:00:00-04:00 — 54 mins

Rumpole welcomes a new pupil, the beautiful Fiona Allways, and together they defend Mr and Mrs Napier-Lee, who are charged with blackmail and with running an immoral house. But the Napier-Lees are slow to defend themselves, anxious not to expose the lies of an old school friend.

3x04 Rumpole and the Female of the Species

  • 1983-10-31T19:00:00-05:00 — 53 mins

Rumpole defends Tony Timson, who is accused of driving the getaway car for a bungled robbery by the Molloy gang - a gang whose relationship with the Timsons is about as warm as that between the Montagues and the Capulets. Meanwhile, Fiona Allways applies to join Rumpole's chambers at number 3, Equity Court, and this meets with opposition from an unexpected quarter - Phyllida.

3x05 Rumpole and the Sporting Life

  • 1983-11-07T19:00:00-05:00 — 54 mins

Rumpole gets out into rural England when Fiona Allways persuades him to defend her sister Jennifer, charged with murdering her skirt-chasing husband.

3x06 Rumpole and the Last Resort

  • 1983-11-14T19:00:00-05:00 — 54 mins

Rumpole turns to his wife, Hilda, for help in getting a slippery solicitor to pay what he owes. Meanwhile, Rumpole is busy defending the owner of a caravan rental agency who is accused of fraud.

4x01 Rumpole and the Old, Old Story

  • Season Premiere

    1987-01-18T19:00:00-05:00 — 52 mins

Rumpole defends a business man who is accused of trying to murder his partner. After a squabble with 'She Who Must Be Obeyed', Rumpole finally leaves home - but Hilda doesn't seem to miss him very much...

4x02 Rumpole and the Blind Tasting

  • 1987-01-25T19:00:00-05:00 — 52 mins

Yet another of the Timsons needs Rumpole's services as an advocate, this time to answer charges of fencing stolen liquor. Rumpole accepts Ms Liz Probert - a radical left-wing activist - as a pupil, though not without certain misgivings.

4x03 Rumpole and the Official Secret

  • 1987-02-01T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

Rumpole defends an elderly woman charged under the Official Secrets Act - she is claimed to have have leaked (so to speak) information revealing excessive British government expenditure on tea.

4x04 Rumpole and the Judge's Elbow

  • 1987-02-08T19:00:00-05:00 — 52 mins

Rumpole defends a man charged with running massage parlours as brothels, and his former colleague in chambers Mr Justice Featherstone finds himself in an embarrassing position. The prospect of appointment as a Judge is dangled in front of Rumpole - and it is suggested that he might wish to handle the defense of his present case with suitable discretion, so to speak... The troublesome Heathstoke is working to move number 3 Equity Court into the twentieth century and tries to oust both Rumpole and Henry, the chambers clerk.

4x05 Rumpole and the Bright Seraphim

  • 1987-02-15T19:00:00-05:00 — 52 mins

Rumpole travels to West Germany to defend a British soldier facing a court-martial charged with the murder of his sergeant.

4x06 Rumpole's Last Case

  • 1987-02-22T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

The Timsons are in trouble again, and in need of the services of their favourite 'brief'. The old firm is back in business, but as he unravels the mystery of who carried the gun in a bungled robbery Rumpole is unaccountably wearying of it all. After investing with his turf accountant on a valuable four-horse accumulator, Rumpole makes up his mind that it's time to hang up his wig for the last time - but not before telling a few home truths to his old adversary, Mr Justice 'Mad Bull' Bullingham. Meanwhile, the gods have ideas of their own. Hearthstoke is still giving Henry and Dianne a rough time and he even contrives to infuriate Phyllida.

5x01 Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation

  • Season Premiere

    1988-11-22T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

Rumpole fights a claim for libel filed by a woman writer against a low newspaper. Claude Erskine-Brown moves in with Rumpole after being photographed at a night-club of ill repute, to the fury of Phyllida.

5x02 Rumpole and the Barrow Boy

  • 1988-11-29T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

Young Nigel Timson has moved on from the world of East End villainy and is now working in financial services in the City of London. Rumpole is called on to defend Nigel against charges of insider trading. Meanwhile, Henry, the clerk in Rumpole's chambers, is thinking of running off to Australia with Dianne, the typist, and he turns to Rumpole for advice.

5x03 Rumpole and the Age of Miracles

  • 1988-12-06T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

Rumpole defends his clergyman nephew in an ecclesiastical court, against charges of adultery - of which the bishop takes a dim view. Rumpole's colleagues Ballard and Erskine-Brown appear for the prosecution.

5x04 Rumpole and the Tap End

  • 1988-12-13T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

Rumpole defends Tony Timson on charges of attempted murder - with Tony's wife, April, claiming he tried to drown her - while sexist remarks by Mr Justice Guthrie Featherstone give the press a field day and, more importantly, upset the Lord Chancellor. 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' decides it's time for her to begin her own career in the legal profession.

