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The Duchess of Duke Street (BBC Drama, Gemma Jones)

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The Duchess of Duke Street BBC Gemma Jones

In period drama series The Duchess of Duke Street Edwardian cook Louisa Trotter (Gemma Jones) 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 (Christopher Cazenove) 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 attimes 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

Creator/Producer: John Hawkesworth / Music: Alexander Faris

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

THE EPISODES

SEASON ONE 4 Sep – 11 DEC 1976

1. A Present Sovreign (1900)
Louisa Leyton secures the postion as under cook in the household of Lord Henry Norton so she can learn the art of cooking from a proper French chef, despite objections from her family, the chef and most everyone else. Her new skills are soon tested when she has to prepare a dinner with very very short notice for a very special guest.

guest cast
Donald Burton as Augustus Trotter
Doreen Mantle as Mrs. Catchpole
Bryan Coleman as Lord Henry Norton
June Brown as Mrs. Leyton
Roger Hammond as the Prince of Wales
John Rapley as Mr. Leyton
George Pravda as M. Alex
Elizabeth Bennett as Jean
Susan Brown as Ivy
Stephen Kemble as footman

written by John Hawksworth
directed by Bill Bain

 

2. Honour and Obey
Louisa feels pressure from everyone to marry Trotter, as a first step in accepting the romantic advances of the Prince of Wales.

guest cast
Donald Burton as Trotter
Bryan Coleman as Lord Henry Norton
Doreen Mantle as Mrs. Catchpole
June Brown as Mrs. Leyton
George Pravda as M. Alex
Elizabeth Bennett as Jean
Susan Brown as Ivy
Michael Culver as Major Farjeon
John Rapley as Mr. Leyton
Gerald Case as Pritchett
Simone Francis as Molly

written by Jeremy Paul
directed by Cyril Coke

 

3. A Nice Class of Premises
Louisa’s world undergoes another change when Queen Victoria dies, and the Prince of Wales ends his visits. Bound by her agreement to remain discreet, Louisa tries to revive her career as a master cook and to deal with Gus’ feelings of rejection. She persuades him to buy the Bentinck Hotel as a project for him to run, but this too proves a disaster.

guest cast
Donald Burton as Trotter
Kate Lansbury as Mrs. Welkin
Sammie Winmill as Ethel
Michael Culver as Major Farjeon
Mary Macleod as Norah Trotter
Doreen Mantle as Mrs. Catchpole
Patrick Durkin as Jessop

written by David Butler
directed by Bill Bain

 

4. The Bargain
In an effort to clear her husband’s debts, Louisa closes the hotel and goes to work cooking until she collapses, literally, at the feet of Charlie Tyrrell, who offers to buy the hotel lease and reopen the Bentinck, in exchange for a permanent suite of rooms.

guest cast
June Brown as Mrs. Leyton
John Rapley as Mr. Leyton
Peter Cellier as Mr. Mather
Reginald Marsh as Mr. Atkinson
Derek Martin as Reg Smythe
Sally Lahee as Mrs. Caradine
Tony Meyer as Mr. Ellis

written by Jack Rosenthal
directed by Cyril Coke

 

5. A Bed of Roses
Louisa allows an unexpected dinner with Charlie Tyrrell to lead to a love affair that threatens to ruin the hotel. The Bentinck acquires a new permanent resident, the impecunious Major Toby Smith-Barton.

guest cast
Belinda Carroll
Kate Lansbury as Mrs. Welkin
Alan Clements
Richard Longman
Geoffrey Staines

written by John Hawksworth
directed by Bill Bain

 

6. For Love or Money
A purported friend of Lord Haslemere convinces an American businessman that he has a machine that can literally make money. The bored young wife of a grouchy peer looks for excitement at the Bentinck and finds it.

guest cast
Leigh Lawson as Baron Paul Oppendorf
Paul Curran as Sir George Adam
Angharad Rees as Lady Adam
Ed Devereaux as the Senator

written by John Hawksworth
directed by Raymond Menmuir

 

7. A Lady of Virtue
A cynical politician sets his sights on a vulnerable, respectable woman stuck in a loveless marriage to a gambler.

guest cast
Robert Hardy as George Duggan
John Horsley as Sir James Rosslyn
Juliet Whaley as Sophie
Arnold Peters as Foster
David Crosse as Croft
Elizabeth Shepherd as Diana Strickland

written by Jeremy Paul
directed by Cyril Coke

 

