The Duchess of Duke Street (1976–1977): Season 1, Episode 11 - No Letters, No Lawyers - full transcript

When Louisa expels an arrogant, complaining guest she doesn't quite know what she has let herself in for. The man's uncle is the publisher of the Herald and having heard rumors of wild parties and gambling at the Bentinck, decides to assign a reporter to write an expose on the establishment. The reporter, Culliford, gets a job at the Bentinck and his story causes a good deal of trouble for Louisa when the owners of the property advise that as she is in violation of a morals clause in her lease which they now wish to cancel. strangely however, the wily Culliford also proves to be her savior.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
STARR: Yes, sir, your tickets
will be ready at 5:00.

Mr. DeWitt?
Oh, yes, young lady.

He's over there
by the fireplace.

Fair run off my feet
this morning.

11:00 AM.
Time for refreshment.

Correct, Fred?


You'll hold
the fort, Major?

Against anyone
in particular?

Mrs. Trotter's
expecting her lawyer,

Sir Esmond Manning.

You're to show him
straight in.

Go on.

Go on.

Oh, morning,
Constable Roach.

Calling to see
Mrs. Trotter?

Yes, Mr. Starr.

She was anxious
about that waif

she found hanging about
outside the kitchen.

Oh, yeah.
Poor little nipper.

Starving, he was.

Half inside
the window,

all the goodness

out of
Mrs. Cochrane's soup.

Yeah. Seems he
wasn't lost at all.

He'd run away from home.

Walked all the way
from Camberwell.

Anyway, I thought
Mrs. T. would like to know

he's been safe returned
to the bosom of his family.

She will be.

So will he, even if it
does mean a good hiding.

Parky weather, this,
for sleeping out...

And for walking
a beat.

I'm, uh, studying
my boots, Mr. Starr.

14 pounds plus
4 pounds 8 is...

Well, let's say
18 pounds or so.

Come in.

Oh, Merriman.
I'm making out the bill

for Mr. Buckhurst.

8 bottles of Claret
down to him.

You've only
charged for 6.

Oh, he returned 2, ma'am.

He said one was corked

and declared the other
to be not what he'd ordered.

Said it was
an inferior Claret

of a different vintage.

It's not like you

to make a mistake
like that.

I didn't, ma'am. He said
I'd switched labels.

He what?


Who does Mr. Nigel
bleedin' Buckhurst

think he is?

Members of the staff

have opinions
on the subject.

Mary was saying
he's been difficult.

The likes of him
we can do without.

We shall in future.

What happened
to the Claret?

Since the bottles
had been opened,

I gave them
to Mrs. Cochrane.

Vintage Claret
for cooking?

Yes, ma'am.
I know what you want.

Here you are.

Take his bill
up to him.

Yes, ma'am.

Sir Esmond is here.

Oh, thank you,

My apologies
for being late, Louisa.

Some business
in Chancery

took longer
than I thought.

That's all right.

Nice of you
to pop round.

You'll take a glass?

Ah, felicitous thought.
Thank you.

Oh, Major, be a love.

Say to Starr we're
not to be disturbed,

not for any reason.

Oh, yes. Of course,
of course.

Now, what's
all this about?

Your note contained
a tone of urgency

and alarm.

Well, I had a letter
this morning

from, uh, Bricelow, Fit...

Oh, Firbank, Bricelow
and Firbank.

That's right.

Solicitors for people
who own the Bentinck.

The lessors. And what's
all the trouble?

I don't know.

Can't make head
nor tail of it.

Something to do
with the lease.

Oh, Mr. Merriman!

She's not to be disturbed,
not for any reason.

She's with Sir Esmond.

Oh, yes, but I don't
know about that.

I really don't know
about that.

It's Mr. Buckhurst.

He's demanded to
see Mrs. Trotter


sent me down
to fetch her.

Nobody fetches
Mrs. Trotter...not ever.

Oh, I said as much.

He became abusive,
very abusive.

If he wants to see her,
he can come down,

and if she's free,
she'll see him.

Only she isn't,
so she won't.

Now, just you go back up
and tell him that.

They want to
renegotiate the lease

of the hotel.

It doesn't say that.

frequently avoid

saying what they mean.

That is why so often

another has to be
engaged to translate.

The arrangement
allows us to live

in modest comfort.

You lot got it nicely
sorted out

among yourselves,
haven't you?

Are you sure
that's what it says?

between the lines.

Having granted you
a long lease

on a decrepit hotel,

their clients feel
hard done by

that the Bentinck,
now so prosperous,

return so little

in ground rent.

Well, they can feel
what they like.

It's my blood and sweat's
made the Bentinck what it is,

and the lease still has
50 years to run.

53, to be precise,
if you don't break it,

and there's just
the slightest suggestion

that you may have
done so.


By allowing gaming
parties to go on

until all hours
of the morning,

and doubtless
they have in mind

other activities

they choose not to
commit to paper.

If they're saying

I allow street girls
to use this place...

no, they're not.
The letter simply refers

to that stipulation
in the lease

which requires that

"The aforementioned
premises shall be used

"Only and solely for
the purposes specified

"And not for any purpose
which may be deemed

"To be of an illegal,

or otherwise
disreputable nature."

Blooming cheek.

What does it matter
to them

as long as I pay
the ground rent regular?

Were you to increase it,
I've no doubt

they would be willing
to delete the clause

under a new arrangement.

Well, I can't ask me guests
to sing hymns after supper,

pack them off to bed
9:00 sharp.

Well, what should I do?

Nothing. There really
is no question

of the Bentinck Hotel

being held in
public disrepute.

No. I shall write
to these people

informing them, in terms

of the most exquisite
legal courtesy,

that having tried it on,

we find their gambit
doesn't fit.

Oh, thanks.

That's a great weight
off me mind.

BUCKHURST: I don't give a damn
what your instructions are!

Will you get out of my way,
you old fool?

I don't propose
to be kept waiting here.

MAJOR: I'm sorry, sir.
Mrs. Trotter's engaged.

Will you get out
of the way?

Sorry. You can't
just go barging in.

What seems to be
the trouble,

Mr. Buckhurst?

Well, where shall
I begin?

Perhaps with
the dilatory

and discourteous

of these doddering
pensioners you employ

or the apparent inability
of the kitchen staff

to supply a simple snack
without 2 hours' notice.

It was gone midnight, sir.

I explained the kitchen staff
had gone to bed.

That will do, Merriman.

The gentleman hasn't
finished yet.

Not by a long chalk.

I haven't even started
on the general surliness

and impertinence
of the hall porter,

who took 10 minutes to
fetch me an evening paper

and did it
with damned ill grace.

Starr had 4 suitcases

and a cabin trunk
to bring down.

They were for
the Southampton boat train.

You haven't
mentioned your room yet.

There must have been
something wrong

with that.

As it happens,
I quite clearly asked

to be moved
to a larger one.

There was none available,
Mr. Buckhurst.

That's a damned lie.

The suite on
the second floor

has been vacant
since I arrived.

It would have
suited me excellently.

That room is permanently
reserved for...

For a regular patron.

Oh, I'm surprised
such a creature exists

or that anyone would wish
to stay here twice.

And I'm surprised

you've stayed
as long as you have.

If you'll just
settle your bill.

I have no intention

of paying such
an exorbitant sum

for such
inadequate service.

Very well, then.

Since you feel you've
been overcharged...

Where's your bill?

I see. Well.

Since you've
torn it in half,

I'll only
charge you half.

Hand over 10 pounds,
9 shillings,

and 4 pence,

and then clear off
out of my hotel!

Now there's
an admission!

An admission of what?

That you deliberately
tried to overcharge me!

You won't get
a penny out of me,

and that's the price
for cheating your guests.

Starr, take them bags

Madam, I just
brought them down.

Take them
back upstairs!

You lock them
in Mr. Buckhurst's room!

They stay there
until he pays his bill...

in full.

Come back
with my cases!

STARR: I have
my instructions.

Oh, damn
your instructions!

And you mind
your bleedin' language!

Mrs. Trotter:
I'll do it!

There's plenty more

that came from!

CONSTABLE: Now, then,
now, then, what's all this?

