The BEST episodes of Rumpole of the Bailey

Every episode of Rumpole of the Bailey ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Rumpole of the Bailey!

Horace Rumpole (played by the late Leo McKern) is an untidy, ageing London barrister who defends in criminal cases. His clients rarely cut elegant figures. He is fond of red wine, poetry, and fair dealing, and is not looked on as a great success by his wife ('She Who Must Be Obeyed'). Rumpole has had a few triumphs, and the Penge Bungalow murders are often on his mind... Rumpole shares Chambers at Number 3, Equity Court, with a mixed group of barrister colleagues, including Guthrie Featherstone (Peter Bowles) and Phyllida Trant (Patricia Hodge). He also takes pupils - notably Fiona Allways (played by Rosalyn Landor) and Liz Probert. The creator and writer of the series, Sir John Mortimer, received an Edgar Allan Poe Award for crime and mystery for Rumpole.

Last Updated: 11/24/2022Network:ITV1
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Rumpole and the Judge's Elbow
star
8.49
39 votes

#1 - Rumpole and the Judge's Elbow

Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired 2/9/1987

Rumpole defends a man charged with running massage parlours as brothels, and his former colleague in chambers Mr Justice Featherstone finds himself in an embarrassing position. The prospect of appointment as a Judge is dangled in front of Rumpole - and it is suggested that he might wish to handle the defense of his present case with suitable discretion, so to speak... The troublesome Heathstoke is working to move number 3 Equity Court into the twentieth century and tries to oust both Rumpole and Henry, the chambers clerk.

Directors: Donald McWhinnie
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Rumpole and the Last Resort
star
7.92
39 votes

#2 - Rumpole and the Last Resort

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/15/1983

Rumpole turns to his wife, Hilda, for help in getting a slippery solicitor to pay what he owes. Meanwhile, Rumpole is busy defending the owner of a caravan rental agency who is accused of fraud.

Directors: Stuart Burge
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Old Boy Net
star
7.89
37 votes

#3 - Rumpole and the Old Boy Net

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/25/1983

Rumpole welcomes a new pupil, the beautiful Fiona Allways, and together they defend Mr and Mrs Napier-Lee, who are charged with blackmail and with running an immoral house. But the Napier-Lees are slow to defend themselves, anxious not to expose the lies of an old school friend.

Directors: Tony Smith
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Female of the Species
star
7.89
35 votes

#4 - Rumpole and the Female of the Species

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 11/1/1983

Rumpole defends Tony Timson, who is accused of driving the getaway car for a bungled robbery by the Molloy gang - a gang whose relationship with the Timsons is about as warm as that between the Montagues and the Capulets. Meanwhile, Fiona Allways applies to join Rumpole's chambers at number 3, Equity Court, and this meets with opposition from an unexpected quarter - Phyllida.

Directors: Donald McWhinnie
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Alternative Society
star
7.88
42 votes

#5 - Rumpole and the Alternative Society

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 4/10/1978

Rumpole is in the west of England to visit an old friend from his days in the Royal Air Force, Sam ('Three Fingers') Dogherty, and to defend Kathy Trelawney, who is charged with selling cannabis to a police agent provocateur.

Directors: Herbert Wise
Rumpole and the Younger Generation
star
7.87
79 votes

#6 - Rumpole and the Younger Generation

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 4/3/1978

Rumpole defends young Jim Timson, who has been grassed up for robbery with violence by 'Peanuts' Molloy - one of a rival gang of East End villains with whom the Timsons have an ancient feud. Unhappily, Jim's only alibi rests upon a junior member of the Molloy family. Meanwhile, Rumpole is having trouble communicating with his own son, Nick. He is also vexed by the question of who will be the new Head of Chambers at Number 3, Equity Court. Might he dare to dream that it could be him?

