‘Rumpole of the Bailey’

(Above: Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole. Source: YouTube video)

The classic British courtroom drama, Rumpole of the Bailey, returns today on Acorn TV.

The show stars Leo McKern as baritone barrister Horace Rumpole. He champions underdog cases – often legal aid referrals – at the Old Bailey, the central criminal court for England and Wales.

Screenwriter, author and lawyer John Mortimer created Rumpole, which ran seven non-consecutive seasons on the BBC from 1978 to 1992. The series ran on PBS’ Mystery! series in the US.

The cast includes Peggy Thorpe-Bates, who played Rumpole’s daughter Hilda for the first three seasons and in the two-hour movie, Rumpole’s Return, which aired in 1980. Marion Mathie took over the part for the last three seasons. David Yelland was Rumpole’s son Nicholas for the first two seasons and in Rumpole’s Return.

You catch the first two seasons (13 episodes in all) now. Season three, along with Rumpole’s Return, will drop on April 15. Seasons four and five will bow on April 29. No word on when and if the last two seasons will become available.

According to Acorn TV’s website, the series will be available until June 30.

Acorn TV costs $4.99 monthly or $49.99 for a year, with a seven-day free trial. For more info, visit acorn.tv.

Season one of Rumpole also streams on the PBS Masterpiece service, available as a $5.99 a month add-on to Amazon Prime subscribers.

McKern’s Rumpole made his first appearance in the British anthology drama series, Play for Today (1970 to 1984). Rumpole of the Bailey, aka Rumpole and the Confession of Guilt, aired on the BBC in 1975. It was ostensibly the pilot for the series.

You can watch it here:

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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