[[quoteright:348:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rumpole_19.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:348:Horace Rumpole]]

A ThamesTelevision for Creator/{{ITV}} series, intermittently from 1978 to 1992, following a one-off [[Creator/TheBBC BBC]] drama, focused on the professional and personal life of one Horace Rumpole, barrister at law.

Rumpole's unhealthy personal habits, disdain for societal expectation, and general sharp-tongued iconoclasm earn him few marks among his peers or family. Despite his successes, he is something of an embarrassment to his class-conscious chambers. At home, he has to endure the well-meaning haranguing of his wife, semi-affectionately referred to by Horace as "She Who Must Be Obeyed", a reference to the Creator/HRiderHaggard novel ''Literature/{{She}}''; one of Rumpole's simple vices is a love of English literature. Although ostensibly mysteries in many cases, the cases he undertakes are very unlike the standard Whodunnit, Creator/AgathaChristie murder mystery -- in some cases, Rumpole's task is merely to prove how his client didn't commit the crime (more often assault, fraud or theft than out-and-out murder) rather than ferret out the true culprit (although he frequently does so anyway). And, like the Franchise/SherlockHolmes cycle, sometimes no crime has really been committed at all.

Yet Rumpole is his own man, and holds dearly to those rules he considers inviolate. Despite the detriment to his career, he ''never'' prosecutes. His job is to secure a "not guilty", and this he does with extreme regularity, even if it means antagonizing judges, refusing to make deals, or uncovering more than his client would prefer revealed in court.

The show often strikes a well-balanced, perceptive note between the often ridiculous emphasis to which society demands the ''appearance'' of moral behaviour, and how it differs from the common sense, deeply personal, and more authentic morality represented by Rumpole. His mildly amused contempt for the trappings of "polite society" only serve to highlight his profoundly ethical nature.

The character is loosely based on the actual courtroom career of barrister Sir John Mortimer CBE QC, Rumpole's creator and author, who often took on controversial and "lost hope" causes (such as defending the Music/SexPistols' use of the word "Bollocks" on the cover of their one and only album -- he won by proving the word [[OlderThanTheyThink had been used in common and cherished literature as far back]] as [[Creator/GeoffreyChaucer Chaucer]]).

John Mortimer adapted many of the show's episodes into book form, and after the show was cancelled continued to write and publish new Rumpole stories, which frequently featured plots RippedFromTheHeadlines, or as close to it as you can get for a book. Many Rumpole stories have also been adapted for [[Creator/TheBBC BBC]] {{Radio}}.

Compare and contrast ''Series/GarrowsLaw'', which is much like ''Rumpole'', but [[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: [[Recycled INSPACE in Georgian London ]]
]].

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!!''Rumpole of the Bailey'' contains examples of:

* AccidentalMisnaming: Phyllida (Trant) Erskine-Brown keeps having to correct people who think her name is "Phyllis".
* ADayInTheLimelight: "Hilda's Story," collected in ''Rumpole and the Angel of Death.''
* AgainstMyReligion: Frequently invoked/joked about: whatever religion Rumpole follows, it forbids prosecuting and pleading guilty (unless, of course, he knows for a fact that the client did it ''or'' if the judge is sympathetic and the client won't get jail time).
* AlternateContinuity: The recent BBC Radio 4 plays featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. They feature a much younger Rumpole, but they are all reworked stories from the television series that featured [=Leo McKern=]'s much older Rumpole.
* AlwaysMurder: A rare exception to the rule for mystery stories. Very rarely does someone actually end up dead in Rumpole's cases -- in fact the very first story revolved around a random wounding.
* AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents: In the ''Play for Today'' episode, Rumpole slowly realizes that that's how his son regards them.
* AmoralAttorney: Vanishingly few; most of the lawyers we meet are at worst sanctimonious hypocrites. However, the solicitor Perrivale Blythe in "Rumpole and the Last Resort" fits this rather well; he never pays his bills to barristers -- hoping to wait until the barrister dies and then settle for a small percentage with the grieving widow -- and engages in some other questionable business with his clients besides.
