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Michael J Bird's Contribution to
The Onedin Line

Creator: Cyril Abraham
Producer: Peter Graham Scott

BBC1
91 (50 minute) episodes
1971-79

Wikipedia has a complete episode listing

Period drama series. In the 19th Century determined James Onedin starts his own shipping line based in Liverpool. Grew out of a Drama Playhouse entry of 1970 and over the years there were many cast changes as Onedin's empire grew but the show remained a popular Sunday evening staple throughout its run.

So far as I am aware Michael J Bird contributed only this one script.

Regular Cast

Capt James Onedin - PETER GILMORE
Robert Onedin(1) - BRIAN RAWLINSON
Anne Onedin - ANNE STALLYBRASS
Elizabeth - JESSICA BENTON
Capt Baines - HOWARD LANG
Sarah Onedin - MARY WEBSTER
Capt Webster - JAMES HAYTER
Albert Frazer - PHILIP BOND
Callon - EDWARD CHAPMAN
19 November 1971
(Repeated 16 July 1972)
SALVAGE
Writer: Michael J.Bird
Director: Viktors Ritelis

Guest Cast:
MICHAEL BILLINGTON (Daniel Fogarty), PAULA WILCOX (Agnes Bascombe), FREDERICK ARLE (Jack Littlejohn), JOHN RAPLEY (Barman), SALVIN STEWART & JOHN LYONS (Crew members)

About which the Onedin Line Appreciation site said ...

"Elizabeth's pregnancy is kept a closely-guarded secret by her family, but she cannot bear to give up the attentions of wealthy Albert Frazer. James and co must save the Charlotte Rhodes, which is on fire, but can they arrive before the Callon vessel looking to salvage the ship? There's also a score to settle between James and Fogarty on the latter's return..."

Comment - Brilliant. Exciting sea chase in Albert's steamer, and the best fight scene in the entire series. The scene with the trio of James, Robert and Albert setting out to retrieve the stricken Charlotte Rhodes works really well.

You can view a selection of screencaps from the episode at the Anne Stallybrass & Peter Gilmore website.

VIDEO / DVD ONEDIN LINE SERIES BLOG
Video cover DVD cover

When the BBC released the series on video they chose to edit together individual episodes into four episode blocks. Very annoying for fans and problematic when it comes to identifying an individual writer's (or director's) contribution. Still - why should we expect the BBC to be interested in the creative side to what it does?

Bird's contribution "Salvage" appears on this video, imaginatively titled - "The Onedin Line - Part Two".


Subsequently the first series was released on DVD. Check it out at Play.com

View The Onedin Line blog


In early 2014 a website visitor wrote to tell me that, under the pseudonym 'Graham Fleet', he was in the early stages of writing a blog devoted to The Onedin Line.

"Mr Fleet" says it will eventually review every episode of the series and updates should appear weekly (professional and family commitments permitting).


Michael J Bird Tribute Website

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