Author(s): Graham Lord
John Mortimer was a promising barrister who married a successful novelist (Penelope Mortimer) and then started writing himself. At first he wrote plays, most famously the autobiographical A Voyage Round My Father, and he is credited with the hugely successful TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. But it was Mortimer's creation of Rumpole of the Bailey, the irascible barrister created on TV by Leo McKern, which catapulted him to wider fame and fortune. Meanwhile he had become increasingly well-known as a lawyer, and he became everyone's first thought when a barrister with liberal principles and left-wing political beliefs was required. John Mortimer's personal life is equally colourful - he divorced his first wife and married a second Penelope, who became known as Penny 2; and recent revelations uncovered that he fathered Wendy Craig's love-child. Graham Lord's biography is all the better for being unauthorised, as he has been able to provide the full, unvarnished story of John Mortimer. First published 2005.