* BatmanGambit:
** Rumpole executes a magnificent one in "Rumpole and the Last Resort." [[spoiler: The gambit was focused on the solicitor Blythe, who at once owed Rumpole nearly £2,500 in fees going back as ten years earlier (at a time when Rumpole was late on his utility bills and overdrawn at his bank) and was a material witness in the fraud case he was defending. Blythe was known to hold out payment to barristers until they died, then wheedle the widow into settling the payment for a small fraction of the original fee. On top of that, Blythe had a tendency to have "just slipped out of the office" every time somebody called the office; he was more or less nowhere to be found. After Rumpole fails to convince Judge Bullingham to grant an adjournment in the fraud case to find Blythe, he decides to [[FakingTheDead fake his own death]]: he collapses in the middle of his application to Bullingham, sends a message to Chambers (supposedly from his wife) informing them that he is dead, and hides in his house for some time (possibly a week or more) until Blythe shows up at the door, offering Mrs. Rumpole the same pittance of a settlement he usually offered. She declines, forces him to sign a check for the exact amount Rumpole was owed, and then lets in PrivateDetective "Fig" Newton, who hands Blythe a subpoena. Finally, when Blythe is forced to take the stand and the fraud case recommences, Bullingham starts something of a eulogy for Rumpole. At this point, Rumpole appears in the courtroom and begins his questioning of a terrified Blythe. In the meantime, Chambers had gotten rather excited by the prospect of the death of Rumpole, with "Soapy Sam" trying to use it as an excuse to take on Guthrie Featherstone's well-connected nephew, and Claude Erskine-Brown hoping to take possession of Rumpole's umbrella stand: all of which Rumpole heard about and used to make a point about his Chambers.]]
** Rumpole executes a few on Ballard, most notably in "Rumpole and the Age of Miracles", where he tricks "Soapy Sam", sitting in judgment in an ecclesiastical court, that the ghost of a saint that supposedly haunts the hotel where they are staying is warning the judge in the case (i.e. Ballard) of a great injustice to come.
** The trick Liz Probert pulls on Claude Erskine-Brown falls under this, as well (see MistakenForGay below).
** Hilda and Liz Probert join forces in the final episode, "Rumpole on Trial," to trick Rumpole out of giving up his career. All it takes is [[spoiler: Hilda detailing all the things they're going to do together now that he's retired.]]
* BoardingSchool: Because Rumpole went to a third-rate public school, he doesn't have an "Old Boy Net" -- which turns out to be why Sam Ballard (who went to Marlborough, as did Featherstone) becomes Head of Chambers instead of Rumpole.
* BritishNewspapers: Make an occasional appearance. Rumpole is partial to ''The Times'', especially its crossword. Hilda prefers the ''Evening Telegraph'' (and its crossword). Papers appear as important points in certain episodes: "Rumpole and the Tap End" features embarrassing reports on a decision of (Mr. Justice) Guthrie Featherstone's in ''The Evening Standard''; "Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation" features Rumpole and Claude Erskine-Brown's dealings with an [[ProductDisplacement obvious replacement]] for ''The Sun'' (complete with PageThreeStunna!) called the ''Beacon''. Specifically, Rumpole has to defend the sleazy editor of ''Beacon'' on a libel charge (it's a "money brief", with an [[UndisclosedFunds unspeakably large]] fee and a £500/day refresher), while Erskine-Brown is caught at a strip club (doing research on his case about a fight at the club some time earlier) by the ''Beacon'' photographers and has to deal with the consequences.
* BrotherhoodOfFunnyHats: In "Rumpole and the Right to Silence", he finds that the city of Gunster is dominated by the Ancient Order of Ostlers (described as "like the Freemasons, only more so"), who have a secret grip and swear by "the Great Blacksmith and Forger of the Universe."
* {{Bulungi}}: Narenga, a Central African Commonwealth Realm with complex and often deadly tribal politics, in "Rumpole and the Golden Thread". One of Rumpole's old pupils, who has become Minister of the Interior, invites Rumpole to defend him in a case of capital murder; the absence of a jury -- an institution abolished by the British during the colonial period -- drives Rumpole mad.
* BusmansHoliday: "Rumpole at Sea".
* ButtMonkey: If somebody is getting the short end of the stick, you can bet good money that it's either Claude Erskine-Brown, Guthrie Featherstone, or Sam Ballard.
* CakeToppers: Claude and Phyllida Erskine-Brown's wedding cake at the end of "Rumpole and the Course of True Love" features the groom in a barrister's gown and clerical bands and the bride in a wedding dress—and both in barristers' wigs.
** And again in "Rumpole and the Quality of Life", where at Sam Ballard's wedding to Marguerite "Matey" Plumstead, Matron of the Old Bailey, the cake is topped with a man in barrister's garb and a woman dressed as an old-fashioned nurse in a blue gown, white apron with red cross, and white hat.