5x05 Rumpole and Portia

  • 1988-12-20T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

Rumpole defends Stanley Culp, a scrap dealer, on charges of selling arms to terrorists. The case comes before a newly appointed Recorder - Phyllida Erskine-Brown.

5x06 Rumpole and the Quality of Life

  • 1988-12-27T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

Rumpole defends Lady Perdita Derwent, charged with the murder of her elderly husband. Meanwhile, Ms Liz Probert complains of anti-gay discrimination at number 3, Equity Court, and the portly Rumpole suffers from a strict diet imposed by She Who Must Be Obeyed.

6x01 Rumpole a la Carte

  • Season Premiere

    1991-10-27T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

A live mouse is served to Erskine-Brown in a London restaurant, and Rumpole finds himself defending the self-important chef-restaurateur on the environmental health charges which follow. At home, Hilda takes up with her Canadian cousin, Jean-Pierre O'Higgins, and loses all interest in Rumpole.

6x02 Rumpole and the Summer of Discontent

  • 1991-11-03T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

Before Mr Justice Guthrie Featherstone, Rumpole defends a trade unionist on charges of recklessly causing the death of a truck-driver who was crossing a union picket-line. Guthrie is thinking about a strike of his own, to hit back at new rights of audience for mere solicitors in court. Meanwhile, chez Rumpole, Hilda declares she is going on strike herself.

6x03 Rumpole and the Right to Silence

  • 1991-11-10T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

Rumpole defends a radical lecturer accused of murdering an unpopular university official - but his client refuses to give critical information in his own defence.Hilda takes offense, after Rumpole gives Ballard and Erskine-Brown advice on the keeping of secrets from their lady wives.

6x04 Rumpole at Sea

  • 1991-11-17T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

Without marked enthusiasm, Rumpole takes Hilda on a cruising holiday. He is appalled to learn that a High Court judge, Mr Justice Graves, is also on board, and Rumpole takes cover - but skullduggery aimed at the missing wife of a politician brings him back to the surface.

6x05 Rumpole and the Quacks

  • 1991-11-24T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

Rumpole defends his own doctor, charged with sexually molesting a woman patient - and Rumpole's friend Phyllida is counsel for the prosecution.Claude Erskine-Brown is in hot water when Phyllida comes to believe he is advertising for women friends in an under-the-counter magazine.

6x06 Rumpole for the Prosecution

  • 1991-12-01T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

Rumpole agrees to act for the family of a dead girl who are bringing a private prosecution for murder against a policeman. Did a killer receive preferential treatment from his colleagues on the Force, who knew he was guilty but decided not to charge him?Ballard asks Rumpole to prosecute Erskine-Brown, who is accused of stealing work from a colleague in chambers by changing the names on a brief.Mysteriously, Ballard spends a lot of time at a party hiding a bandaged fingertip...

7x01 Rumpole and the Children of the Devil

  • Season Premiere

    1992-10-28T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

Rumpole again defends the Timsons, when they are accused of Satanism and their daughter Tracy has been put into local authority care. Hilda is angling for Rumpole to take her to this year's Scales of Justice Ball.

7x02 Rumpole and the Miscarriage of Justice

  • 1992-11-04T19:00:00-05:00 — 51 mins

Rumpole defends a policeman, Superintendent Gannon, who is accused of changing a teenager's statement confessing to murdering a policeman. Meanwhile, Sir Guthrie Featherstone finds himself in hot water - as the Judge in the boy's case, he gave a damning summing-up against him, and now the Lord Chief Justice of England is taking an interest in the matter.

7x03 Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle

  • 1992-11-11T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

Rumpole flirts with a beautiful violinist and finds himself reluctantly defending her husband, who is charged with murdering the violinist's musical partner.Meanwhile, Claude Erskine-Brown accuses Henry, the clerk at 3 Equity Court, of sexually harassing a secretary.

7x04 Rumpole and the Reform of Joby Jonson

  • 1992-11-18T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

Rumpole defends a teenager charged with stealing from old people. Curiously, Rumpole's own apartment is promptly broken into and documents are stolen. Erskine-Brown is in the running again to 'take silk' (become a Queen's Counsel) but the word around the Inns of Court is that he does not have enough 'bottom' and will not make the grade. Phyllida launches a campaign in support of Claude, but can she pull it off?

7x05 Rumpole and the Family Pride

  • 1992-11-25T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

Rumpole and Hilda are invited for the weekend at a cousin's castle - but when they get there they find their relation faces the charge of murdering a travelling woman and is looking for Rumpole to rally round to help him.

7x06 Rumpole on Trial

  • 1992-12-02T19:00:00-05:00 — 50 mins

Hilda persuades Ballard to defend Rumpole when he faces a disciplinary hearing. Rumpole seems to have gone a good deal too far in what he said in Mr Justice Oliphant's court - or did he?