Books

Rumpole: The Sleeping Partners & other stories

John Mortimer (and others)

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young, devastatingly acute Horace Rumpole in this third thrilling collection of court cases

Rumpole and the Old Boy Net: With the help of his new pupil, Miss Phillida Trant, Rumpole must defend Mr Napier Lee, who is charged with blackmail. But the alleged victim of the blackmail went to public school with the defendant, and Mr Lee won't sneak on his old school chum...

Rumpole and the Sleeping Partners: After a legal ball in the Savoy Hotel, Rumpole and Hilda argue about Rumpole's drunken behaviour and Rumpole decides to sleep the night on his sofa in chambers - strictly against the rules. But there he finds his colleague Erskine-Brown with Phillida Trant, 'working late'...

Rumpole and the Portia of our Chambers: Rumpole comes close to giving up the law when forced to consider the path his life has taken by a combination of his attraction to his pupil Phillida, an unsettling case involving an Irish terrorist, and a visit from an old flame of Hilda's.

Rumpole: The Gentle Art of Blackmail & other stories

John Mortimer (and others)

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young Horace Rumpole in this second stellar collection of court cases, also starring Timothy West as the older Rumpole

Rumpole and the Man of God
It is 1959, and Rumpole must defend a clergyman accused of shoplifting who, although he clearly did not commit the crime, is curiously reluctant to be cross-examined under oath. Meanwhile, Hilda (she who must be obeyed) has big news…

Rumpole and the Explosive Evidence
Rumpole defends a well-known safe blower and exposes the underhand behaviour of one Dirty Dickerson, a senior police officer who is quite prepared to tamper with evidence.

Rumpole and the Gentle Art of Blackmail
In 1964 Rumpole returns to Oxford, where he studied law, to defend a young gardener who is accused of blackmailing the Master of St Joseph’s College. Their friendship had provoked rumours of homosexuality – still illegal in those days – and the Master says he has been threatened with a public accusation.

Rumpole and the Expert Witness
Rumpole is asked to defend a GP, Dr Ned Dacre, who is accused of murdering his wife, Sally. The plot thickens when the local pathologist turns out to have history with Dr Ned…

Durations: 3 hours approx.

Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders & other stories

John Mortimer (and others)

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young, feisty, devastatingly acute Horace Rumpole in this collection of cracking cases, also starring Timothy West as the older Rumpole.

Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders:
It is the fifties, and two war heroes have been shot dead. Defending the suspect is deemed hopeless, so the case is handed to a novice. But the novice's superiors didn't count on the tenacity and wit of the young and hungry Horace Rumpole, as he defends the accused alone and without a leader for the very first time. This two-part adaptation of the novel by John Mortimer also marks the beginning of Rumpole's life-long liason with Hilda ("She Who Must Be Obeyed").

Rumpole and the Family Pride:
We rejoin Rumpole and Hilda in the late 1950s, when they have been married for a year or two. Hilda's cousin lives with her husband, the 17th Baron Sackbut, in Sackbut Castle on the Yorkshire Moors. Hilda and Rumpole are invited to the castle when a body is found in the grounds. Meanwhile, in London, Rumpole defends a tramp who has confessed to a triple-murder.

Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle:
When Rumpole and Hilda attend a concert performed by The Casterini Trio, Rumpole is surprised to be approached by Elizabeth Casterini - the trio's beautiful violinist. But then the Trio's cellist, Tom Randall, is murdered. Elizabeth's husband is arrested, and Rumpole agrees to defend him at the Old Bailey.

'a deliciously fun listen' - AudioFile Magazine

Duration: 3 hrs approx.

Rumpole

John Mortimer (and others)

Maurice Denham stars as John Mortimer's famous comic creation Rumpole of the Bailey.

Defender of the underdog, friend of South London villains and scourge of QCs, much-loved barrister Horace Rumpole was first brought to life on television, and in 1980 BBC Radio 4 introduced him to the airwaves for a 13-episode series.

In these delightful full-cast courtroom dramas, the claret-drinking, poetry-quoting lawyer recalls his colourful career at the Old Bailey, while being supported at home by the redoubtable Hilda ('She Who Must Be Obeyed'). From a disputed will case to a GP accused of murder, Rumpole must exercise all his talents as an advocate to fight for justice...

Includes Rumpole and the Confession of Guilt, Rumpole and the Dear Departed, Rumpole and the Gentle Art of Blackmail, Rumpole and the Rotten Apple, Rumpole and the Man of God, Rumpole and the Defence of Guthrie Featherstone, Rumpole and the Show Folk, Rumpole and the Fascist Beast, Rumpole and the Case of Identity, Rumpole and the Expert Witness, Rumpole and the Course of True Love, Rumpole and the Perils of the Sea and Rumpole and the Age for Retirement.

Among the supporting cast are Margot Boyd, Michael Maloney, Michael Elphick, Angela Thorne, Geoffrey Bayldon and Saeed Jaffrey. Duration: 6 hours 30 mins.

Biography

John Mortimer was born on 21 April 1923. His father was a successful divorce lawyer, and was to be a considerable influence on his son's life. Schooled at Harrow, Mortimer went on to study law at Brasenose College, Oxford. On finishing his degree, he was called to the Bar in 1948 and entered his father's chambers. At first he followed his father and specialised in divorce cases, but he soon switched to criminal law, as he maintained that murderers and the like were nicer to work with than divorcing spouses. In 1966 he became a Queen's Counsel, and he continued to work as a barrister until 1979. A lifelong champion of free speech, he has argued for the defence in some of the most famous obscenity trials in Britain, including the one brought against the underground magazine Oz for its notorious 'School Kids' issue. John Mortimer started writing before he became a barrister. His legal career inspired his fiction, however, with his first radio play, The Dock Brief (1957) dealing with the subject of an ageing barrister who is asked to defend a man accused of murdering his wife. It won the Italia Prize and was adapted for the stage, television and a film starring Peter Sellers and Richard Attenborough. He also had great success with his autobiographical play A Voyage Round My Father, which ran in the West End starring Jeremy Brett and Alec Guinness. It was subsequently adapted for TV starring Sir Laurence Olivier and Alan Bates. He first wrote about Rumpole in a BBC TV Play for Today called Rumpole of the Bailey. Centring on a lovable Old Bailey hack with a penchant for cigars and claret and a domineering wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, the play was an instant hit, and in 1978 the first Thames Television series was aired under the same name, starring Leo McKern as Rumpole. It became hugely popular, and five more series followed. The first collection of Rumpole stories was published in 1978, and was followed by a further twelve volumes. His other novels include the trilogy of Titmuss novels, Paradise Postponed, Titmuss Regained and The Sound of Trumpets, and he has also written three volumes of autobiography (Clinging to the Wreckage, Murderers and Other Friends and Summer of a Dormouse) and numerous TV and film adaptations, including Brideshead Revisited, Cider with Rosie and Tea with Mussolini. John Mortimer received a knighthood for his services to the arts in 1998 in the Queen's birthday honours list. He died in 2009.