John Mortimer

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Biography of Mortimer published in 2005
Sir John Clifford Mortimer CBE QC (born 21 April 1923) is an English barrister turned prolific writer and dramatist.

Educated at Harrow School and Brasenose College, Oxford, his oeuvre includes over fifty books, plays, and scripts. The play, A Voyage Round My Father (1971) is autobiographical, recounting his experiences as a young barrister and his relationship with his blind father. He developed his career as a playwright by rising early to write before attending court.

He was defence counsel at the infamous Oz "conspiracy" trial in 1971. He is also famous for defending the Sex Pistols and Virgin Records in the 1977 obscenity trial over the use of the word bollocks in the title of the punk band's landmark album Never Mind The Bollocks.

Mortimer's most famous creation is a barrister named Horace Rumpole, whose speciality is defending those accused of crime in London's redoubtable hall of justice, the 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.

Mortimer was credited with the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited for Granada Television in 1981. However it emerged in The Devil's Advocate, a 2005 biography of Mortimer, that none of Mortimer's submitted scripts had in fact been used and that the screenplay was actually written by the series producer and director. Mortimer adapted John Fowles' The Ebony Tower for Granada in 1984. He also wrote the script, based on the autobiography of Franco Zeffirelli, for the 1999 film Tea with Mussolini, directed by Zeffirelli and starring Joan Plowright, Cher, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Lily Tomlin.

John Mortimer was married to Penelope Fletcher, later better known as Penelope Mortimer, in 1949 and had a son and a daughter by her. They divorced in 1971 and he married Penelope Gollop in 1972. They have two daughters. He has five children altogether, Sally Silverman, Jeremy Mortimer, Ross Bentley, Emily Mortimer and Rosie Mortimer and lives with his second wife in the village of Turville Heath north of Henley-on-Thames Oxfordshire.

In August 2004, he learned that he had an additional child he had not known about when he met his son Ross Bentley, more than 40 years after a formerly secret affair with Wendy Craig. The son had been brought up by Craig and her husband, Jack Bentley, the show business writer and musician. In Mortimer's memoirs, Clinging to the Wreckage, he wrote of "enjoying my mid-thirties and all the pleasures which come to a young writer."

Bibliography

  • Charade (1947)
  • Like Men Betrayed (1953)
  • The Narrowing Stream (1954)
  • Heaven and Hell (including The Fear of Heaven and The Prince of Darkness) (1976)
  • Rumpole of the Bailey (1978) ISBN 0-14-004670-4
  • The Trials of Rumpole (1979)
  • Rumpole (1980)
  • Regina v Rumpole (1981)
  • Rumpole for the Defence (1982)
  • Rumpole's Return (1982)
  • Clinging to the Wreckage (1982) ISBN 0-14-006860-0
  • The First Rumpole Omnibus (omnibus) (1983)
  • Rumpole And the Golden Thread (1983)
  • Edwin and Other Plays (1984)
  • In Character (1984) ISBN 0-14-006389-7
  • Paradise Postponed (1985) ISBN 0-67-080094-5
  • Rumpole for the Prosecution (1986)
  • Rumpole's Last Case (1987)
  • The Second Rumpole Omnibus (omnibus) (1987)
  • Rumpole And the Age of Miracles (1988)
  • Summer's Lease (1988) ISBN 0-14-010573-5
  • Rumpole And the Age for Retirement (1989)
  • Rumpole a La Carte (1990)
  • Titmuss Regained (1990)
  • Great Law And Order Stories (1990)
  • The Rapstone Chronicles (omnibus) (1991)
  • Rumpole On Trial (1992)
  • Dunster (1992) ISBN 0-670-84060-2
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Father Brown, Father Dowling And Other Ecclesiastical Sleuths (1992) (with G K Chesterton, Ralph McInerny)
  • The Oxford Book of Villains (1992)
  • (1993)
  • Under the Hammer (1994)
  • Murderers And Other Friends: Another Part of Life (1994)
  • Rumpole And the Angel of Death (1995)
  • Rumpole And the Younger Generation (1995)
  • Felix in the Underworld (1996)
  • The Third Rumpole Omnibus (omnibus) (1997)
  • The Sound of Trumpets (1998)
  • The Mammoth Book of Twentieth-Century Ghost Stories (1998)
  • The Summer of a Dormouse: A Year of Growing Old Disgracefully (2000)
  • Rumpole Rests His Case (2001)
  • Rumpole And the Primrose Path (2002)
  • Where There's a Will (2003)
  • Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders (2004)
  • Quite Honestly (2005) ISBN 0-670-03483-5
  • The Scales of Justice (2005)
  • Rumpole and the Reign of Terror (2006)

