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Rumpole of the Bailey: The Complete Series Megaset

256 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An immensely popular series broadcast on PBS from 1978 to 1992, RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY set a new bar for all courtroom dramas to come. Balancing suspense and satire as deftly as the scale of justice, Horace Rumpole tirelessly defends the downtrodden while undressing the upper classes. A timeless mixture of comedy and drama, RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY was one of television's most celebrated courtroom dramas. Flawlessly adapted by John Mortimer from his best-selling Edgar Award-winning novels, and starring the esteemed Leo McKern (A Man for All Seasons), this 14-disc DVD Megaset™ includes all 42 episodes from the seven seasons of RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY. DVD Features: Feature-Length Bonus Movie Rumpole's Return; Mortimer's Musings--An Interview with John Mortimer; McKern's Memories with Actress Abigail McKern (Daughter of Leo McKern); Episode Introductions with John Mortimer; Spot the Barrister-Highlighting John Mortimer's Impromptu Appearances; Newspaper Evidence; John Mortimer Biography; John Mortimer Bibliography and Selected Credits; About the Old Bailey; Official Executioners of Newgate Prison; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

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

Special Features

  • Feature length bonus movie Rumpole's Return
  • Mortimer's Musing - An interview with John Mortimer
  • McKeon's Memories with actress Abigail McKern (daughter of Leo McKern)
  • Episode introductions with John Mortimer
  • Spot on the Barrister highlighting John Mortimer's impromptu appearances
  • Newspaper evidence
  • John Mortimer biography
  • John Mortimer bibliography and selected credits
  • About the Old Bailey
  • Official executioners of Newgate Prison

Product Details

  • Actors: Leo McKern, Jonathan Coy, Julian Curry, Marion Mathie, Richard Murdoch
  • Directors: John Glenister
  • Writers: John Mortimer
  • Producers: Jacqueline Davis, John Frankau
  • Format: Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 14
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 2100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CRR360
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,560 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rumpole of the Bailey: The Complete Series Megaset" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

227 of 230 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 20, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
'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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102 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Eli Cash on March 24, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Picture quality is good. Menu is fine and episodes seem to be organized in chronological order. Nothing about this collection surprised or disappointed me.

I don't know why Amazon doesn't list Leo Mckern as the principle actor - don't worry, this is the version you think it is.

Each episode is introduced by the author of the books, John Mortimer.

With all 42 episodes at about 50 min each, I think it is a pretty good value.
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102 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Steven M. Wolf on November 12, 2010
Format: DVD
You should not be fooled into thinking that Rumpole of the Bailey is some stick-in-the-mud, nose-in-the-air stodgy British import that winds up to be a crashing bore. It is, quite simply, one of the most engaging, funny, and (hold your nose, now) educational series ever seen on television. First, there is Leo McKern, one of the few personalities that I desperately wish I could have met before he died. (The two others I can think of right off are Burt Lancaster and Lord Kenneth Clark.) He has breathed life into John Mortimer's Rumpole such that, when you watch any of these extraordinarily crafted episodes, disbelief is totally suspended. Furthermore, the supporting cast (changed slightly over the run of the series) is as right as rain. Characters are finely drawn and totally human. Even if they are occasionally over the top, there is never any harm done, and, if anything, you take them in all the more. This series is not merely a frolic or an escape--it is your companion. To pass up acquiring this set is as if you are turning down a license to steal. John Mortimer's Rumpole is so fully dimensional that, if even his roughest edges annoy you, the fault is yours, not his. And at this price, a second complete set is in my near future.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Reader/Viewer from Northern California on June 11, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I hadn't seen this excellant series since it was first shown on public television years ago. I was much younger then, and even though I quite enjoyed it, I don't think I appreciated just how good it was and still is. When I saw that I could purchase the entire series for some 40% off, I couldn't pass it up and I'm very glad I didn't. If you are an anglophile, or even not an anglophile, but are tired of the barrage of mindless mediocrity in entertainment that surrounds us, then treat yourself to hours of truly intelligent, wry, witty and sometimes poignant entertainment. I think you have to be over 40 to fully appreciate Rumpole. Also, I was quite satisfied with the remastering.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By MarxBrother3 on January 6, 2011
Format: DVD
Contrary to what others have written about this set; it is high quality considering that this series aired between 1978 and 1992. True, there are no subtitles; but the dialogue and sound is of much better quality than suggested by the few people who complained about sound on this set. Yes, the characters are very British and there are British accents; what do you expect from a British TV show? Rumpole is a fine a series and a lot of fun to watch. We turn up the volume on our TV just slightly higher than normal, and everything is fine. The plots are easy to follow...IF you pay attention; and if you desire to leave behind the nonsense reality shows endlessly plastered all over TV; and truly desire to enjoy some storytelling. There are some great actors on this series, Leo McKern as Rumpole; David Yelland (Poirot's butler George); Marion Mathie (as "she who must be obeyed"); and many other fine actors. There are any number of TV shows and box sets you could waste money on buying; but this series is a treasure...and people who have visited England prior to 2000 will be happy to revisit old England again.
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Difference between Megaset and season sets
From what I have seen, these are slim cases of the discs that were in the season sets. Nothing added or deleted from the discs as originally released.
Feb 17, 2008 by Eric Pregosin |  See all 2 posts
Sadly, no subbies and no closed captions for the hearing impaired.
Feb 17, 2008 by Eric Pregosin |  See all 39 posts
CC thru tv ?
It looks like you posted this quite a while ago and never received any input. I don't know whether or not you've figure it out since then but thought I'd let you know what I've discovered.
Basically, with the new DVD players and the new flat screen TVs CC is impossible. CC only worked using the... Read More
Oct 13, 2010 by Amazon Customer |  See all 4 posts
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