Rumpole of the Bailey (1978–1992)
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Rumpole and the Summer of Discontent 

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Rumpole defends a union activist accused of manslaughter while Hilda goes on strike as Rumpole's cook because of his late hours..


Julian Amyes


John Mortimer



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Leo McKern ... Horace Rumpole
Marion Mathie Marion Mathie ... Hilda Rumpole
Peter Bowles ... Mr. Justice Featherstone
Peter Blythe ... Samuel Ballard Q.C.
Julian Curry Julian Curry ... Claude Erskine-Brown
Abigail McKern Abigail McKern ... Liz Probert
Jonathan Coy ... Henry
Denis Lill Denis Lill ... Mr. Bernard
Richard Murdoch Richard Murdoch ... Uncle Tom
Christopher Milburn Christopher Milburn ... Dave Inchcape
Denys Graham Denys Graham ... Hoskins
Preston Lockwood Preston Lockwood ... Lord Chancellor
Joanna Van Gyseghem Joanna Van Gyseghem ... Lady Marigold Featherstone
Ronnie Stevens ... Mr. Justice Parsloe
Peter Carlisle Peter Carlisle ... Wilfred


A militant union shop steward stands accused of having thrown a brick that caused the death of one of the scab workers while he was crossing a picket line. However, this is not the only labor problem plaguing Rumpole. When Henry becomes upset that Ballard is planning to eliminate the clerk's percentage and put them on straight salary, Rumpole spends a late night commiserating with his clerk at Pomeroy's. A piqued Hilda objects to her husband's late hours and goes on strike as cook of the household, leaving the hungry barrister to his own devices for his dinners. In addition, during the trial Featherstone's objection to a proposed change in judicial appointments which would allow solicitors on the bench causes him to "withdraw her services" as judge for the afternoon as well. Written by Gabe Taverney (

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

4 November 1991 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Thames Television See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Author John Mortimer appears in a cameo as a theatregoer in the bar at the opera during the interval. See more »


Horace Rumpole: Ballard's in his chambers and everything seems to be wrong in the world.
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User Reviews

Excellent Character-Focused Legal Comedy-Drama
25 January 2014 | by l_rawjalaurenceSee all my reviews

Looking at RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY almost two decades after its first broadcast, one is struck by its old-fashioned nature. Shot on videotape, with the focus mostly on close-ups and two-shots, the plot unfolds at a slow, almost stately pace, allowing viewers to appreciate John Mortimer's sparkling dialog. The series ran for thirteen years on television, not to mention the radio version (which was still running as late as 2008). Apart from McKern's iconic central performance, the series benefited from a clutch of memorable supporting actors - Peter Blythe, Patricia Hodge, Peter Bowles, Julian Curry, Richard Murdoch and Abigail McKern. In this particular episode, a union member (Bryan Pringle) is wrongfully accused of murder. Needless to say Rumpole manages to acquit him, while outwitting a variety of other adversaries, including Erskine-Brown (Curry) and Guthrie Featherstone (Bowles). There's also a well-constructed subplot involving She Who Must Be Obeyed (Marian Mathie) following the example of other professions and going on strike. As with most Rumpole episodes, the denouement is both satisfying and right.

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