BizStore » VHS » Rumpole of the Bailey, Vol. 20 - The Eternal Triangle/Reform of Joby Johnson [VHS]
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Binding: VHS Tape
Label: Warner Home Video
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Number Of Discs: 1
Number Of Items: 1
Publisher: Warner Home Video
Release Date: 2000-07-18
Running Time: 104
Studio: Warner Home Video
Before there was Quincy and The Practice, there was Rumpole. Rumpole of the Bailey is, quite simply, one of the best television series ever and 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 at the Old Bailey, or criminal court (whose clients have included three generations of the Timson family, among others), the antihero Rumpole is portrayed by esteemed actor Leo McKern. As champion of the downtrodden, the self-righteous Rumpole finds himself again and again in trouble variously 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 (1933), and Justice Sir Guthrie Fetherston is played by Peter Bowles, known for his Richard DeVere in TV's To the Manor Born.
Volume 20 features two episodes. First, in "Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle," Rumpole flirts with a beautiful violinist but is caught off guard when she asks him to defend her jealous husband, charged with murdering her accompanist. Meanwhile, Claude raises concerns that Henry has sexually harassed their secretary. Next, in "Rumpole and the Reform of Joby Johnson," the barrister must defend a teenager charged with theft even after an important brief is burgled from Rumpole's house.
Typical of British drama, production values are low while the caliber of script-writing and acting is unsurpassed. A rare example of a television serial that is as appealing and engaging after watching it 10 times as it was the first. --Erik Macki