8. Trouble and Strife
While Louisa’s away, a woman from Starr’s mysterious past appears and upsets the old soldier and the rest of the hotel staff.

guest cast
Maureen O’Brien as Lizzie Talbot
Hilary Mason as Miss Hayward
Susan Porrett as Morgan
James Coyle as Frank
Robin Wentworth as Chief Inspector Munn
Ernest Hare as Admiral Swain

written by Jeremy Paul
directed by Raymond Menmuir

 

9. The Outsiders
Lord Haslemere finds himself on the outside looking in when an art dealer agrees to display his paintings, and the staff of the hotel are less than cordial to a shipping clerk who insists on staying at the hotel, like a gentleman.

guest cast
Derek Smith as Stanley Parker
Ronald Lacey as Arthur Shepherd
Lionel Guyett as Tadeusz Svorksi
Sammie Winmill as Ethel
Hilda Fenemore as Mrs. Parker
Joan Benham as Lady Williams
Bryan Coleman as Lord Henry Norton

written by Rosemary Anne Sisson
directed by Simon Langton

 

10. Lottie’s Boy
Louisa and the Major invest in a diamond field with the son of an old friend. Mary quarrels with Louisa following the annual Servants’ Ball and decides to leave the Bentinck.

written by Julia Jones
directed by Cyril Coke

guest cast
Anthony Andrews as Marcus Carrington
John Gabriel as Poole
Christine Pollon as Auntie Gwyneth
Holly De Jong as Violet
Sammie Winmill as Ethel
Frank Tregear as Steadman

 

11. No Letters, No Lawyers
Louisa has the misfortune of angering the nephew of a newspaper publisher who sends a reporter in to discover any scandal at the Bentinck, at just the same time as the hotel lease holders are looking for a reason to break it.

guest cast
James Laurenson as Culliford
Thorley Walters as Balstrode
Alan MacNaughton as Lawrie
Barrie Cookson as Sir Esmond Manning
Andrew Knox as Buckhurst
Christopher Biggins as Nelson
Gordon Christie as constable

written by Bill Craig
directed by Simon Langton

 

12. A Matter of Honour
Louisa agrees to personally create an Ascot Day dinner for Major Farjeon and his new wife at his inadequate holiday home, where a nasty quarrel over the day’s race threatens to ruin everything.

guest cast
Michael Culver as Major Farjeon
Zelah Clarke as Kath
Noel Howlett as Sterling
Edna Dore as Mrs. Bertram
Norman Eshley as Wilson
Gillian Lewis as Jennett
Mel Crutucher as Lady Farjeon
John Quayle

written by Julian Bond
directed by Bill Bain

 

13. One Night’s Grace
A common sort of girl called “Kippers” appears at the Bentinck, asking to see Charlie, who not only sees her, but offers to let her stay in his apartments for a few days, much to Louisa’s outrage.

guest cast
Sally Osborne as Grace Tyrrell
Holly De Jong as Violet
Michael Hawkins as Inspector Jason

written by Ken Taylor
directed by Cyril Coke

 

14. Plain Sailing (August 1909, Isle of Wight)
Louisa buys a seaside house at Cowes and incites a feud with the ladies of the Royal Yacht Club next door, who had hoped to have the place as their much-needed Ladies’ Annex.

guest cast
Jan Francis as Irene Baker
Peter Graves as Sir Evelyn Grant-Worthley
Margaretta Scott as Lady Blenkiron
Noel Coleman as Sir Reginald Blenkiron
Venetia Maxwell as The Honorable Mrs. Sibley
Robert Mill as Colonel Sibley
Toni Palmer as Mrs. Delaney
Patrick Newell as Tommy Shepherd
Anthony Roye as Hugo Walden
Donald Pelmear as Major Gutch
Sammie Winmill as Ethel
Rosemund Greenwood as the Duchess
Ernest Hare as Admiral Swain

written by Jeremy Paul
directed by Raymond Menmuir

 

15. A Test of Love (1910)
The announcement of Charlie’s engagement to a naive young woman named Margaret prompts a breach of promise suit from Irene Baker and forces Louisa to confront her ambivalent feelings as she prepares to welcome the young woman to the hotel. Mr. Merriman wins some money.

