The Duchess of Duke Street

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The Duchess of Duke Street was a BBC television show about a woman who works her way up from servant to cook to proprietress of the Bentinck Hotel on Duke Street in London. The show is loosely based on the life of Rosa Lewis who had run the Cavendish Hotel. The show is set in London between 1900 and 1925, It ran for two series between 1976 and 1977.

BBC
2 Seasons, 31 Episodes
September 4, 1976
8.4/10
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The Duchess of Duke Street
Episodes

The Duchess of Duke Street Full Episode Guide

  • Louisa and Lottie are at loggerheads -- Louisa wants her daughter to be a proper lady, as befits the daughter of a Viscount. Lottie is confident that she has the talent and the looks to become a major musical star of the London stage.

  • Lottie returns to the Bentinck from finishing school in Switzerland for a bit of a holiday and has her art teacher, Miss Olive Bradford, in tow. Lottie has become quite the young lady, having learned the rules of high society and losing her Yorkshire accent. The Major takes quite an interest in Miss Bradford but Louisa warns him that she is an old maid who may be out to get her hooks into him. Lottie also finds a beau, hotel guest Howard Blenkiron who takes an interest in her from their first meeting. She may have made a mistake however when she tells Howard of her parentage.

  • While a few of the staff know of Lottie's origins, others have set their tongues wagging about just why this young girl seems to be staying at the Bentinck. Louisa won't put up with it and sets out to end the gossip. Mary meanwhile takes an interest in her and invites her to tea with her friend Brian, the violin player. He immediately takes an interest in Lottie and grates at the constant stream of orders from Mary. When he decides to leave London, he gets Lottie to tell a heartbroken Mary of the reasons why. Louisa decides that the time has come to send Lottie to finishing school and make a lady of her.

  • Ghosts of Visits to Yorkshire Past interfere with key decisions Louisa must make in the present, chiefly, deciding what will be best for her daughter, Lottie and her future.

  • With the war at an end, Louisa is at the precipice of an emotional collapse and financial ruin.

  • Charlie returns to London and the Bentinck when he's been wounded and puts on a cheerful and brave face, but his situation is far more serious, as Louisa and the Major suspected.

  • Louisa brings a bit of England to France when the Major enlists her to fashion a tea and sandwich shop, military style and Charlie (Lord Haslemere) and an ecstatic Luisa agree to marry once the 'guns are silent.'

  • When the hotel sustains damage after it's grazed by a bomb, Ethel takes a shine to a conscientious objector, assigned to ferret out a potential UXB. Though nobody was injured, Starr, sadly, loses his beloved pooch in the rubble.

  • Louisa is concerned when a government official informs her that the Bentinck has become a spies nest and implicates a member of her staff.

  • With the outbreak of the Great War, the staff are galvanized to help in the effort and keep the hotel running as usual. Louisa takes in a Belgian refugee, a master pastry chef. Charlie enlists and leaves a worried Louisa as he departs for France .

  • Louisa urges Charlie to get on with his life and a smooth and very suave actor beds Violet, who promptly gets the sack.

  • Louisa visits Lord and Lady Haslemere in Yorkshire and finds a bleak and desperately unhappy household.

  • Louisa takes a callow chauffeur in tow and tries to turn him into a 'proper gentleman,' when his kind, elderly and wealthy employer dies suddenly and leaves him the bulk of her estate.

  • When two high spirited Oxford students play a prank on Louisa, she goes along with the fun and finds a Professor of Classics pitching the woo to her. Meanwhile, Lord and Lady Haslemere come down from Yorkshire to shop for their London home.

  • Louisa's only brother, ne'er do well Arthur, returns to London after a decade. Her mother pressures Louisa into offering him a job at the Bentinck, running the risk of alienating the rest of her staff.

  • Charlie Haslemere decides that it is time he married and settled down! Louisa approves of his choice, but an old flame of Charlie's feels that she has a prior claim.

  • Louisa decides to buy a seaside cottage where she and her friends can relax. Unfortunately her new neighbors, an exclusive Sailing Club, have objections. There is no plain sailing for anyone.

  • One evening a young lady arrives and asks for Lord Haslemere. There is some mystery and Louisa tries to unravel it and discover why she wants to stay at the Bentinck.

  • The King's former equerry, Major Sir John Farjeon, now an old friend of Louisa's, begs her to cook a special dinner on the last night of Royal Ascot. She agrees, but what should have been a gourmet's delight becomes the melting pot for an unpleasant scandal.

  • Louisa is furious to learn that the landlords would like to terminate the lease and she shouldn't dare looking for a breach of it on her part. So far there is none, but life at the Bentinck is never dull and seldom free of trouble.

  • Every year at the Bentinck, Louisa gives a Servants' Ball where the guests wait upon the staff and usually the evening is a great success. However, on this occasion, a seemingly personable young man decides to cause trouble.

  • Charlie Tyrrell has become disillusioned with his new life-style as Lord Haslemere and is beginning to feel rather sorry for himself. However, a guest at the Bentinck, Stanley Parker, who seems out of place in London society, brings Charlie to his senses with a horrifying revelation.

  • The Bentinck's hall porter and his dog Fred have become valued members of Louisa's staff and the fact that little is known about Starr's past doesn't seem to trouble anyone. Then one day he receives a visitor.

  • In October 1905 George Duggan, a rising star in the liberal Party, sweeps to victory in a by-election, and is clearly a man of strength and dedication. His charm and sincerity seem unquestionable until he meets a beautiful woman at a party in Louisa's hotel.

  • The summer of 1904 sees the Bentinck full of visitors: Old Sir George Adam brings the family jewels and his new young wife to London to show them off; Baron Oppendorf arrives from the South of France with a personal introduction from Charlie Haslemere; and Louisa is delighted with her first rich American guest. She is less delighted when she finds that the three are becoming involved with each other in a way that borders on the criminal.

  • By the spring of 1902 Louisa's hotel, the Bentinck, has become the toast of London and she herself is the vital spark that fires the heart of society. Her food is exquisite, her wine superb, and her wit and personality can be matched by none. But can this idyllic state of affairs last forever? One night her favorite guest, Charlie Tyrrell, gives a private dinner party that dramatically alters the course of both their lives.

  • Louisa has thrown her husband, Augustus, and his overbearing sister out of the Bentinck and is determined to settle the hotel's enormous debts without help from anyone. Nevertheless, hard work and austerity seem unlikely to solve the problem, but is there a benefactor close at hand?

  • At the turn of the century, Louisa Leyton applies for a post as a cook under Monsieur Alex, a leading chef, in a fashionable house. She proves an apt pupil and successfully deputizes for him at a dinner at which an important personage is present. Her future seems to hold promise.

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