The Duchess of Duke Street

1976 | United Kingdom

This period drama, set in Edwardian London, was loosely based on the life-story of Rosa Lewis, a kitchen maid who worked her way up to become manageress of the fashionable Cavendish Hotel in Jermyn Street. 

The series featured Gemma Jones as Louisa Trotter (nee Leyton), a down-to-earth Cockney girl who was determined, through hard work and her own strength of character, to better her self. Following her arrival as assistant chef to Monsieur Alex (George Pravda) in the household of Lord Henry Norton (Bryan Coleman), Louisa was called upon to deputize for him when the Prince of Wales (Roger Hammond) unexpectedly arrived for dinner. Smitten by the young woman, the Prince, who would not consider entering into a relationship with a single woman, bought pressure on Louisa (through his supporters and not directly) into marrying Gus Trotter (Donald Burton). Failure to do so would have led to ruin for the ambitious young woman whereas her compliance led to the Trotter's being amply supported with enough financial backing to purchase the Bentinck Hotel at number 20 Duke Street. 

Eventually the marriage ended and Louisa was left with mounting bills. She was saved by Charlie Tyrell aka Lord Haslemere (Christopher Cazenove), who purchased the Bentinck and employed Louisa to work there. She eventually fell pregnant with his baby but the child, Lottie, was whisked away to be brought up secretly in the country. The series was very similar in style to Upstairs, Downstairs, which is hardly surprising considering that series' producer, John Hawkesworth, created it.

Published on December 8th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.