The Onedin Line: Salvage (BBC-1 19 Nov 1971, Paula Wilcox)

In Salvage The Onedin Line could be scuppered before it even really gets going when the Charlotte Rhodes is left floundering during a fierce storm. Not only are the lives of the men on board in danger but James, who is not aboard, couldn’t afford to insure the vessel for the journey. Not only that but the crew, led by Baines, abandon her six miles out. Callon’s clever son Edmund realises that the ship could be claimed as salvage if they reach it first.

James must act fast if he is to save the Charlotte Rhodes and talks Albert Frazer into test driving his new steam ship to get to the ship before Callon. There is an exciting race against Edmund and James quickly realises the power and speed that steam holds.

The fall out from news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy is causing shockwaves in the Onedin households but Elizabeth has a good comeback for James when she tells him that at least she did what she did for love not to get her hands on a ship like he did. When Fogarty returns from a voyage James and Robert confront him, tell him what has happened and that he will be marrying Elizabeth, leaving Callon’s employ and starting to work for them. Fogarty is none too impressed and ends up having an epic fist fight with James.

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There’s a strong guest role for Paula Wilcox as a struggling wife and mother desperate to get an advance on her husband’s pay. Having been sent away with a flea in her ear by James she tries her luck with Sarah – we later learn that her husband fell overboard and drowned.

classic quote
“If Elizabeth is forced to leave this house then I will go with her.” – Sarah to Robert and James.

production details
UK / BBC One / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast 19 November 1971 at 9.20pm

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Writer: Michael J. Bird / Production Design: Oliver Bayldon / Director: Viktors Ritelis

Series: The Onedin Line Season 1 Episode 6

Peter Gilmore as James
Anne Stallybrass as Anne
Edward Chapman as Callon
Brian Rawlinson as Robert
Philip Bond as Albert Frazer
Michael Billington as Daniel Fogarty
Jessica Benton as Elizabeth
Howard Lang as Baines
James Warwick as Edmund Callon
Mary Webster as Sarah
Paula Wilcox as Agnes Bascombe
Frederick Arle as Jack Littlejohn
John Rapley as Barman
Salvin Stewart as Crew member
John Lyons as Crew member

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.