* CantHoldHisLiquor: Samuel "Soapy Sam" Ballard, QC, gets absolutely blotto -- as in fall-on-the-floor, can't-remember-how-many-drinks-he's had, crazy ''drunk'' -- after a mere five small glasses of sherry.
* CantStandThemCantLiveWithoutThem: The ever-antagonistic Rumpoles may not love each other, exactly, but they occasionally show signs of a deep-seated loyalty. Horace learns to dance to make Hilda happy; Hilda fiercely defends Horace in "Rumpole on Trial"; and they prove themselves unbeatable when they join forces in the BatmanGambit discussed above.
* CastingGag: Peter Cellier as Sir Frank Fawcett, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, in "Rumpole and the Official Secret", doubtless referencing his recurring role as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury Sir Frank Gordon in ''Series/YesMinister''.
* CatchPhrase: the "Golden Thread of British justice" and "never plead guilty" as personal mantras.
* CelibateHero: According to the novels, the Rumpoles had sex exactly once, on their honeymoon, which explains how they managed to have a child. Other than that, no, and Horace has only been MistakenForCheating.
* CharacterNameAndTheNounPhrase: Just about every episode title.
* ChekhovsGun:
** A literal one occurs in "Rumpole and the Fascist Beast". The gun is in the titular "fascist beast"'s shed, where he keeps birds, hidden under the bird seed. [[spoiler:He commits suicide after his acquittal leads to the local chapter of the party -- an obvious stand-in for the BNP -- unseating him]].
** Another literal ChekhovsGun appears in ''Rumpole and the Show Folk''; whilst demonstrating with a gun in court, Rumpole notices that the hammer is extremely prone to going off accidentally when cocked, which becomes relevant when the defendant testifies to the gun going off accidentally in self defence. [[spoiler: Subverted when it's [[TheReveal revealed]] the defendant did actually murder the victim in cold blood and was just very good at covering her tracks.]]
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: After actor Richard Murdoch's death in 1990, Uncle Tom vanished without an explanation.
* CloudCuckooLander: Uncle Tom, who hasn't had a brief in anyone's living memory, but still happily potters around Chambers playing golf. His chief role in the show is to go off on long semi-relevant recollections of past events whenever anyone discuses anything near him.
* ColdCash: Or rather, cold silver; "Rumpole and the Blind Tasting" begins with the police going through one of the Timsons' freezers and finding Georgian silver tableware in bags of frozen peas.
* ComicBookTime: Rumpole is somewhere in his mid-sixties when first introduced, and never really gets any older. (See the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumpole_of_the_Bailey#Biographical_information Other Wiki]] for a detailed rundown of the series' flexible chronology.) Strangely, this only applies to Rumpole and his wife. The young female lawyer introduced just passing the bar in the first stories is an experienced judge in late middle age by the end, and many other characters also age, retire, and so forth.
* CommonNonsenseJury: "Rumpole a la Carte." Rumpole all but openly advocates a nullificatory verdict (the prosecution had objectively proved its case by any reasonable standard -- health-code violations at restaurants are strict-liability offenses requiring only a showing that the offending item was present in the restaurant, and nobody doubted that a live mouse had been present on a plate of food at that restaurant). He wins.
* ContinuityNod: Several, especially later in the series. They often occur when a character who was formerly a regular but now isn't (e.g. Guthrie Featherstone or Phyllida Trant) shows up.
* {{Courtroom Antic}}s: And unlike most seen on television, they generally aren't the sort of thing that could get one charged with contempt of court. It helps that Mortimer was a practicing lawyer and so knew just what you could reasonably expect to get away with in a court of law.
* ADayInHerApron: Rumpole faces a more realistic form of this when Hilda takes "industrial action" in "The Summer of Discontent." The house doesn't get enough time to go to pot, but [[LethalChef Rumpole sets fire to his beef]].
* DeadpanSnarker: Rumpole to a tee, in both his life but especially in his style of advocacy.
** Phyllida Erskine-Brown is also very good at this -- possibly a function of having been trained by Rumpole.
** And under Mortimer's pen, everyone gets this. See, for instance, this bit from "Rumpole and Portia":
-->'''Rumpole''': If Uncle Tom goes, I go.
-->'''Ballard'''[[note]]''Ballard''![[/note]]: That would seem to make the departure of Uncle Tom even ''more'' desirable.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: Rumpole's underhand defeat of Phyllida Trant in their first courtroom encounter in ''Rumpole and the Married Lady''. Referred to quite a bit in later episodes.