guest cast
Joanna David as Margaret Jane
James Horsley as Sir James Rosslyn
Bryan Coleman as Sir Henry Norton
Jan Francis as Irene Baker
Anton Rodgers as Newdigate
Donald Morley as Randall
Richard Leech as judge

written by John Hawksworth

 

SEASON TWO 3 Sep – 24 Dec 1977

16. Family Matters
Louisa’s brother Arthur returns and goes to work at the Bentinck, causing hard feelings amongst the staff and precipitating another row with her parents.

guest cast
Martin Shaw as Arthur
John Rapley as Mr. Leyton
June Brown as Mrs. Leyton
Christine Pollon as Auntie Gwyneth
Holly De Jong as Violet
Ronald Russell as Mr. Brown
Renee Robertson as Mrs. Brown
Anthony Stafford as Lord Monkeford

written by Julia Jones
directed by Bill Bain

 

17. Poor Catullus
Two Oxford students play a joke on Louisa and one of their professors, which ends rather unexpectedly for everyone concerned. Cracks appear in Charlie’s marriage to Margaret.

guest cast
Freddie Jones as Professor Stubbs
Joanna David as Margaret
Julian Fellowes as Claud Turner-Rumbold
Charles Rogers as Willie
Patrick Newell as Tommy Shepherd
Sue Nicholls as Daphne Shepherd
Holly De Jong as Violet

written by Jeremy Paul
directed by Cyril Coke

 

18. A Lesson in Manners
A regular patron of the Bentinck dies and leaves her fortune to her chauffeur rather than her wastrel nephew, which turns both of their worlds upside down, and makes them allies of a sort.

guest cast
Kevin McNally as Tom Prince
Robin Langford as Eddie Sturgess
Jessica Benton as Eleanor Prentice
Joan Haythorne as Mrs. Covenden
Lally Bowers as Millicent Sturgess
Hazel Bainbridge as the Duchess

written by Rosemary Anne Sisson
directed by Cyril Coke

 

19. Winter Lament
Louisa travels north to visit Charlie and Margaret at their estate, where she finds a sad Margaret literally starving herself to death, and sees her own child, Lottie, once again.

guest cast
Joanna David as Margaret
Liz Smith as Nanny
Phillippa Shackleton as Lottie
Iain Cuthbertson as the vicar
Brenda Cowling as Elsie Richards
John Scott Martin as Will Richards

written by Maggie Wadey
directed by Simon Langton

 

20. The Passing Show (June 1914)
Louisa tries to persuade Charlie to get back into life after Margaret’s death by insisting he take up a royal invitation to become a gentleman usher. Violet is seduced by an aging actor staying at the hotel.

guest cast
T.P. McKenna as Sir Martin Mallory
Holly De Jong as Violet
James Woolley as Major Fitzsimmons
Madeleine Cannon as Puffi
Christopher Good as Lt. Marjoribanks
Sammie Winmill as Ethel
Marsha Fitzalan as Lady Victoria

written by John Hawksworth
directed by Bill Bain

 

21. Your Country Needs You (August 1914)
Louisa declares the Bentinck at war with Germany, and agrees to take in a Belgian refugee who turns out to be a first rate pastry chef. A reinvigorated Charlie enlists in the Army.

guest cast
John Moreno as Gaspari
Charles Rogers as Willie Watling
Osmund Bullock as Hoppy Hubbard
Reggie Oliver

written by John Hawksworth
directed by Simon Langton

 

22. The Patriots (Autumn 1915)
Autumn 1915 finds the Bentinck playing host to soldiers on leave, and inadvertently, to spies leaking information to the Germans.

guest cast
Derek Farr as Bartlett
Alan Gifford as Brewster
Jeremy Clyde as Appleby
John Moreno as Gaspari
William Fox as Vickers
Edward Hammond as Lt. Bydon

written by Bill Craig
directed by Bill Bain

 

23. The Reluctant Warrior (Winter 1916)
When a bomb drops into the back court of the hotel, Starr loses a friend and Ethel befriends a “conscie” whose refusal to kill anyone has relegated his war service to bomb disposal. Louisa befriends a young couple about to be parted by the war, and drops a few words of advice in the bride’s ear.

