66 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2009
This a great series ! We see the late great Leo McKern bringing to life the great legal character invented by that magnificent writer Jon Mortimer himself sadly deceased.Rumpole is a larger than life defender of social justice. The part is played so that we get from Leo McKern's performances the complexity of Rumpole's personality.The wry humor and pathos comes very much to the fore as does Rumpoles love-hate relationship with his wife Hilda.The stories flow very well as the editing has been competently done.There are plenty are twists and turns in what could be seen as a British parody of Perry Mason - much as Carry On Texas would have been a British version of US Super-Soap Dallas.
The acting is very good stuff indeed as you sometimes get James Grout as a judge or Liz Fraser running a hotel.Peter Sallis crops up in one episode in Norman Clegg mode and Peter Bowels is great as the suave head of chambers.I love this series and getting it for less than one third of the recommended retail price from Amazon is a great idea.The clever plot-lines should certainly keep the viewer interested !
Don't delay - buy today !
156 of 157 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2008
I grew up with Rumpole and enjoyed him enormously. This complete set was unavailable for many years, so when I saw it at a very reasonable price I jumped at the deal. Now, in my more senior years I realise how clever John Mortimer's scripts are and how wonderfully Leo Mckern plays them. Rumpole the rebel, brilliant criminal lawyer - but also Rumpole the foolish and gullible......Enjoy!
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2010
I bought the box set for my husband for Christmas, as we remembered with affection some of the episodes of Rumpole when they were originally broadcast. We felt we had missed quite a few of them as we were very busy with our working lives back then. We now realise that not only had we missed a lot of episodes, but we had also missed the subtle and gentle humour of the characterisation, which appeals to us now. We have much enjoyed the stories through this winter, when we have not found anything to appeal to us in the present offerings on TV.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I was a fan of Leo McKern long before he took on the role for which he is probably most famous for: Rumpole of the Bailey. I have been interested in criminology for as long as I can remember, especially the psychology underpinning criminal behaviour. I like solving problems of all kinds and reading crime novels and detective stories satisfies this particular interest. But just why I was drawn to Rumpole of the Bailey is more difficult to answer. It is probably a combination of the excellent story lines provided by John Mortimer and the superb acting of Leo McKern and the other actors in the TV series. Like 'Upstairs, Downstairs' and 'Minder', for example, there is an inherent quality which make these series compulsive viewing time and time again. They never become boring.
Rumpole of the Bailey is a departure from my usual digest of Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Miss Marple, Colombo, Ironside, Monk, etc. My earliest memories of courtroom dramas date back to the high-power, American series, 'Perry Mason', another role made famous by actor Raymond Burr. Rumpole is quite unlike Perry Mason. Rumpole describes himself as a courtroom 'hack' whose primary interest involves accepting and defending apparently hopeless cases. They present a challenge that exercise his knowledge, experience ingenuity and intellect. He also likes the challenge of pitting his wits against establishment figures such as the police and other courtroom advocates with whom he has long been acquainted. He reserves most disdain for the judges who preside over his cases. Rumpole is not ambitious for ambition sake but his wife, 'she who must be obeyed', in continually pushing Rumpole to move on up the legal hierarchy and through his elevation improve her status in society.
Unlike most other TV dramas the viewer is presented with two threads as the story progresses. The first thread is the drama itself in which we both see and hear the events as they occur. The second thread is a kind of 'thought track' which let the viewers know what Horace Rumpole is actually thinking. Often the two threads merge with comedic results when Rumpole voices in public what is really on his mind. These subconscious, torrets-like outbursts are often in the presence of the judge who half hears the remark and asks Rumpole for clarification. Quick-thinking Rumpole usually manages to twist a particularly barbed criticism of his court superior around into either an innocuous comment or a remark that suggests either agreement with or faint praise of the judge. Time after time Rumpole narrowly avoids castigation for his offensive and disrespectful views of authority figures whom he believes obtained their promotion not through their intelligence but through the 'old boy' network. If truth been spoken most lay people would probably share Rumpole's contempt for authority but unlike Rumpole not share those feelings publicly.
Rumpole is that rare mix of serious courtroom drama and comedy which manages to take the edge off what some might consider a boring tale. Anyone who has spent time on jury service will appreciate the dryness and often mind-numbing, sleep-inducing, atmosphere of courtroom litigation and advocacy.
Despite his apparent Britishness, Leo McKern was actually Australian born and the role of Rumpole was specifically written for him by John Mortimer.