* DirtyCop: Detective Inspector "Dirty" Dickerson of "Rumpole and the Learned Friends," who runs a sort of [[ShameIfSomethingHappened protection racket]] with the "minor villains" in his area of South London (usually by planting evidence of some crime -- whether or not they committed it -- and then {{blackmail}}ing them with it) and is all too happy to perjure himself.
* DrinkOrder:
** "A glass of the old cooking wine": Pommeroy's Plonk, Pommeroy's Very Ordinary, Chateau Thames Embankment, Chateau Fleet Street, all names for Rumpole's trademark £2-a-bottle claret.
** As for Mrs. Rumpole, she'll have a gin and tonic.
** Henry the clerk is portrayed as ordering a pale, peculiar drink with a lemon slice floating in it at Pommeroy's Wine Bar ("Rumpole and the Last Resort"); it's Dubonnet and lemonade.
** Claude Erskine-Brown fancies himself a wine connoisseur ("Rumpole and the Blind Tasting"). Possibly a case of TheCastShowoff; Julian Curry (who plays Erskine-Brown) is also a noted wine expert.
** "Soapy Sam" CantHoldHisLiquor, and is thus often found drinking sparkling water.
* DrivenToSuicide: One of the characters in "Rumpole and the Official Secret" winds up [[spoiler: throwing himself under a train.]]
* DysfunctionalFamily: the Rumpoles (particularly obvious in the original teleplay, which was darker in tone than the later episodes).
* EekAMouse: In "Rumpole a la Carte". Admittedly, a plate in a three-Michelin-star restaurant is the last place you would expect to find a live mouse, but do you ''really'' have to stand on your chair and shriek?
* EmbarrassingMiddleName: Claude ''Leondard'' Erskine-Brown. Rumpole exhibits unbridled joy reciting it when [[spoiler:he learns it just before his cross-examination of Erskine-Brown in "Rumpole a la Carte"]].
* ExactWords: Phyllida Erskine-Brown to Sam Ballard: "I'm leaving the Bar."
* ExiledToTheCouch:
** Hilda does this to Rumpole when she suspects him of having a fling with the young girlfriend of an elderly artist. Unfairly, of course: he was just at a pub to collect evidence.
** Rumpole exiles himself after a particular disastrous night at the Scales of Justice Ball, where he tells a "blue" story that offends both Hilda and the prudish Welsh judge he was sitting next to. He ends up living in chambers for a while, to Ballard's displeasure, forcing him to move in with the Erskine-Browns. Eventually the Erskine-Browns get fed up with him (and he gets fed up with young Tristan and Isolde Erskine-Brown's incessant complaints about his smoking), and he ends his self-imposed exile... but not before he forces Ballard to spend a night at chambers himself.
** Claude Erskine-Brown eventually is himself forced to live with Rumpole after the "Kitten a-Go-Go" flap ("Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation"); at first Hilda takes great delight in annoying Rumpole with Erskine-Brown's holier-than-thou habits, but she eventually tires of his incessant playing of opera tapes.
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler: See BatmanGambit above]]. And the entire scheme serves as the setup to one TV's greatest OverlyPrepreparedGag moments: [[spoiler: Rumpole, after it's revealed he's alive: "It must have come as a huge relief for those who heard Rumpole had kicked the bucket, to hear he had just turned a little pail."]]
* FawltyTowersPlot: A good number of the B-Plots fall into this category. The one about sexual harassment in "Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle" fits particularly well.
* FemaleMisogynist: During one of his complaints about the various unreasonable judges he has to work with, Rumpole singles out a female judge as a worse male chauvinist than any of the men.
* FeudingFamilies: The Timsons and the Molloys, two families of South London villians who have not been on speaking terms ever since a Molloy betrayed a Timson in the Streatham Co-op Robbery. More than once in the series, the police attempt to use a Molloy as a [[TheStoolPigeon "grass"]] to get the goods on a Timson, rarely with good results.
* FieryRedhead: Phyllida (Trant) Erskine-Brown and the first Liz Probert (played by Samantha Bond).
* {{Flanderization}}:
** At the beginning of the series, Claude Erskine-Brown is a somewhat pompous but nevertheless effective barrister with a thriving civil practice. By the end, he's an incompetent and completely un-self-aware milquetoast. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] when Erskine-Brown complains to Rumpole about how he's been reduced to "scraping the bottom of your [i.e. Rumpole's] barrel." Also, at the beginning of the series, Erskine-Brown is an all-around devotee of classical music in general and opera in particular, whereas at the end he focuses exclusively on Wagner.
