Sir John Mortimer dies aged 85

Very sad to hear of the death of Sir John Mortimer, the creator of Rumpole of the Bailey. Along with numerous lawyers around the world, I shall visit my very own Pommeroy’s Wine Bar this evening and raise a glass of the very best Chateau Fleet Street and toast not only a great man but also the passing of an era. But to avoid any mawkish blubberings of which Rumpole would undoubtedly disapprove, I have put a few choice quotes below.

Horace Rumpole: An Englishman’s gin bottle is his castle!

Horace Rumpole: There’s no pleasure on earth that’s worth sacrificing for the sake of an extra five years in the geriatric ward of the Sunset Old People’s Home, Weston-Super-Mare.

Horace Rumpole: [groaning to himself] Ohhh! His honor Judge Gerald Graves! Never a friend to Rumpole. He’s looking at me now as though I was a porridge saucepan that hasn’t washed up properly. No doubt he lives on a diet of organic bran, iced water, and colonic irrigation.

Hilda Rumpole: So, you think that men and women are entirely equal?
Horace Rumpole: Everyone is equal in the dock, Hilda.
Hilda Rumpole: And in the home?
Horace Rumpole: Oh, well, naturally, yes, of course, yes, naturally, although, I suppose, some are born to command.
Horace Rumpole: [to himself, whispering] 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.

Samuel ‘Soapy Sam’ Ballard Q.C.: I told him Guthrie was a perfectly charming chap, of course.
Claude Erskine-Brown: Oh, perfectly charming, no doubt about that!
Samuel ‘Soapy Sam’ Ballard Q.C.: But as a judge, perhaps he lacks judgement.
Claude Erskine-Brown: Yes, which is a pretty important quality in a judge.

January 16, 2009 · Tim Kevan · 3 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

3 Responses

  1. Matthew - January 16, 2009

    God rest his soul. I always wished I could have met him – his Rumpole series inspired me to work towards the Bar.

  2. CharonQC - January 16, 2009

    Good post… just the right touch.
    He visited BPP when I was CEO four times and always gave excellent talks. All he asked for was a bottle of champagne to drink while he gave his talk. He had a lot of time for students – and for a lot of other people as well.
    He took his own advice.
    I shall raise a glass of Rioja tonight.

  3. Russell - January 31, 2009

    A witness to a largely vanished era has certainly vanished with his passing.
    Favourite Rumpole quote:
    Rumpole is smoking his cheroot as he sits down to his client in the interview cell. The officer is about to leave them to it and Rumpole says: “Leave the door open, there’s a good chap …”