Executive Producer: Tony Wharmby
Producer: Jack Williams
Director: Christopher Hodson, John Gorrie, Tony Wharmby
Lillie/Emillie/Intro by Alistair Cooke
Good evening, I'm Alistair Cooke.
A few years ago a publisher friend of mine got the idea of putting out a book based on a series of taped conversations with Bing Crosby. And one day he called me, very excited. He said, I've got a tremendous title; it's going to be called ‘My Friends Call Me Bing.' I suggested to him that it contained four words too many, because in the entire world, there was only one Bing. Well, tonight we're starting a new series, which was done by the producing company that gave us Upstairs/Downstairs. It's a romantic, historical drama about the last thirty years or so of Victorian England and it's called simply Lillie. Now if anyone had put out a book a hundred years ago, even without the global publicity of the movies, television, and radio--people in London and Chicago and Scotland and Texas would have known exactly who it was about. This is because throughout the 1870s and the 1880s and until the turn of the century, there was only one Lillie. It was a name as magical and recognizable everywhere as, in our time, the name of Garbo.
She was Lily Langtry whose favors as they used to say in those days, were served by a king, at least three princes, innumerable peers, actors, musicians, writers, and financiers. Yet like all great courtesans, her origins were modest and intensely respectable. She was the daughter of a Church of England clergyman, in fact the Dean of Jersey--the island in the English Channel where she was born in 1853. Her father was one of those impeccable English clerics of upper-class education and very scant middle-class means.
His daughter was christened Emilie Charlotte Le Breton. (By the way Jersey has ancient connections with France, and is bilingual). Now she hated these given names and from childhood was called Lilly. She was the only girl among six brothers; and in the usual defensive way of a lone daughter battling a household of callow males, she became one of the boys, climbing rocks and riding horses, and handling boats--the whole tomboy routine. But in a scholarly household she had the advantage of her brother's tutors, and kept up with them, in fact sometimes ahead of them, with the classics, music, drawing, French, and German. We come in on her in 1868 when she was fifteen, by the Atlantic rollers that wash the West Coast of the island of Jersey.
Episode one, Lillie.
Episode number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
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