** Mr. Justice Oliphant went from mentioning "common sense" and his blunt [[OopNorth Northern]] heritage once or twice a trial to practically every line.
* FlawExploitation: Phyllida Erskine-Brown exploits Sam Ballard's sexual hypocrisy in order to get Claude his promotion to QC.
* FlorenceNightingaleEffect: How Marguerite ("Matey") gets Sam Ballard to marry her.
* ForgingTheWill: One story revolves around a forged will; Rumpole is retained by the true beneficiary to represent her in challenging the false will. (He's initially reluctant to venture into a civil court case, but he can't resist a good forgery.)
* FormerTeenRebel: Sam Ballard. In the later novels and short stories, he and his teenage rock group get back together for jam sessions.
* ForYourOwnGood: In "Rumpole and the Reform of Joby Jonson," Sam Ballard, in an uncharacteristic HurricaneOfPuns, kindly explains to Claude Erskine-Brown that no, he couldn't possibly recommend Claude for promotion to QC. The result is an equally uncharacteristic WhatTheHellHero.
* FrenchCuisineIsHaughty: ''La Maison Jean-Pierre'', run by Jean-Pierre O'Higgins, in "Rumpole a la Carte" is an epitome -- but it's not ''quite'' so stuffy after Rumpole defends him.
* GilliganCut: In "Rumpole at Sea," Hilda wants to take a sea cruise. Rumpole doesn't. He tells her to get one thing clear, that he is ''not'' going on any cruise, no, no, NO... [ship's foghorn blows].
* GoodLawyersGoodClients: Subverted. While it is true that almost all of Rumpole's clients that we see are in fact innocent of the crime they're on trial for, they are very frequently guilty of some other crime. This is particularly true of the Timsons, a clan of South London "[[HarmlessVillain minor villains]]" who make their living off of petty larceny and [[FellOffTheBackOfATruck fencing]], and whose fees seem to pay a fair chunk of Rumpole's own bills. There's also one DownerEnding where Rumpole's client tells him ''after'' he's got her off that she was in fact guilty and thanks to the double jeopardy rule there's nothing he can do about it.
* HangingJudge:
** Mr Justice Roger "the Mad Bull" Bullingham
** "Rumpole and the Sporting Life" features an unusual and literal example in the elderly Mr Justice Twyburne, who once sentenced a man to hang for killing a policeman. [[spoiler: The man was later proven innocent, a fact which has preyed on Twyburne's conscience ever since.]]
* HangoverSensitivity: here's at least one episode of wherein Rumpole, after a night of "carousing" with Henry the clerk, has to come in to court shading his eyes.
* HappyEndingMassage: "Rumpole and the Judge's Elbow". Featherstone, presiding in this case, thinks he went to a parlor where these were provided, although he didn't partake and wasn't even aware of the possibility. HilarityEnsues.
* HarmlessVillain: The Timson clan, very, ''very'' low-level crooks ("minor villains" is what Rumpole likes to call them) whom Rumpole defends on a regular basis (they appear to be his primary source of income, and at one point he refers to himself as being "CT -- Counsel to the Timsons.").
* HenpeckedHusband:
** Rumpole
** Sam Ballard
** Claude Erskine-Brown is in the same boat, but Phyllida tries to be subtler about it.
** And Guthrie Featherstone, whose wife is constantly pushing him to the next-higher position.
*** Oddly enough, Ballard, Erskine-Brown, and Featherstone are all portrayed as actually being rather happy in their marriages. Perhaps a window to Mortimer's own view of the subject?
* HighClassCallGirl: Played with in "Rumpole and the Old Boy Net": Rumpole's clients were a middle-aged couple who ran a brothel for a high-class clientele. None of the actual prostitutes were in any way significant, and they weren't call girls (working as they were at a brothel), but the general idea (of a high-class prostitute) applies.
* TheHumphrey: Rumpole is a heroic variation- he knows and exploits the politics and follies of the legal system, but tries to pursue justice when possible.
* HuntingAccident: "Rumpole and the Sporting Life" revolves around a death that may have been murder or a genuine hunting accident.
* ICouldaBeenAContender: Rumpole is a variation in that his wife is disappointed that he hasn't achieved greater financial and career success, nor become head of chambers like her father was. Rumpole, on the other hand, is perfectly happy where he is, and has no interest in becoming a "Queer Customer" or "Circus Judge."
