[DVD Review] Rumpole of the Bailey

After a decade of reissues, rereleases, and just plain hernia-inducing box collections, the phrase ‘DVD megaset’ shouldn’t really mean a lot, but it is an apt summarization of this complete set of Rumpole of the Bailey, the courtroom drama that broadcast intermittently on PBS between 1978 and 1991. Spread out across 14 discs, this set collects all seven seasons of the show, as well as a good deal of bonus features (each episode features an introduction with series creator John Mortimer), but this is, in all likelihood, a set that was meant to rally old fans rather than attract new ones. Even within the time-frame of the series, Rumpole shows its considerable age, with its commitment to showing social ills only accentuating how stubbornly quaint the show really is.

Horace Rumpole (Leo McKern) is a barrister at the Old Bailey, the central criminal court of London. A lover of the courtroom (as
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