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Classic TV Drama: The Onedin Line – #89 – S08 E07 – “Vengeance”


A great Brit TV Classic – this episode

Back in Liverpool, Tom Arnold is buried. Baines says ‘I wanted to bury you at sea but it was not possible, you just rest nice and easy now, we’ll get you a proper headstone as soon as I can afford it. I’m off to Liverpool to settle matters with James Onedin’. Jack Pearson calls on Margarita pursuing a debt of £2000 owing for 5 months. Max Van Der Rheede calls at the office and learns that Dawkins has been sacked. Baines calls on James but he is out. He tells Margarita that if James had treated Tom right, he wouldn’t have run off and been killed. ‘It will all catch up with him’ he says. He says he doesn’t blame her but will never forgive James, never. Elizabeth reveals that the Queen has written a personal letter of thanks to James for rescuing the Prince of Bulgaria and that she may reward him. Van Der Rheede ‘borrows’ a necklace from a prostitute called Bettsie given to her by a gentleman from London. He tells Baines that he has settled the refitting debts of the Sea Spray and implies that the debt can be repaid in some other way. On board James’ ship, two police officers come on board and demand to search the cabin. Samuel rings Elizabeth to say that James has been arrested for receiving stolen property; they found the necklace on the ship. If convicted he could receive up to 14 years penal servitude. Samuel tells Elizabeth he understands that Der Rheede paid off Baines’ debt. Der Rheede calls on Margarita and says is there anything he can do, insinuating that James succumbed to temptation. Samuel finds Baines and tells him James has been arrested. Baines says he suspected something was wrong as Der Rheede was being far too generous and wanted him to do something wrong in return. He says that it must have been Pendleton the cook and to look no further as he is the finest cook on the Seven Seas and the shiftiest. Der Rheede discusses the permanent removal of Bettsie for £50 to solve the problem of the missing necklace, which was in her possession. He has her sold abroad never to see Liverpool again. James is committed for trial and Der Rheede calls on Margarita to commiserate. Elizabeth tells him ‘you are the vilest man I have ever known’. She tells Margarita that the worst thing that could ever befall James would be imprisonment. The episode closes with James contemplating his fate in his prison cell.


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[ 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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