Skip to content

Classic TV Drama: The Onedin Line – #79- S07 E07 – “The Suitor”


A great Brit TV Classic – this episode

James learns that Elizabeth has won a contract that he thought was his. He erupts with anger and clutches his stomach. The doctor says that James has an ulcer and prescribes a milk and fish diet and rest. He says that if the ulcer bursts on board ship he can’t guarantee his return. James says that it is nothing that a sea breeze can’t put right. Elizabeth tells James that she declined the contract. Charles Marston arrives at James’ office. He says a passenger called Bullen has sailed on one of James’ ships and he is very keen to trace him. He asks James to send a cable instructing Bullen to be kept on board once they dock. He says he cheated him out of a considerable amount of money on a timber contract. He tells James that he bought Imperial Staffs recently and is to let a contract to carry his clay every month. It transpires that he was the one who offered the contract to Elizabeth and that if James gives him Bullen he can have the contract. On board ship, Bullen rescues Tom the cabin boy from a mad crewmember. At home Sarah introduces her friend, a retired naval captain called Arbuthnot Dampier (played by Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor Who) to her family. Samuel disapproves. Dampier says that he inherited an estate and owns a steam yacht called Amazon (the yacht used in filming was, in fact, the ex-steam yacht Amazon). James says that at least he has an estate so he can’t be after Sarah’s money which was all that worried him. Tom shows Baines the cable saying Bullen is wanted for thieving. Sarah tells Dampier that her medium, Pilgrim, has told her that her late husband Robert objects to him. Dampier and later James confront Pilgrim offering him money or threatening him with exposure and legal action as a fraud. Marston says he needs to find a way of tempting Elizabeth and invites her to tender to deliver an entire railway system for Chile right through the Andes. He invites her to Clitheroe Castle for a hunt but she says she has been tempted enough for one day. On board the Amazon, Samuel accuses Sarah of insulting the memory of his father. James learns that Bullen has skipped ship at Liverpool with the help of Tom and Baines says he is not sorry because he could not make him out as a thief. Bullen returns and demands to know who is accusing him. He was owed several months wages and says that he was told by the old man who owned the estate in Cheshire to take whatever was of use, so he started felling timber. The old mans nephew is a certain Captain Dampier who tells James that as far as he was aware there was an unwritten understanding with Bullen. Dampier reveals that the estate was bankrupt and James orders him to withdraw from his relationship with Sarah giving him cheques from both himself and Elizabeth to fund his steamer. Dampier says he is sorry but that he would really have cared for Sarah. Marston signs the clay-shipping contract only to find that Bullen is now in mid Atlantic. Marston says that James will never get another contract from him. James says that as far as he is concerned Bullen is innocent and that is his word as gentleman. Marston replies that he sees no gentlemen in the room to which Baines agrees, saying he sees no gentlemen either, and that he is glad he is a simple sailor.

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.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: