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Classic TV Drama: The Onedin Line – #60 – S05 E08 – “The Hostage”


A great Brit TV Classic – this episode

James and Baines sail to Naples. In Liverpool, William and Charlotte arrange to liaise at Robert’s shop and William advises the assistant, Miss Purvis, who has been sacked for poor timekeeping, to see Letty, who is setting up business mending old sacks. Daniel berates William for not calling him Father, while Elizabeth storms out saying that she has looked after him alone for 17 years so why change. James has a new local cook on board but discovers that he has smuggled others on board, who take over the ship at gunpoint. They find the moneybox, but it is empty. On shore, James discovers that the Mafia are involved and want their cut. The ship is taken over by the banditti and Baines is held hostage. James bargains with them saying that he will pay a maximum of £1,000, not the £10,000 demanded, for their release. In Naples a double bluff takes place with James giving the Mafia leader £1,000 and eventually Baines is released, although he questions whether James was bluffing or being serious. In an act of pride and face saving, the Mafia leader throws the money into the sea and Baines declares that it could have kept him for the rest of his days without having to take orders from anyone. Martin Benson plays one of the Italians.

The Onedin Line is a BBC television drama series, which ran from 1971 to 1980. The series was created by Cyril Abraham.

The series is set in Liverpool from 1860 to 1886[1] and covers the rise of a fictional shipping company, the Onedin Line, named after its owner James Onedin. Around this, it depicts the lives of his family, most notably his brother and partner Robert, a ship chandler, and his sister Elizabeth, giving insight into the lifestyle and customs at the time, not only at sea, but also ashore (mostly lower- and upper-middle-class). The series also illustrates some of the changes in business and shipping, such as from wooden to steel ships and from sailing ships to steamships. It shows the role that ships played in such matters as international politics, uprisings and the slave trade.


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