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Classic TV Drama: The Onedin Line – #84 – S08 E02 – “Revenge”


A great Brit TV Classic – this episode

James decides that instead of leaving Bulgaria he will stay and pick up a cargo of tobacco. He has heard that the Danube is flooded so it cannot go by the usual route. He and Baines set off inland to pick up the tobacco on the backs of donkeys. Tom and another crewman wait on the dock. They see a group of men take over the ship as it lies waiting. Tom decides to go after James and Baines. Meanwhile, James picks up the tobacco and sets off back for the ship. They find the track is blocked and suddenly they are attacked. They are both knocked out and when they come to they find themselves prisoners in a castle. They are then told that they are being held hostage. James finds out that the whole thing with the tobacco was a trick just to get him inland. Elizabeth is at home and receives a visit from a government official who tells her that the brigands want £50,000 for James’ release. He says the government cannot help so it is up to the family to raise the money. Elizabeth sells some of her shares in the Frazer line. Samuel lends her £10,000 and Charlotte sells some of the Onedin Line ships. Elizabeth and Samuel set off for Bulgaria with the ransom.

Meanwhile, James digs a hole in the fireplace. Tom arrives at the castle and can hear the noise of him digging. When James breaks through, he sees Tom in the chimney. They escape and set off for the coast, regaining the ship. Elizabeth and Samuel meet up with the brigands and hand over the ransom. They go back to the steamer and sail for the cove where, they have been told, James will be waiting. The two ships meet and Elizabeth boards the Onedin ship. When James finds out that they paid the ransom, he is furious, shouting “you nincompoops even I would not have paid £50,000 for me!”


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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