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Classic TV Drama: The Onedin Line – #53 – S05 E01 – “When Troubles Come”


A great Brit TV Classic – this episode

Gladstone is Prime minister. James is held captive at ‘Port Baines’ after a change of government. Baines insists on going ashore to rescue James, even though they haven’t spoken for 5 years. Back in Liverpool, Elizabeth is financially stretched and trying to find more credit. Robert too is short of money for stock. A wealthy new client, Thomas Macaulay (Ed Devereaux), arrives with a professed desire to invest in shipping to capitalize on growth in South African trade after the Zulus are quelled. He approaches Elizabeth and negotiates a £100,000 debenture (a loan secured by the assets of the company) at 5% to allow him to invest in the (still privately held) Frazer Line, and she to re-capitalize the company. Baines successfully rescues James, though James is shot during the escape. On the voyage home, James recuperates from the wound to his head. He enjoys being at sea once more, and reconciles with Baines. In Liverpool, James reveals the South American catastrophe to the family. Robert takes the news calmly – too calmly. It emerges that Macaulay has approached him too and loaned him £10,000, in return for a rate of 4% and the management (including voting rights) of Robert’s company shares. Charlotte may be sent away to school meaning Miss Gaunt could be let go, but James demurs. At the Bank, James learns that, while many investors were unsecured and have no recourse to Onedin funds, the Bank’s main loan is secured: He will be sold up. Elizabeth lets Baines go. James has lost all his ships and Macaulay intends to buy up the lot. But none of these vessels have bailiffs notices attached yet, so Baines and James start discreetly rounding up crews and slip away. Elizabeth and Miss Gaunt mislead Macaulay into thinking James has sailed for Belfast. In fact, he is off to the Baltic.

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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