Directors: Herbert Wise
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Official Secret
star
7.82
39 votes

#7 - Rumpole and the Official Secret

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired 2/2/1987

Rumpole defends an elderly woman charged under the Official Secrets Act - she is claimed to have have leaked (so to speak) information revealing excessive British government expenditure on tea.

Directors: Rodney Bennet
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole's Last Case
star
7.80
40 votes

#8 - Rumpole's Last Case

Season 4 - Episode 6 - Aired 2/23/1987

The Timsons are in trouble again, and in need of the services of their favourite 'brief'. The old firm is back in business, but as he unravels the mystery of who carried the gun in a bungled robbery Rumpole is unaccountably wearying of it all. After investing with his turf accountant on a valuable four-horse accumulator, Rumpole makes up his mind that it's time to hang up his wig for the last time - but not before telling a few home truths to his old adversary, Mr Justice 'Mad Bull' Bullingham. Meanwhile, the gods have ideas of their own. Hearthstoke is still giving Henry and Dianne a rough time and he even contrives to infuriate Phyllida.

Directors: Rodney Bennet
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Old, Old Story
star
7.76
38 votes

#9 - Rumpole and the Old, Old Story

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/19/1987

Rumpole defends a business man who is accused of trying to murder his partner. After a squabble with 'She Who Must Be Obeyed', Rumpole finally leaves home - but Hilda doesn't seem to miss him very much...

Directors: Roger Bamford
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole on Trial
star
7.76
37 votes

#10 - Rumpole on Trial

Season 7 - Episode 6 - Aired 12/3/1992

Hilda persuades Ballard to defend Rumpole when he faces a disciplinary hearing. Rumpole seems to have gone a good deal too far in what he said in Mr Justice Oliphant's court - or did he?

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Rumpole and the Genuine Article
star
7.69
39 votes

#11 - Rumpole and the Genuine Article

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 10/11/1983

Rumpole defends Harold Brittling, an unsuccessful artist who has been charged with faking a major painting by the late Septimus Craig. But Brittling is remarkably relaxed about the case and seems to have an agenda of his own.

Directors: Robert Knights
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Rumpole for the Prosecution
star
7.57
7 votes

#12 - Rumpole for the Prosecution

Season 6 - Episode 6 - Aired 12/2/1991

Rumpole agrees to act for the family of a dead girl who are bringing a private prosecution for murder against a policeman. Did a killer receive preferential treatment from his colleagues on the Force, who knew he was guilty but decided not to charge him? Ballard asks Rumpole to prosecute Erskine-Brown, who is accused of stealing work from a colleague in chambers by changing the names on a brief. Mysteriously, Ballard spends a lot of time at a party hiding a bandaged fingertip...

Directors: Robert Tronson
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Right to Silence
star
7.50
6 votes

#13 - Rumpole and the Right to Silence

Season 6 - Episode 3 - Aired 11/11/1991

Rumpole defends a radical lecturer accused of murdering an unpopular university official - but his client refuses to give critical information in his own defence. Hilda takes offense, after Rumpole gives Ballard and Erskine-Brown advice on the keeping of secrets from their lady wives.

Directors: Julian Amyes
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and Portia
star
7.44
9 votes

#14 - Rumpole and Portia

Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired 12/21/1988

Rumpole defends Stanley Culp, a scrap dealer, on charges of selling arms to terrorists. The case comes before a newly appointed Recorder - Phyllida Erskine-Brown.

Directors: Roger Bamson
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Quality of Life
star
7.38
8 votes

#15 - Rumpole and the Quality of Life

Season 5 - Episode 6 - Aired 12/28/1988

Rumpole defends Lady Perdita Derwent, charged with the murder of her elderly husband. Meanwhile, Ms Liz Probert complains of anti-gay discrimination at number 3, Equity Court, and the portly Rumpole suffers from a strict diet imposed by She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole a la Carte
star
7.38
8 votes

#16 - Rumpole a la Carte

Season 6 - Episode 1 - Aired 10/28/1991

A live mouse is served to Erskine-Brown in a London restaurant, and Rumpole finds himself defending the self-important chef-restaurateur on the environmental health charges which follow. At home, Hilda takes up with her Canadian cousin, Jean-Pierre O'Higgins, and loses all interest in Rumpole.