* InDaClub: Bizarrely and briefly. Phyllida Trant talks Claude Erskine-Brown (then just her boyfriend) into going to a fairly typical disco club after what was for her a thoroughly bored night at the opera, where they find none other than Guthrie Featherstone dancing in a tiger-print shirt with Angela, one of the junior clerks at chambers. Well, it ''was'' [[TheSeventies 1979]].
* IrregularSeries
* JustifiedCriminal: Most pitiably, a music hall singer who murdered her violently abusive husband, only to find herself years later on the same cruise ship with the judge who presided over her trial.
* LargeHam: Rumpole's modus operandi for much of his dealings with other people, and particularly his advocacy. He's called out on it by some theatrical actors in ''Rumpole and the Show Folk''.
* LastNameBasis: Most everybody with respect to everybody else. Vanishingly few people call Rumpole "Horace;" not even Hilda. This is actually accepted practice amongst many members of the Bar, first names generally only being used between barristers who are on a very informal footing. We can see this with Rumpole and George Frobisher, who are (in early seasons) close friends ([[spoiler:They have something of a falling-out after Rumpole's first case before Frobisher as a circuit judge]]) and call each other "Horace" and "George".
* LameRhymeDodge: Rumpole's habit of talking to himself frequently asserts itself at the wrong time, leading to some rapid backtracking.
-->'''Horace Rumpole:''' ''[under his breath]'' She who must be...\\
'''Hilda Rumpole:''' What?\\
'''Horace Rumpole:''' I said "trust me," Hilda. I shall always be a staunch supporter of women's rights.
* LethalChef: Rumpole, as evidenced by the flaming bits of meat in "Rumpole and the Summer of Discontent."
* MaliciousMisnaming: When Rumpole is feeling ill-disposed towards Ballard (which is most of the time), he calls him "Bollard".
* MistakenForCheating:
** Sam Ballard, Guthrie Featherstone, and even Rumpole himself, on separate occasions.
** Subverted with Claude Erskine-Brown, who attempts to cheat and fails miserably.
** And averted once with Featherstone, who actually ''was'' cheating with Angela (the left-wing junior clerk).
* MistakenForGay: One of Liz Probert's boyfriends (Dave Inchcape) makes it into Chambers because Claude Erskine-Brown believes that he's gay.
* MurderIsTheBestSolution: "Rumpole and the Quality of Life."
* MyLocal: Pommeroy's Wine Bar.
* NeverLearnedToRead: One episode has Rumpole proving that a confession was coerced because the defendant can't read or write, and thus couldn't have written it/known what he was signing.
* TheNicknamer: Rumpole himself.
** He calls pretty much everyone "old darling" or "old sweetheart".
** He of course calls Hilda "She Who Must Be Obeyed."
** He gives Phyllida Trant the nickname "Portia" (or more completely, "the Portia of our chambers"), after Portia in ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice''.
** He gives Samuel Ballard the honor of not one but two nicknames: "Soapy Sam" (referring to Samuel Wilberforce, a famous public speaker and defender of Christianity in the late 19th century) and the rather less complimentary "Bollard." In the stories, "the Savanarola of our chambers."
** He calls Liz Probert "Miz Liz". [[StrawFeminist Guess why]].
** He repeatedly calls the young Charles Hearthstoke "Hearthrug." To his face.
*** At one point, in front of Mr Justice Featherstone. Who once (accidentally? Or was it a slip?) follows suit.
** The solicitor Mr Bernard (who usually handles the Timsons' cases, among others) is known to Rumpole as "Bonny Bernard".
** He creates a couple of private nicknames for several of the recurring judges. The notable ones are:
*** Judge Roger "The Mad Bull" Bullingham.
*** Mr. Justice Gerald Graves, called by Rumpole "Mr Injustice Graves," "Mr Justice Gravestone," and at on least one occasion "Mr Injustice Death's Head".
* NippleAndDimed:
** Averted with a vengeance in "Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation," where you can see all of the stripper's... goods (to use the ''Beacon'' reporter's terminology) very clearly, alongside Claude Erskine-Brown's expression of obvious discomfort combined with perverse fascination. Of course, ''Rumpole'' aired after the {{Watershed}}, so it was OK.
** Averted again with "Rumpole and the Quality of Life," which [[HelloBoys opens with a shot of a naked artist's model sitting for a painting]], with breasts in full view. She turned out to be the client.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: The "Ostlers" of the (fictional) town of Gunster in "Rumpole and the Right to Silence" bear a ([[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]]) resemblance to the Freemasons.
