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Program Title
The Duchess of Duke Street, I

Based On
Original material

Adapted By
John Hawkesworth, Jeremy Paul, D Butler, Jack Rosenthal, Bill Craig, Rosemary A Sisson, Ken Taylor, Julian Bond

Number of Episodes:

At the turn of the last century, Louisa Leyton is engaged as an assistant cook in the household of Lord Henry Norton. The young Louisa is ambitious--'I just want to be the best cook in England, that's all I want to be...' She sets out to do just that against all the odds. The series is based on the true story of Rosa Lewis, fabled proprietor of the Cavendish Hotel in Jermyn Street in Edwardian London.

Original broadcast date

Cast Characters
Gemma Jones Louisa Trotter
Christopher Cazenove Charlie Tyrrell
Victoria Plucknett Mary
John Cater Starr
Richard Vernon Major Smith-Barton
Lalla Ward Lotte Richards
Holly DeJong Violet
John Welsh Merriman
Mary Healey Mrs. Cochrane
Sammie Winmill Ethel
Anton Rodgers
Doreen Mantle Mrs. Catchpole
Elizabeth Bennett
Michael Culver Major Fairjean
George Pravda Monsieur Alex
Roger Hammond
Kate Lansbury
Reginald Marsh
Peter Cellier
June Brown Mrs. Leyton
Paul Curran
Ed Devereaux
Leigh Lawson Baron Paul Oppendorf
Angharad Rees
Robert Hardy
John Horsley
Barrie Cookson
James Laurenson
Alan MacNaughton
Thorley Walters
Christopher Biggins
Joanna David
Hubert Rees
Maureen O'Brien
Hilary Mason
Joan Benham
Derek Smith
Ronald Lacey
John Quayle
James Bree
Edna Dore
Sally Osborn
Margaretta Scott
Peter Graves

Executive Producer: Richard Beynon
Producer: John Hawkesworth
Director: Cyril Coke, Bill Bain, Raymond Menmuir, Simon Langton

The Duchess of Duke Street/Episode 1/Intro by Alistair Cooke

Good evening, I'm Alistair Cooke.

Tonight we begin something rather special: a series conceived and produced by John Hawkesworth who produced and guided Upstairs/Downstairs with such an iron hand, but a velvet touch.

John Hawkesworth is a man of many talents. He was born of an Army family, went to Paris as a young man, was and is a splendid watercolorist, went into theatre direction and business, and is a Master of Foxhounds. He also knows every nook and cranny of London and is an expert on Edwardian and Victorian London. And it's to that period that he returns in the series we start tonight.

It's called The Duchess of Duke Street, and is about a remarkable Cockney girl who wasn't a duchess and wasn't born on Duke Street. To three generations of Londoners she was known as Rosa Lewis. She started life very poor, left school at twelve, worked as an undermaid, a skivvy of all work for four ghastly years, then got into a fashionable house because her great ambition was to be the best cook in England. In time she came to buy and eventually cook vegetables for choosy people, and came to cook for all the great houses. Subsequently she bought herself a hotel, the Cavendish Hotel on Jermyn Street, just south of Piccadilly. She never lost a Cockney vowel or picked up an aitch. And she handled her whole crew, whether staff or guests, baronets or busboys, like a Pirate King.

Now this is a vivid carbon copy of her life. Of course it's a work of fiction. Let's just say that any similarity between Rosa Lewis and Louisa Leyton is entirely accidental--and astonishingly close.

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