The Onedin Line: A Very Important Passenger (17 Dec 1971)


In A Very Important Passenger James is persuaded to carry a top secret passenger to Italy. Sir George Pelham initially approaches Callon with the offer but thinking that carrying the secret passenger could well be dangerous he palms the man off on James.

Meanwhile Robert, having sold his shop to Callon to get out of debt, is putting the hard word of James to try and come up with the money to open another one. The trip, worth four hundred pounds, could well be the opportunity Robert needs.

Baines is taken sick and unable to travel forcing James to take on a mate and crew he doesn’t know. We quickly learn that some of the crew may not be all they seem to and may have designs on killing the passenger.

When it is clear that the life of the passenger is in danger he reveals who he is to James and Anne. It turns out he is Giuseppe Garibaldi (a real life famous Italian political figure who was determined to bring about a unified Italy.) Things come to a dangerous head when the crew take James prisoner.

By episodes end and a successful conclusion to the Garibaldi voyage Robert has made a down payment on a new shop but is none too pleased to learn that it will form part of a new Onedin company – Onedin Chandlery and he will only own 15% of it – still at least he does have 15% shares in the shipping and warehouse companies too!

Time has passed quite a bit since the previous episode too, a passing remark from Robert to Albert Frazer reveals that Elizabeth has had a baby boy luckily for her “he is growing more like his mother every day.”

production details
UK / BBC One / 1×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 17 December 1971 at 9.20pm

Writer: Roy Russell / Production Design: Oliver Bayldon / Director: Peter Cregeen

Series: The Onedin Line Season 1 Episode 10

Peter Gilmore as James
Anne Stallybrass as Anne
Brian Rawlinson as Robert
Edward Chapman as Callon
Philip Bond as Albert Frazer
Jessica Benton as Elizabeth
John Franklyn-Robbins as The passenger
John Line as Sir George Pelham
Alfred Bell as Alun Medcalf
Grahame Mallard as Carl Strang
Michael Menaugh as Manuel Santos
Billy Hamon as Jacky Clegg
Rollo Gamble as Rear Admiral Spinks