Very nice, Culliford.
Very neat.

on the byline.

I must say
it reads as though

you had to earn it.

Praise from
the competition

is especially

and I did earn it.

10 days' residence
in an East End slum

some appreciation

beyond that shown
by the bedbugs.

Millie, 2 scotches
here, please.

A small one for me.

I've got to get back
to the office.

Harmsworth keeping
you hard at it?

No, not particularly.

No, I've just been down
to Bow Street.

There was this amusing
little case

I want to write up.

A Mr. Nigel Buckhurst

was fined for causing
a disturbance

at the Bentinck Hotel
and assaulting a policeman.

Small stuff for
the "Mirror,"

I should
have thought.

Oh, but amusing.

The woman who runs the
Bentinck's a real character.

Who, Louisa Trotter?

Oh, you've
heard of her?

most people have.

She was as good as
a music-hall turn.

Even brought a smile

to the beak's
thin lips.

Nice little story.

Well, I promise to laugh
when I read it.

Oh, you won't read about
it in the "Banner."

Why not?

Well, the accused,
this fellow Buckhurst,

he's your, uh...
Publisher's nephew.

Come in.

Oh, come in,
Mr. Buckhurst.

Good morning,
Mr. Lawrie.



Oh, you would
say so, Nigel?

You would say that
this is a good morning?

I have some matters
to attend to

in the case room.

If you'll excuse me
for a few minutes,

Mr. Bulstrode.

I imagine that you think
that I've summoned you here

to reprimand you over
this unfortunate business.

I don't expect you

to be too pleased
about it, uncle.

Oh, too pleased?
Oh, too pleased.

Oh, well,
now let us see

if I should be pleased
in any degree whatsoever.


Now, should I feel
pleased that my nephew

has been convicted
of brawling

like a drunken stevedore

and that his guilt
was established in a court

normally reserved
for the transgressions

of quarreling costermongers
and common prostitutes?


Or perhaps my pleasure
should derive

from the knowledge that,
this very moment,

your mother, my sister,

is prostrate with shame
and humiliations

and that my name,
my very own name,

Gerald Bulstrode,

principal proprietor
of the "Morning Banner,"

Is associated
in this squalid matter

as uncle of the accused,

and in Harmsworth's
press at that!

MARY: Ooh,
I like that bit

where they say
how Fred went for him.

Yeah, well,
he did, now.

Ooh, and there's
another bit

that sounds a real laugh.

I didn't say that,
did I?

Sounds as though you
quite enjoyed yourself.

Yeah, well, maybe
I did just a bit

at the time.

Still, didn't think

it would all finish
up in the papers.

The staff
are all very proud

of the way
you handled yourself.

Yeah, well,
I just got annoyed

at the way
his lawyer

was going on at me...

as though it was me

that knocked the
bobby's helmet off.

Still, maybe I should
have kept me mouth shut.

Don't do
the hotel no good

to get mentioned
in the papers.

Oh, I don't know.

They say that...
what do you call it?

Publicity is good
for business.

Yeah, not our sort
of business, Mary.

Our guests
like their hotels

to be discreet.

Might attract
the wrong sort.

Yeah, like
Mr. Nigel Buckhurst.


Why do you say that?

Well, he had
some funny ideas.

Goodness knows
where he got them.

What happened?

Come on.
Out with it.

Well, he got a bit
familiar with me.

I told him
to leave off,

and he said not
to come the innocent

because he'd been told
what kind of place this was.

You should have reported
that to me straightaway!

I didn't like
to bother you,

what with the hotel
being full

and everybody
run off their feet.

I told him off
proper, I did.

Quite right, Mary.
Quite right.

I'd have sent him

with a flea
in his ear.

You got
your chance in court,

didn't you, ma'am?

Yeah. Yeah,
I suppose I did.

No, what
really got me

was his saying that
the service was bad.

Well, we are
a bit pushed.

Well, that's a reason.
It's not an excuse.

Maybe we have fallen

our usual standards,

what with the place
being so full

and Starr twisting
his ankle like that.

You know, I reckon we
could use some extra help

over the next few weeks.

