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Classic TV Drama: The Onedin Line – #87 – S08 E05 – “Jonah’s Luck”


A great Brit TV Classic – this episode

Elizabeth and Dunwoody attend an auction of some of their ships and bid for the Sea Spray. They are outbid by Captain Baines, aided financially by Tom who offers his life savings of £45. Elizabeth had thought he was bidding for it on behalf of James who says he would have gone there himself if he had known. James tells Margarita that he is going to Niger alone to set up a trading post, she replies seductively, ‘say goodbye properly’! In return for his investment Baines gives Tom six shares in the Sea Spray; they are now partners. James wants to sail immediately but it’s Friday and Baines says to wait until tomorrow, James declares ‘Jonah’s Luck’. Samuel and Max Van Der Rheede discuss the sale of a warehouse on the East River in New York. Der Rheede wants £11000 for it; Samuel agrees but pays for it by giving him the note he holds against James’ debt. In Niger, James goes up river to meet Reverend Stoner and the chief and bargain for ivory. At home, Margarita wanders the streets of Liverpool and is attacked and robbed. She comments on the pitiful conditions some of the people live in and Elizabeth says she should take over running the orphanage following Letty’s death to which Margarita replies, ‘Letty, Letty, Letty!’ James offers to build the trading post in return for all their ivory and accepts a drinking challenge with the evil Nkasa who says that Baines will be ill, Tom will die in a fire and James’ wife will be ill. The potions strength is first tested on a goat, which dies. James goes first but secretly makes himself sick and survives. Nkasa refuses to drink and James wins. Baines is unhappy with James’ double-dealing with Reverend Stoner and Samuel. James confronts Baines for buying the Sea Spray for himself. Baines declares he wants nothing more to do with him saying ‘you can walk your own path to hell James Onedin’

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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