Select screenwriting credits

External links

Jack Cade (possibly named John Mortimer) was the leader of a popular revolt in the 1450 Kent rebellion which took place in the time of King Henry VI in England.
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The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by King George V. The Order includes five classes in civil and military divisions; in decreasing order of seniority, these are:
  • Knight Grand Cross or

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Queen's Counsel (postnominal QC), during the reign of a male sovereign known as King's Counsel (KC), are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law"; the position exists in various Commonwealth countries around
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April 21 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events

  • 753 BC - Romulus and Remus found Rome (traditional).

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Year 1923 (MCMXXIII
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barrister is a lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions which employ a split profession (as opposed to a fused profession) in relation to legal representation. In split professions, the other type of lawyer is the solicitor.
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A playwright, also known as a 'dramatist', is a person who writes dramatic literature or drama. These works may be written specifically to be performed by actors or they may be closet dramas or literary works written using dramatic forms but not meant for performance.
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Harrow School

Motto Stet Fortuna Domus (Latin: "Let the fortune of the house stand")
Donorum Dei Dispensatio Fidelis (Latin: "The faithful guardians of the gifts of God")
Established 1572

Type Public School


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Brasenose College, originally Brazen Nose College (in full: The King's Hall and College of Brasenose, often referred to by the abbreviation BNC), is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
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A Voyage Round My Father is an autobiographical play by John Mortimer, later adapted for television.

The first version of the play appeared as a series of three half-hour sketches for BBC radio in 1966.
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Year 1971 (MCMLXXI
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autobiography, from the Greek autos, 'self', bios, 'life' and graphein, 'write', is a biography written by the subject or composed conjointly with a collaborative writer (styled "as told to" or "with").
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Oz was first published as a satirical humour magazine between 1963–69 in Sydney, Australia and, in its second and more famous incarnation, became a "psychedelic hippy" magazine from 1967 to 1973 in London.
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Virgin Records was a British recording label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, and Nik Powell in 1972. It was later sold to Thorn EMI, and then merged with Capitol Records in 2006 to create Capitol Music Group.
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Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
(1977) The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
(1979)

Cover of US Release

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
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Rumpole of the Bailey is a British television series created and written by British writer and barrister Sir John Mortimer, QC and starring Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole, an aging London barrister who defends any and all clients.
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The Central Criminal Court in England, commonly known as the Old Bailey (a bailey being part of a castle), is a Crown Court centre (higher criminal court) in central London, dealing with major criminal cases in Greater London and, exceptionally, in other parts of
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Year 1975 (MCMLXXV
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The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Type Broadcast radio and television
Country  United Kingdom
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Founder John Reith
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Play for Today was a British television anthology drama series, produced by the BBC and transmitted on BBC1 from 1970 to 1984. Over three hundred original plays, most between an hour and ninety minutes in length, were transmitted during the fourteen-year period the series
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Leo McKern

Born March 16, 1920
Sydney, Australia
Died July 23, 2002

Leo McKern, AO (March 16, 1920 – July 23, 2002) was an Australian actor who appeared in numerous British television programs, movies and in over 200 stage roles.
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Rumpole of the Bailey is a British television series created and written by British writer and barrister Sir John Mortimer, QC and starring Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole, an aging London barrister who defends any and all clients.
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Thames Television

The final Thames Television logo prior to losing its ITV franchise (1990-1992)
Based in London
Broadcast area Greater London
Launched 30 July 1968


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BBC Radio 4

Broadcast area UK - National
First air date 30 September 1967
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Timothy West CBE (born October 20, 1934) is an English film, stage and television actor. He was born in Bradford, Yorkshire of the Earl De La Warr family, and educated at the John Lyon School, a boys' independent school in Harrow-on-the-Hill in London and also at Bristol Grammar
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Sir Edward Marshall-Hall, KC, (Brighton, 16 September 1858 – 24 February 1927) was an English barrister who had a formidable reputation as an orator. He successfully defended many people accused of notorious murders and became known as "The Great Defender".
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Various Doctors
(currently David Tennant)
Various companions
Opening theme Doctor Who theme music
Ending theme Doctor Who theme music (reprise)
Country of origin  United Kingdom
No.
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Tom Baker

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Birth name Thomas Stewart Baker
Born January 20 1934 (1934--) (age 73)
Liverpool, Merseyside, England


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