Anyway, about TOL… I wasn't thinking there should have been a Series 9; I just thought Series 8 needed that 10th episode to wrap up some loose ends. They certainly left the triangle between Samuel, Charlotte, and Samuel's new obnoxious American wife Caroline unresolved. (By the way, I'm also American, but not the obnoxious kind: no "Waldorf Salad" here!) Samuel seemed to be growing weary of Caroline's "holier than thou" personality and ambitions, and realizing that he really did have feelings for Charlotte, and the two of them seemed to be growing closer while Samuel and Caroline were growing apart.
And maybe it's just me being a sucker for happy endings (because reality sucks and doesn't always have happy endings), but I just couldn't see any reason why they made Elizabeth a widow again, having Daniel Fogarty die in a wreck at sea. If I correctly remember the message she received, it was said after the collision and sinking, they didn't think there were any survivors. That was left hanging as well as the Sam-Charlotte-Caroline triangle. And an Episode 10 could have resolved both of those. Daniel could have been found alive and adrift and brought home; Samuel could have divorced the obnoxious Caroline and remarried Charlotte; and we could have at least gotten a glimpse of James' son. (Happy endings for all: that would have been a good way to go out.)
Why no Episode 10?
I worked (Music Adviser) on the last series of the show and can offer some insights into this. The fact is that there was only just a Series 8. BBC Drama (Series and Serials) were very reluctant to commission the last series; they thought that the show had run its course. One problem was that the producer, Geraint Morris, was already thinking about his next commissioned show (King's Royal), and was also working on a new series that was going to showcase Jessica Bentham – The Heywood Files. The Heywood Files went all the way through the commissioning process (I was listed to write the music) before being shot down at the very last moment. At best, Geraint was phoning it in on The Onedin Line's last series, and frequently said so.
Series 8 was not a happy show. Geraint Morris and veteran director Gerry Blake had a simmering feud at best, fueled largely by Geraint's shameless nepotism and Welsh-centricity; by Series 8, the language of the control gallery was most emphatically Welsh, with the producer, half the directors, half the DA's (one was Geraint's nephew) and the Production Manager leaping into Celtic-language titters at every opportunity, to the snarling fury of all around them (and I write as a Gaelic speaker). Meanwhile, the script editor (Mervyn Haisman) was driving the show further and further into soap opera, to the horror of the standing cast. Merv the Scribe (as we called him, more or less affectionately) actually drafted an Episode 10 for Series 8, but it had so many insane plot twists and character implausibilities that it was put down long before it could be produced.
At the end of the very last dub of the very last show, just after Peter had intoned "I've got a son," Gerry Blake turned to me and the Sound Manager and said "Thank God that's over. If we tried to make another series of this thing, someone would get hurt." We then all went and got very, very drunk.
Bill Scanlan Murphy
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