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Classic TV Drama: The Onedin Line – #15 – S01 E15 – “Winner Take All”


A great Brit TV Classic – this episode

The Onedin Line now owns £27,484/10/4 in assets. But that’s not cash in hand and James needs £1500 to pay off the Pampero. Robert and Sarah are, however, overjoyed with the £200 dividend they get from their 15% stake (for which they originally invested £15). James has no intentions of letting Albert build the Golden Nugget – that was clearly just a story to get out of a difficult situation. Albert is in financial trouble now, but Elizabeth sweet-talks his father to take him back into his business and consequently arranges a dinner party designed to get them and James to talk business. Albert explains the economics of a steam ship. Sailing ships have reached their limit in size, but steam ships can be made much larger. A big one would cost £40,000, the price of four clippers, and £1000 in coal for a round trip to Quebec, but it would carry the same cargo as two clippers (2500 tonnes) and do the round trip in 28 days instead of 52. James orders a 4000-tonne ship, for which he floats a public company with £100,000 worth of shares (£60,000 for building the ship and £40,000 for operating costs). Albert gets 15%, but James is to own the ship. £50,000 will be on call, so with an investment of £20,000 he will control the company because shareholders always disagree (or so he is told). But Callon buys a majority through different nominees (so James won’t know what’s happening) and manages to sway the other shareholders into electing him as director.

Callon now ‘owns’ Onedin. On top of that, Baines, a captain now and on his first command, sinks the Pampero while rounding the notoriously dangerous Cape Horn. James is in a fit, but Anne reminds him he still has the Charlotte Rhodes.

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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