Directors: Jim Goddard
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Quacks
star
7.38
8 votes

#17 - Rumpole and the Quacks

Season 6 - Episode 5 - Aired 11/25/1991

Rumpole defends his own doctor, charged with sexually molesting a woman patient - and Rumpole's friend Phyllida is counsel for the prosecution. Claude Erskine-Brown is in hot water when Phyllida comes to believe he is advertising for women friends in an under-the-counter magazine.

Directors: Robert Tronson
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Man of God
star
7.34
44 votes

#18 - Rumpole and the Man of God

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired 5/29/1979

Rumpole defends a vicar who is charged with stealing three shirts from a department store, but the troubled clergyman refuses to take the stand in his own defense. George Frobisher, who is in line to be appointed as a Circuit Judge, comes to dinner with the Rumpoles and introduces his new girlfriend. Rumpole remembers seeing her in court and advises his friend to think again.

Directors: Brian Farnham
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation
star
7.33
9 votes

#19 - Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation

Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired 11/23/1988

Rumpole fights a claim for libel filed by a woman writer against a low newspaper. Claude Erskine-Brown moves in with Rumpole after being photographed at a night-club of ill repute, to the fury of Phyllida.

Directors: Mike Vardey
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Summer of Discontent
star
7.25
8 votes

#20 - Rumpole and the Summer of Discontent

Season 6 - Episode 2 - Aired 11/4/1991

Before Mr Justice Guthrie Featherstone, Rumpole defends a trade unionist on charges of recklessly causing the death of a truck-driver who was crossing a union picket-line. Guthrie is thinking about a strike of his own, to hit back at new rights of audience for mere solicitors in court. Meanwhile, chez Rumpole, Hilda declares she is going on strike herself.

Directors: Julian Amyes
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Children of the Devil
star
7.17
6 votes

#21 - Rumpole and the Children of the Devil

Season 7 - Episode 1 - Aired 10/29/1992

Rumpole again defends the Timsons, when they are accused of Satanism and their daughter Tracy has been put into local authority care. Hilda is angling for Rumpole to take her to this year's Scales of Justice Ball.

Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Sporting Life
star
7.13
40 votes

#22 - Rumpole and the Sporting Life

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired 11/8/1983

Rumpole gets out into rural England when Fiona Allways persuades him to defend her sister Jennifer, charged with murdering her skirt-chasing husband.

Directors: Bill Hays
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Age of Miracles
star
7.13
8 votes

#23 - Rumpole and the Age of Miracles

Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired 12/7/1988

Rumpole defends his clergyman nephew in an ecclesiastical court, against charges of adultery - of which the bishop takes a dim view. Rumpole's colleagues Ballard and Erskine-Brown appear for the prosecution.

Directors: Mike Vardey
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Tap End
star
7.11
9 votes

#24 - Rumpole and the Tap End

Season 5 - Episode 4 - Aired 12/14/1988

Rumpole defends Tony Timson on charges of attempted murder - with Tony's wife, April, claiming he tried to drown her - while sexist remarks by Mr Justice Guthrie Featherstone give the press a field day and, more importantly, upset the Lord Chancellor. 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' decides it's time for her to begin her own career in the legal profession.

Directors: Julian Amyes
Watch Now:Amazon
Rumpole and the Golden Thread
star
7.00
35 votes

#25 - Rumpole and the Golden Thread

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/18/1983

Rumpole flies to Neranga, in Africa, to defend David Mazenze (his former law pupil) on a charge of murder. Rumpole meets with politcs, tribal hatred, and confusion - and his client seems to have no credible alibi to offer for the time of the murder.

Directors: Donald McWhinnie
Watch Now:Amazon

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