The Onedin Line: The Wind Blows Free (BBC-1 15 Oct 1971)

In The Wind Blows Free James Onedin returns from sea determined to buy the Charlotte Rhodes from Captain Webster if only he can persuade him to sell at a fair price instead of the £650 guineas he wants.

James believes he can get the ship for less than £500 and has managed to save a hundred and seventy five pounds and wants his brother Robert, who has just inherited the family business following the death of their father, to put up the rest of the money. Robert isn’t at all keen.

James also believes he can also make his fortune transporting wine, even if it means going up against his old boss Callan.

Within the first ten minutes The Onedin Line has you hooked. James Onedin is a brilliant character and even when his brother turns him down you just know nothing is going to stand in his way to get his hands on the Charlotte Rhodes.

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His offer of a £175 and a partnership is met with disdain by Captain Webster however his canny daughter Sarah has her own idea for a partnership – one that involves marriage. She’s just as strong a character as James that much is clear.

James also eventually persuades his Robert to become a partner in order to have his interests looked after whilst he is away at sea. Anne is furious but James is really looking after number one. It’s no real surprise that after the wedding Anne decides she will be joining James on their first voyage. Callan is desperate to stop James taking over the contract of wine merchant Braganza but there is no way he can beat Onedin’s price of free freight (in exchange for being made the sole agent for Braganza’s wine in the United Kingdom).

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Philip Bond who plays Albert Frazer was fresh from second season of The Main Chance where he played a similarly smug and not overly likeable character. Much of this episode was a remake of the pilot episode with the same title that was seen in the Drama Playhouse series.

classic quote
“You have a warehouse senor?”
“I will have.”

production details
UK / BBC One / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast 15 October 1971

Writer: Cyril Abraham / Script Editor: Barry Thomas / Production Design: Oliver Bayldon / Director: William Slater

Series: The Onedin Line Season 1 Episode 1

Peter Gilmore as James
Anne Stallybrass as Anne
Brian Rawlinson as Robert
Jessica Benton as Elizabeth
Mary Webster as Sarah
Howard Lang as Baines
Philip Bond as Albert Frazer
Edward Chapman as Callon
James Hayter as Captain Webster
Cyril Shaps as Braganza
Maureen Nelson as Mrs Furlong
John Kidd as Agnew
Robert Gillespie as Drummond
Edward Dentith as Captain Davies
Declan Mulholland as Butcher
Reg Matthews as Clerk

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.