I can thoroughly recommend Rumpole of the Bailey, especially now that the entire series an be obtained so cheaply.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2010
This DVD set has given me many hours of entertainment. It shows Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole enacting life as a self described 'Old Bailey Hack'. Each scene shows the causes of various court cases through their life cycle to whatever conclusions they come to. Along the way, life in Barrister's Chambers shows the pompous, self seeking actions and delusions of grandeur of some members of chambers or their wives, that all contribute brilliantly to each plot and side plot and to the overall entertainment value of this DVD set. It also shows Rumpole as a kindly soul and something of a guardian angel to his fellows in chambers in their antics. The acting in each role is of a high order as is Rumpole's home life with "she who must be obeyed", as he takes comfort in his love of wine that he refers to as "Chateau Thames Embankment" or "Chateau Fleet Street".
The only thing that has marred this product is: I thought I'd purchased "new" DVD's not "used" or "manufacturer rejects". A number of them were lightly scratched and one has a bubble in the media, so not all would play completely on my TV's built in DVD player and I had to use an external player to see them all. Nevertheless, the product is good entertainment value with the legal plots being brilliantly thought out as they caricature members of the legal profession in a kindly light, at least that is to those of us not members of the profession so not possessing as they would say, "fine minds".
83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2009
Have long been a fan of Rumpole for the clever and humane scripts and the wonderful central character created by John Mortimer and enacted by Leo McKern. Love also the smaller parts; the character of Claude Erskine Brown in particular is a gem. Generally it's emsemble playing at its best.
Having read all the books as they came out, became re-acquainted with the TV series via the wonders of cable. Would recommend it to anyone who doesn't always want "gritty reality" when it comes to TV drama.
Just one niggle: faithfully bought each of the first four series when came out on DVD and now am stuck: where is series 5? Don't want to buy the box set, since I only need series 5-7. So if you're new to Rumpole, buy the box set.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2009
I know rumpole is not gonna be everyones cup of tea but this is the original and best british legal drama. I have been a fan since it first came on tv in the late seventies.this collection of all seven series and the full length rumpole's return is superbly packaged and great value for money at this price, my only niggle would be that the original pilot play for today episode was not included but that aside, a great purchase
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
When this series was first show, I was either too young to watch it, in the 70's or thought the subject matter too boring in the 1980's and I was out the country in the 1990's. I first saw a full episode of this charming programme on ITV 3 in 2008. The episode was from series 4 and I automatically fell in love with the characters from that episode. When the price of this DVD set came down I bought it and have not regretted the purchase.
I trained to be a Barrister, although I went into teaching EU law at American and Russian Universities. Many of the comical moments are so true to life and it this realism that makes virtually all 7 series so magical.
John Mortimer, who I once met at Foyles Book Shop in London, was a genius. He was an experienced Barrister and used this vast experience to write characters and Court Room cases that are so true to life. Series 1 and 2 are focused on the law and the legal process. Rumpole is portrayed by Leo McKern to be more legalistic and less comical than in series 3 to 7. I personally think series 4 is perfection with absolutely the right balance between comedy and legal drama. The development by Bill Fraser of the "Mad Bull" was genius to Rumpole's anti establishment character.
There are a handful of weak episodes, mainly from series 6 and 7. I suppose after writing so many episodes the ideas began to dry up.
Everyone can learn and enjoy something from Rumpole. It is one of the BEST TV series ever made and at £17 for 7 series of 6 episodes its a bargain. I would also highly recommend any student of the Bar, to watch this series as you can learn so much about how the legal process works.
Brilliant and Highly Recommended.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2010
The set as a whole provides the viewer with many hours of utter joy, best accompanied by a glass of Chateau Fleet Street. Rumpole is a rough-edged character you cannot but sympothize with in spite of his utter neglect of political correctness. It is like meeting a likeable though somewhat eccentric friend again and again. At the same time the episodes take you from the late 1960s / early 1970s right into the 1980s(?), with many of the characters developing over the years. It is slightly bewildering, however, that the last and finishing episode, Rumpole's Return, is in fact an older episode, displaying the flared trousers, hair style, picture quality and "Hilda" of the earlier 1970s. Still, a set of films recommended without reservations!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2011
As an American living with my bi-lingual family overseas, it has always been a challenge to interest my European family in great and important British television series like Rumpole. Although they all speak American English, the British accents and idioms, which I can understand (sometimes only with considerable concentration), are nearly impossible for my family. Thank goodness this boxed set of Rumpole has complete and correct subtitles in English, so my family can read along when the characters accents make comprehension by sound alone mind boggling. I only wish all British film and TV series producers understood the value of subtitles to promote their products worldwide. I replaced my complete US release of the Rumpole stories with this British release just to get a subtitled version. I would do the same for the DVDs of many other British films and series, if I could. One that stands out is the superb series The Irish Resident Magistrate starring Peter Bowles, one of the best and funniest TV series ever produced by the British, still unavailable with subtitles, and containing many hard to comprehend Irish accents. This set of Rumpole of the Bailey is essential for anyone like me who is married to She Who Must Be Obeyed. She can now appreciate all the subtle and pointed humor in the series, including all the wonderful and very appropriate poetry Rumpole constantly spouts!