The British dramatist Sir John Mortimer has died at age 85 after a long illness. Mortimer is best known for his Rumpole of Bailey series of books, plays, and TV episodes.
Horace Rumpole's speciality is defending those accused of crime in London's Old Bailey. Mortimer created Rumpole for Rumpole of the Bailey, a 1975 contribution to the BBCs Play For Today anthology series. Played with gusto by Leo McKern, the character proved popular, and was developed into a Rumpole of the Bailey television series for Thames Television and a series of books (all written by Mortimer). In September/October 2003, BBC Radio 4 broadcast four new 45-minute Rumpole dramatizations by Mortimer starring Timothy West in the title role. He also dramatised many of the real-life cases of the barrister Edward Marshall-Hall in a radio series starring ex-Doctor Who star Tom Baker.
In 1986, his description of what he saw as Britain's descent into the viciousness of Thatcherism - Paradise Postponed - was televised. (more...)