* NoodleIncident: Rumpole's greatest professional success, the case of the Penge Bungalow Murders, was a NoodleIncident for almost three decades before recently being told in a novel suprisingly named ''Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders''.
* NoPartyGiven: Averted where applicable.
** The third episode, "Rumpole and the Honourable Member", features an MP clearly identified as Labour accused of rape by his left-wing "Trot" campaign worker.
** Another episode, "Rumpole and the Fascist Beast", subverts this by having Rumpole defending a far-right politician from the "British Patriots," which doesn't exist but is clearly based on the National Front.
** Guthrie Featherstone QC MP is clearly identified as having joined the Social Democratic Party shortly before becoming a judge. When Featherstone is still in practice as a barrister, Rumpole often identifies him as a "Conservative-Labour" politician -- i.e., too indecisive to be possessed of any great political conviction. It's implied that he joined the Social Democrats mainly because it kept him from having to choose a side.
** Charles Hearthstoke self-identifies as a Tory when discussing radical change at chambers with...
** Liz Probert, daughter of "Red Ron" Probert, a left-wing Labour leader of a North London borough council; she takes after her father. As for why Hearthstoke was talking to Probert about change in the chambers, he argued that the fact they were both young would make them both favor modernisation. However, [[AllMenArePerverts it's pretty clear that he just wants to get into her pants]] (or is it her robes when discussing barristers?).
** Phyllida Trant, while chewing out her then-boyfriend Claude Erskine-Brown, mentions his "inexplicable approval of [[MargaretThatcher Mrs Thatcher]]" (or something to that effect) as one thing she's willing to accept, implying that Erskine-Brown is a Tory (of course, who's surprised about that) and that Phyllida isn't.
* NoSenseOfHumor: Sam Ballard and, often, Claude Erskine-Brown. Ballard's humorlessness is usually of the LiteralMinded variety.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Rumpole occasionally uses this when he's trying to get something, especially if he's trying to get it from Hilda.
* OfficeGolf: Uncle Tom's primary occupation, besides making bizarre comments at Chambers meetings and completely misunderstanding anything anyone says within earshot of him.
* OldFashionedCopper: Detective Inspector Brush, depicted most negatively.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: T. C. Rowley, called Uncle Tom by even an ultra-stuffy character like Ballard.
* OopNorth: Mr Justice Oliphant is very proud of being from there, and it drives Rumpole to distraction.
* OpenMouthInsertFoot: Mr Justice Featherstone has this problem; Rumpole even mentions it by name in his worst instance ("Rumpole and the Tap End").
* PleaBargain: Despite his maxim "never plead guilty" he does at times engage in plea-bargaining, particularly when he knows the judge to be sympathetic. He tries at this -- and Phyllida Trant, who was prosecuting, quite agreed -- in "Rumpole and the Course of True Love," but George Frobisher couldn't guarantee that the client wouldn't do prison time. "Rumpole and the Tap End" starts with just one of these, where he got an attempted murder reduced to actual bodily harm before Featherstone, and the client was bound over. That is where the trouble began, however...
* ProperlyParanoid: Hilda in "Rumpole and the Reform of Joby Jonson," as Rumpole concedes at the end.
* RankUp: Phyllida Trant begins the series as a junior barrister and ends it as [[spoiler: a High Court judge]].
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: A number of storylines are a WholePlotReference lifted from the headlines; for instance ''Rumpole and the Children of the Devil'' tackled the spurious accusations of ritual Satanic abuse that created a moral panic.
* RunningGag:
** "Speaking as a man with daughters..."
** Hilda's obsession with her "Daddy", C. H. Wystan.
** Claude Erskine-Brown's obsession with {{Opera}}; ''[[Creator/RichardWagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg]]'' gets mentioned a lot.
* SatchelSwitcheroo: Rumpole accidentally walks off with Uncle Tom's briefcase, discovering the switch only when he opens it. In court. HilarityEnsues.
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Rumpole's attitude towards prosecuting, taking silk, and becoming a judge. He is tempted, every now and then, but he always falls back to his old habits.
** In "Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation," he has taken on a civil libel suit defending the editor of a London tabloid, the highest-paying case of his career, which promises to fund his retirement. Then [[spoiler:he discovers the entire lawsuit is a fraud cooked up between his client and the plaintiff (to extract money from the co-defendant, the corporation that publishes the tabloid; the plaintiff--a writer of sappy romance novels--and Rumpole's client are actually lovers). Rather than continue with the case, he blackmails the client into making sure the case is dropped, and instructs his solicitors to return the client's money]].
