Monday, October 13, 2008

The Onedin Line

For no other reason than indulging in a bit of nostaliga I am posting this Youtube video from the very first episode of the Onedin Line, a television drama series from the 1970s which I remember fondly.

The Onedin Line was huge in the 1970s. The first episode was broadcast in Britain in 1971. I'm not sure when it was first broadcast on RTE (Irish television) but it can't have been too much later. It was also broadcast in Europe, the US and around the world and to this day has a dedicated following. The choice of Aram Katchachurian's theme from Spartacus was an inspired one for the theme music and the intro was a stunning combination of this theme and excellent aerial camrawork. Many people still refer to Spartacus as the "Onedin Line theme"

The series centred on the lives of two brothers James and Robert Onedin, their families and some of the crew of James Onedin's ships. Their father, whom we don't meet, leaves the older brother Robert the family business, a small ship's chandlers shop in Liverpool, while the younger brother James has already gone to sea but is left virtually penniless. Nevertheless he works his way up and marries the daughter of a schooner owner to get his hands on the ship. Eventually he ends up the wealthier of the two brothers, with a fleet of ships. Also featuring in the series are Robert & James' sister Elizabeth and the love interests of the three. Peter Gilmore played James Onedin, while Brian Rawlinson played Robert and Jessica Benton was the strong-willed Elizabeth. My favourite character of the series was the irrepresible Mr. Baines (later Captain Baines), played by Howard Lang with such ease that it seemed like he had been at sea all his life.
The ship shown in the opening credits is the Christian Radich, a full-rigged Norwegian sail training vessel. Several other vessels were also used to double for James Onedin's growing fleet.

I am open to correction on this, but I think the Christian Radich came to Kinsale in the late 1970s while it was taking part in some filming off the south coast of Ireland.


Anonymous said...

Love it! I was not familiar with this program over in the US. They don't make TV like they used to. ;-)

Tom K said...

You said you think the ship came to Kinsale in the late 70s. You may be correct but I definitely remember seeing her in Crosshaven harbour at that time.

Carrignafoy said...

Yes, you are correct. I too saw her in Crosshaven but I also saw her in Kinsale though well out in the channel.