TV UK TV

The Duchess of Duke Street (BBC-1 1976-1977 with Gemma Jones and Christopher Cazenove)

UK / BBC One / 31×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 4 September 1976 – 24 December 1977

Creator/Producer: John Hawkesworth / Music: Alexander Faris

Period drama series. Edwardian cook Louisa Trotter determines to improve herself and eventually becomes the owner of her own hotel.

Outspoken, hardworking Louisa Leyton is certainly a woman with ambition and, in London in the late 19th Century, she is ahead of her time. Her goal is to be the best cook in England and the post of Assistant Cook under Chef de Cuisine Monsieur Alex in a distinguished household is just the start, a place to home her culinary skills to perfection and to learn the art of cooking for the rich. And learn she does, after some initial opposition from the hostile kitchen staff and the somewhat reticent Monsieur Alex himself.

But it is when the chef is away on holiday that her chance really comes, as the master of the house orders a banquet fit for – the Prince of Wales. It is here that she comes to the Prince’s personal notice. Her menu an unmitigated success, Louisa is delighted, confident that she is on the brink of culinary fame. Not even household butler Mr Trotter and his unwelcome romantic attentions or her mother’s wish to marry her off to him, can spoil things. Then one Major Farjeon, personal confident to the Prince himself, requests to see her, to explain what royal patronage will really mean to a girl like her…

Louisa also begins a relationship with well to do Charlie Tyrell soon to be Lord Haslemere, although they can never go public with their relationship Louisa falls pregnant and has a daughter Lottie who is sent off to live with a childless couple.

Season two opened with the dark cloud of world war one looming on the horizon and Louisa and the staff determined to do their bit for the war affort whilst the second half of the season focused on the 1920’s and Louisa determining to make amends to her daughter and integrate her into London society (although she still doesn’t her real background revealed).

Louisa Trotter is a brilliant character, not always likeable, in fact she can be downright rude at her times and Gemma Jones is wonderful in the title role, she never really achieved true stardom other than with this series though which is a definite shame.

Based on the real life story of Rosa Lewis.

cast
GEMMA JONES as Louisa Trotter
CHRISTOPHER CAZANOVE as Charles Tyrell
JOHN WELSH as Merriman
VICTORIA PLUNCKNETT as Mary
JOHN CATER as Starr
RICHARD VERNON as Major Toby Smith-Barton

SEASON ONE 4 Sep – 11 DEC 1976
1. A PRESENT SOVEREIGN
2. HONOUR AND OBEY
3. A NICE CLASS OF PREMISES
4. THE BARGAIN
5. A BED OF ROSES
6. FOR LOVE OR MONEY
7. A LADY OF VIRTUE
8. TROUBLE AND STRIFE
9. THE OUTSIDERS
10. LOTTIE’S BOY
11. NO LAWYERS NO LETTERS
12. A MATTER OF HONOUR
13. ONE NIGHT’S GRACE
14. PLAIN SAILING
15. A TEST OF LOVE

SEASON TWO 3 Sep – 24 Dec 1977
1. FAMILY MATTERS
2. POOR CATULLUS
3. A LESSON IN MANNERS
4. WINTER LAMENT
5. THE PASSING SHOW
6. YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU
7. THE PATRIOTS
8. THE RELUCTANT WARRIOR
9. TEA AND A WAD
10. SHADOWS
11. WHERE THERE’S A WILL
12. THE LEGION OF THE LIVING
13. LOTTIE
14. BLOSSOM TIME
15. POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL
16. AIN’T WE GOT FUN





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