* SecondFaceSmoke: Rumpole does this to some of the more priggish characters, especially Ballard.
* SexlessMarriage: The Rumpoles (see CelibateHero above). "Rumpole at Sea" suggests that this may not entirely be Hilda's doing.
* ShoutOutToShakespeare: Several, and hardly surprising given Rumpole's love of English literature.
* SilentSnarker: A lot of Rumpole's snark is actually delivered in voiceovers, audible only to viewers. One of the [[RunningGag running gags]] is the frequent discrepancy between Rumpole's internal snarking and his external restraint.
-->'''Solicitor''': What do you think of the prosecution, Mr. Rumpole?
-->'''Rumpole''' (''voiceover''): I think if it were conducted by a nervous first-year law student with a serious speech impediment they'd ''still'' get a conviction.
-->'''Rumpole''' (''aloud''): Well, we do face certain difficulties. (''Rumpole and the Old, Old Story'')
* SophisticatedAsHell:
-->'''Ballard:''' Look here, Rumpole, I would advise you to take this matter seriously.
-->'''Rumpole:''' And I would advise you, [[MaliciousMisnaming Bollard]], if you can find a taxidermist willing to undertake the work, to get stuffed.
* StraightMan: Just about everybody plays this part for Rumpole.
* StrawFeminist: Liz Probert (mostly in the later novels and short stories).
* TheSummation
* TakingTheHeat: "Rumpole and the Sporting Life"
* ThemeNaming: Claude and Phyllida's children are named [[Creator/RichardWagner Tristan and Isolde]].
* TeacherStudentRomance: In the episode "Rumpole and the Course of True Love", the case Rumpole is defending is a young high school teacher who slept with his student.
* TeethClenchedTeamwork: In the final episode, "Rumpole on Trial," Hilda dragoons Ballard into defending Rumpole after he insults Justice Oliphant. Ballard is horrified and Rumpole initially uncooperative, but Ballard for once manages to be effective: [[spoiler: he convinces Oliphant that it would look better if he accepted an apology from Rumpole.]]
* TokenMinority: Lampshaded and eventually subverted in ''Rumpole and the Fascist Beast''; Rumpole takes on Indian Latif Khan as a pupil, much to the surprise of everyone in chambers and to the disgust of his racist defendant (it's left unclear as to whether Rumpole deliberately took on an Indian to either annoy his client or make his client look better in court). However, it's clear that Khan has been [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections coerced up the ladder by his rich father]] and he's dismissive of Phyllida after she attempts to bond with him over their "oppressed minority" status... [[DoubleStandard because she's a woman]].
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: Pretty much ''every'' episode features an A plot -- the case of the week -- and a B plot revolving around some intrigue in chambers, or some intrigue in Rumpole's household.
* TwistingTheWords: Inversion or Subversion, depending on your perspective: Rumpole often asks witnesses on the stand who heard someone say something or another if they were sure it had the emphasis they recalled.
* UnwittingPawn: Sam Ballard has a habit of falling for the traps Rumpole lays for him.
* VideoInsideFilmOutside: Eventually dropped, in Season 4, when it went all-video.
* WhiteSheep: In "Rumpole and the Barrow Boy", one of the Timsons goes to school, studies, and gets a high-paying finance job in the City... [[spoiler:and is the one set up to be blamed for financial irregularities at his place of employment by his father-in-law-to-be, who is ''not'' happy at finding out about young Timson's family, even though he's never done anything wrong himself]].
* WorthyOpponent: Often stated by Rumpole whenever he's up against a good barrister.
** Judges are not actually barristers' opponents, but there are some judges whom Rumpole cannot stand both personally and professionally (he thinks they're hostile to the defence). Of these, Mr. Justice Graves, though in court he seems entirely to reciprocate Rumpole's attitude, indicates to others outside court that he has a certain respect for his principles and advocacy skills, and acknowledges that life would be duller without him. (On the other hand, Judge Bullingham and Mr. Justice Oliphant seem to detest Rumpole as much as he does them.)
* YourCheatingHeart:
** Featherstone, in "Rumpole and the Case of Identity", with the secretary Angela. Rumpole talks him out of it.
** Phyllida Erskine-Brown in the [[ChristmasEpisode Christmas special]] "Rumpole's Return". She gets disgusted after her paramour, a young radical lawyer, tries to set up Rumpole to lose so he'll get Rumpole's room in chambers. Amusingly, she calls him "a nice bit of crumpet" -- words usually reserved for men speaking of their mistresses.

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