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Classic TV Drama: The Onedin Line – #75 – S07 E03 – “The Paddy Westers”


A great Brit TV Classic – this episode

On the quay, a gentleman called Orsova and his wife asks where he can find ‘Paddy West’. Because of Baines’ broken arm, a notorious Captain Blake will be in charge of the voyage to New York. On learning this several of the crew have jumped ship. Paddy West arranges passages to America for criminals and individuals with dubious backgrounds who need to avoid immigration on Ellis Island, for a fee. The owner of the Black Pearl, Seth Burgess, asks Paddy West to find him seven crewmen for the voyage. West assumes they are for Burgess’ steam ship. West tricks Burgess into believing the men are experienced saying that one of them has been round the Horn twice; he in fact walked twice around a table with a ‘horn’ on it. Elizabeth has promoted Dunwoody to Managing Director and plans to go on holiday. Sarah tells Elizabeth about her psychic and that he has foretold that Elizabeth will be ‘provided for’. Burgess points out that the contract Baines has signed to deliver traction engines won’t work as there will be no heavy lifting gear at the port. A solicitor, Mr Pettifer, arrives looking for a Robert Onedin. William has left a large legacy for his son Robert amounting to £20,000. Elizabeth remembers what Sarah told her about being ‘provided for’. Seth Burgess shows Elizabeth his plans to replace piston engines with a new design of turbine similar to the reaction turbine patented by Sir Charles Parsons. She says she will show it to her chief draughtsman and Seth suggests dinner to discuss it. On board the Christian Radich another criminal attempts to kill James but his life is saved by Orsova who reveals that he and his wife are a Count and Countess fleeing from Rumelia and that she is pregnant. At home, Baines goes looking for Paddy West and Elizabeth calls on Burgess saying that she is interested in his ideas. She accepts his invitation to dinner, introducing him to Letty and Sarah who will also be joining them. Burgess tells Elizabeth about Baines’ problem and she agrees to provide a ship with lifting gear for £250. Baines beats West in an arm wrestling contest winning back the £35 fee for the ‘Paddy Westers’ with James saying, ‘back to sea for you where you’ll keep out of mischief’.

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.

Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow – S4 E15 – Pernell Roberts, Gregory Harrison,
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