guest cast
Sammie Winmill as Ethel
Ivor Roberts as the Sergeant
Paul Aston as Pvt. Clive Baker
Garrick Hagon as Capt. Ian McLean
Judi Maynard as Fay McLean

written by Rosemary Anne Sisson
directed by Simon Langton

 

24. Tea and a Wad (Spring 1917)
Louisa closes the hotel for repairs and takes Mrs. Cochrane and Mary with her to Boulogne to open a canteen for enlisted men. Over there, Mary befriends a young deserter and Louisa renews her relationship with Charlie.

guest cast
Gordon Kane as Jock
Madeleine Cannon as Mrs. Fitzsimmons
Barbara Lott as Mrs. Farthing-Whitely
Edward Underdown as Adjutant General
Hilary Minster as Captain Wyndham-Briggs

written by John Hawksworth
directed by Cyril Coke

 

25. Shadows (Summer 1918)
Charlie returns to a Bentinck converted to a convalescent center for officers, where it becomes apparent that his head wound has had a more permanent effect than was first thought. Mary is drawn to a sardonic young man convinced that he has seen visons of his own death in France.

guest cast
Richard Pearson as Sir Ernest Horsfield
Geoffrey Bayldon as Collinghurst
Patrick Newell as Tommy Shepherd
Sue Nicholls as Daphne Shepherd
Simon Chandler as Brian Spedding
William Hoyland as Captain Roger Mason

written by Jeremy Paul
directed by Bill Bain

 

26. Where There’s a Will
Burdened by debts and depressed over Charlie’s death, Louisa decides to sell the Bentinck, which throws the staff and the Major into a quandary wondering about their futures.

guest cast
June Brown as Mrs. Leyton
John Rapley as Mr. Leyton
Christopher Guard as John
Christine Pollon as Auntie Gwyneth
Arthur White
Timothy Bateson
Leonard Woodrow
Malcolm Hendry Taylor

written by Julia Jones
directed by Cyril Coke

 

27. The Legion of the Living
Louisa travels north again, this time for a memorial service for the late Lord Haslemere, and to deal with the problem of their daughter, Lottie.

guest cast
Lalla Ward as Lottie Richards
Iain Cuthbertson as the Vicar
Liz Smith as Nanny
Bernard Gallagher as Enfield
Bryan Coleman as Lord Henry Norton
Brenda Cowling as Elsie Richards
Angela Curran as Liz

written by Margaret Wadey
directed by Gerry Mill

 

28. Lottie
Louisa returns to London with Lottie, who struggles to find her place at the Bentinck and in Louisa’s life. Mary is disillusioned by a returning soldier who’s come to reclaim the violin he left with her.

guest cast
Lalla Ward as Lottie
Simon Chandler as Brian Spedding
Anthony Roye as “Saffron” Welden

written by Jeremy Paul
directed by Bill Bain

 

29. Blossom Time
Lottie returns from her continental finishing school with one of her teachers, who seems to be smitten with an equally fascinated Major Smith-Barton. A suitor cools his ardor quickly upon hearing the circumstances of Lottie’s birth.

guest cast
Lalla Ward as Lottie
Helen Ryan as Olive Bradford
Pauline Quirk as Pearl
Felicity Gibson as Lady Angela
Richard Morant as Howard Blenkiron

written by Jeremy Paul
directed by Gerry Mill

 

30. Poor Little Rich Girl
Lottie’s desire to have a singing career comes into direct conflict with Louisa’s plans for her future and her proper place in society.

guest cast
Lalla Ward as Lottie
Jeremy Nicholas as Nick Somers
June Brown as Mrs. Leyton
John Rapley as Mr. Leyton
Christine Pollon as Aunt Gwyneth
James Woolley as Col. Fitzsimmons
Peter Whitaker as clergyman

written by Julia Jones
directed by Cyril Coke

 

31. Ain’t We Got Fun (1925)
An American journalist persuades Louisa to let her write a biography of Louisa and the hotel. Merriman wins 500 pounds and sets out to see the world. Starr and Mary announce some personal plans of their own.

guest cast
Lalla Ward as Lottie
Jacqueline Reddin as Petal
Stephen Bone as Julian
Ian Collier as Nigel
Richard Longman as Ronnie
Anthony Roye as “Saffron” Welden
Anna Calder-Marshall as Sophie Applegate

written by John Hawksworth
directed by Bill Bain