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Rumpole of the Bailey: The Complete Series Megaset

Leo McKern , Jonathan Coy , John Glenister    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Rumpole of the Bailey - Complete Series Megaset Rumpole of the Bailey - Complete Series Megaset 4.6 out of 5 stars (13)
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Product Description

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Before there was Quincy and The Practice, there was Rumpole. Rumpole of the Bailey is, quite simply, one of the finest television series, and it has served as a model for all law dramas that followed it. Edgy and satirical, Rumpole is based on John Mortimer's books of the same name. A determined and committed criminal defense barrister (whose clients have included three generations of the Timson family, among others) at the Old Bailey (criminal court), esteemed actor Leo McKern portrays the antihero Rumpole. As champion of the downtrodden, the self-righteous Rumpole loves to get in trouble with his wife Hilda, his peers, the head of chambers, and judges, to name but a few. A connoisseur of Wordsworth, cigars, and cheap liquor, McKern's usually disheveled Rumpole belies the character's dry sense of humor and astute skill as a barrister. The upwardly mobile Hilda is played by Peggy Thorpe-Bates, known for her Miss Toliver in Alcatraz Island, and Justice Sir Guthrie Fetherston is played by Peter Bowles, known for his Richard DeVere in TV's To the Manor Born.

Typical of British drama, production values are low while the caliber of scriptwriting and acting is unsurpassed. Rumpole is a rare example of a television serial that is as appealing and engaging on its 10th viewing as it was on its first. A&E's 14-disc megaset includes all 42 episodes from the series' seven seasons, plus the 1982 two-hour special Rumpole's Return, introductions by and an interview with John Mortimer, and other bonus material. --Erik Macki



Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Bailey Hack May 31 2006
By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
'Rumpole of the Bailey' is one of my favourite book series, and is also one of my favourite television series of all time. Spanning well over a decade, Thames television produced over 40 episodes of the crusty old barrister's tales, penned both for book and screen by John Mortimer, who used to take delight in highlighting silliness in judicial judgements by putting those decisions into the guise of his own judges, perhaps most especially judge Bullingham.

Leo McKern, a well-known British character actor perhaps most famous internationally for 'A Man for All Seasons' and 'Shoes of the Fisherman', found this great role late in life, and became the quintessential image for Rumpole. He performed the role through all the episodes (presented in the UK originally starting in 1978, and continuing with a few gaps through 1992, and presented in the USA via the PBS Mystery series approximately the same time), joined by two different actresses portraying Hilda Rumpole (Peggy Thorpe-Bates and Marion Mathie), affectionately referred to as 'She Who Must Be Obeyed'. Rumpole's mannerisms and penchant for the less genteel things in life are done by McKern in a perfect contrast to the others in Chambers, be they Guthrie Featherstone (played by Peter Bowles as an upper-middle, Conservative-Labour MP QC) or 'Soapy Sam' Ballard (Peter Blythe), Claude Erskine-Brown (Julian Curry) or Phyllida Erskine-Brown ne Trant (Patricia Hodge).

There are set pieces about these episodes, but they are far from formulaic. Unlike some American counterparts with which one might hazard a comparison, Rumpole does not always win the case, although he almost always solves the mystery.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Britcoms Rule! April 5 2011
Format:DVD
There's nothing like Britcoms for the purest kind of entertainment. Leo McKern, as the irrascible Rumpole brings the Old Bailey to life for viewers in his long-running series "Rumpole of the Bailey".

Being able to purchase the entire series at one go is a delight for this viewer. The early episodes, although with good story lines, are somewhat stiff and this adds interest to the series as the characters grow smoother and funnier and the entire ensemble cast grow comfortable in their roles.

Rumpole is a barrister who has married into the upper crust and his society wife despairs of him as he continues to choose the Old Bailey and the neediest defendants over the high courts. Rumpole tolerates and generally ignores the importunities of "she-who-must-be-obeyed", as he calls her. His wry wit and complete intolerance of sham of any kind lead him to be a lovable character with a deep understanding of people and their shortcomings as well as demonstrating that he has a good nose for solving criminal cases.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumpole of the Bailey Aug. 15 2011
By Hodee
Format:DVD
Every episode seems new and refreshing. One would have expected a lot of repetition out of a court room series, but Rumpole could have gone on for quite a few more seasons before the novelty wore off. Beautifully executed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rumpole Nov. 1 2009
Format:DVD
Rumpole is so well written - just love the series - it's too bad there weren't more. John Mortimor has great introductions to each one
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Part lawyer, part detective Aug. 1 2011
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This series closely follows the feel and the sarcasm of the written stories. The stories are not in the same order as the book however each one stands alone. In a brief time there is posed a mystery or a problem and then some recognizable interaction with people that I am sure you can say you know someone like them. A little drama and it is finally wrapped up in short order. More than the stories that do not leave you hanging it are the comments that make the episode interesting to watch.

A note on the side you will recognize many of the actors from both Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Part lawyer, part detective Sept. 30 2010
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This series closely follows the feel and the sarcasm of the written stories. The stories are not in the same order as the book however each one stands alone. In a brief time there is posed a mystery or a problem and then some recognizable interaction with people that I am sure you can say you know someone like them. A little drama and it is finally wrapped up in short order. More than the stories that do not leave you hanging it are the comments that make the episode interesting to watch.

A note on the side you will recognize many of the actors from both Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers movies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 7 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
GREAT SERIES, FANTASTIC ACTING, BRITISH ACTORS BRING REALITY TO THEIR WORK, COURT SCENES ARE DELICIOUS!
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