Benedict Cumberbatch has played Young Rumpole (with Timothy West as the older Rumpole) in a series of radio plays for BBC Radio 4.
The plays are based on the Rumpole of the Bailey books written by John Mortimer.
The plays in which Benedict has appeared so far are:
Rumpole and the Portia of our Chambers (Young Rumpole)
Rumpole comes close to giving up the law when forced to consider the path his life has taken by a combination of his attraction to his pupil Phyllida, an unsettling case involving an Irish terrorist and a devoted father and son – as well as a visit from an old flame of Hilda’s. But the love shown by a client’s son for his father convinces Rumpole that he can’t simply quit as husband, parent or Old Bailey hack. The question of what makes a good parent runs through the episode, with Rumpole asking himself if he is turning into a bad father, especially in comparison to his client.
Rumpole and the Sleeping Partners (Young Rumpole)
Rumpole temporarily leaves his wife Hilda after a row and discovers Phillida appearing to get close to his rival Claude Erskine-Brown (Nigel Anthony) before she falls for Rumpole himself. In addition, our hero examines the case of Hugo Lutterworth, who’s accused of trying to kill the husband of his lover.
Rumpole and the Old Boy Net (Young Rumpole)
New pupil Phillida assists Rumpole in the defence of Mr Napier Lee, who’s charged with running a disorderly house near Victoria Station, and with the more serious accusation of blackmail.
It’s 1964. Rumpole is asked to defend a GP, Dr Ned Dacre, who is accused of murdering his wife, Sally. Dr Ned Dacre’s father is also a GP, Dr Henry Dacre, and it is he who asks Rumpole to take on the case.
In 1964, Rumpole returns to Oxford, where he studied law, to defend a young gardener, Peter Vernon, accused of blackmailing the Master of St Joseph’s College, Sir Michael Tuffnell.
Rumpole and the Explosive Evidence (Young Rumpole)
It’s 1960. Hilda’s had a baby son,Nicholas. Rumpole, awash with flu, defends a safe-blower, and exposes the dubious dealings of a senior police officer (features Adrian Scarborough, Timothy West and Geoffrey Whitehead)
Rumpole and the Man of God (Young Rumpole)
It’s 1959, and Rumpole is faced with defending a clergyman accused of shoplifting who although he clearly did not commit the crime, is curiously reluctant to be cross examined under oath, where he would have to tell the truth, but save himself from being defrocked (features Adrian Scarborough and Timothy West)
Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle (Young Rumpole)
When Rumpole and Hilda attend a concert performed by The Casterini Trio, Rumpole is surprised to be approached by Elizabeth Casterini – the trio’s beautiful violinist. Rumpole falls for her charms. But then, the Trio’s cellist, Tom Randall is murdered (features Timothy West, Adrian Scarborough and Faye Castelow)
Rumpole and the Family Pride (Young Rumpole)
Rumpole mingles with a branch of Yorkshire aristocracy remotely connected to Hilda’s family when he represents a Lord in the Coroner’s Court. (features Timothy West, Adrian Scarborough and Sophie Thompson)
Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders (Young Rumpole)
Young Horace Rumpole defends a young man, accused of murder, maintaining that he is innocent until proved guilty. He faces opposition from the establishment and support from unexpected quarters (features Timothy West and Karl Johnson)