Just passed your nephew

looking somewhat

Oh, it does him good

to get a dressing-down

It was no more than
a youthful peccadillo,

you know.

You can't put
an old head

on young shoulders,

though now
I've heard

his side
of the story,

it does seem

he did have
some provocation.

What do you know
of this place

in Duke Street, hmm?

The Bentinck?
Not much.

I attended a private
dinner party there once

about a year ago.

You surprise me,

It hardly sounds
the sort of place

I'd expect you
to frequent.

One dinner party

hardly qualifies me
as an habitue.

It seemed to me

to be a well-run

The meal was excellent.

Oh, I have no doubt,
patronized as it is

by all the fashionable

By all accounts,
the place

is somewhat demimondaine
in character.

By all accounts?

Oh, my nephew
has tales to tell

of wild,
drunken parties

and gaming
until all hours.

Indeed, it would
appear to be

a little better

than a common house
of assignation.

Apparently, one
female on the staff

quite blatantly tried
to proposition him.

Now, this woman
who runs the place.

Louisa Trotter, Mrs.

A rough diamond
by the sound of it.

What do you know
about her?

She doesn't
like journalists.

What makes you
say that?

She told me so
to my face

when we were introduced.

She regards
the fourth estate

as being a pack
of gossipmongers.

Well, Mrs. Trotter
is very free

with her opinions.

Does her

arise from fear?

I didn't form
the impression

that she was afraid
of much.

What would she fear?

Oh, the integrity
and purpose

and the proper

of the press

and its capacity

for exposing
those matters

that others would
have concealed.

No. I think she just
doesn't like journalists.

Ah. Well,
as you are aware,

it is
my stated position

not to interfere

in the editorial policy
of this newspaper.

that is your province,

and it will remain so

while I'm the
principal proprietor.

Your attitude
is much appreciated,

Mr. Bulstrode.

No, no. I have
every faith

in your judgment,

You take the decisions,

and you accept
the responsibility.

Nevertheless, I might
take it upon myself

to venture
an opinion occasionally

or to make
such suggestions

as could be
considered useful.

And you have
a suggestion.

What's wrong with
that one, then?

He's done this sort
of work before.

The certain cast
to his features, madam.

wouldn't you say?

Definitely shifty.

I'd say
I didn't notice.

Oh, Fred did.

Dogs are notoriously good
judges of human nature.

That's the fourth
the agency sent.

You ain't fancied
any of them.

I'm only after
an underporter

to help me till your
ankle sorts itself.

My physician is not
optimistic, Mrs. Trotter.

Well, I can't
waste any more time

interviewing people.

You find someone
Fred wags his tail at

and let me know,
but be quick about it.

High living
at the Bentinck?

Sounds more like

something for
the gossip column.

No. It's right up
your street.

Suggestion came
from Mr. Bulstrode.

He's got his eye
on you, Culliford.

You might do yourself
some good there.

That apart,
our principal proprietor

has a very genuine nose
for what sells newspapers.

Do you think
this would?

One of the great

Phineas T. Barnum
by name,

once said that nobody
ever lost any money

by underestimating
public taste.

There's a lesson
for all of us

in that profundity.

Eludes me.

No newspaper ever lost
circulation by catering

for the prejudices
of its readers.

You're aware, of course,
who our readers are?

Anyone with
a halfpenny.

The new literates,

the working people
of this land,

now beginning to flex
their political muscles.

The "Banner" will assist
in that exercise,

and with 29 labor party
members elected last year,

there clearly is a horse
worth the riding.

Oh, all right.

I can see it would
make a nice contrast

with my piece on
the East End slums.

Mr. Bulstrode's
thoughts exactly.

You're aware, of course,
that he has certain...

at the moment.

Harmsworth's elevation
to the peerage

has given rise
to certain hopes.

Indeed, he's just
purchased a modest estate

near the village
of Beltham

in the expectation
that they'll be realized.

I had heard.

Of course you have.

I wouldn't be imparting
these confidences

were they not already
common knowledge.

Now, you'll agree
that, uh...

While Lord Northcliffe
has a certain ring to it,

Lord Beltham is not
without it's euphony.

The proprietor
and guiding spirit

of a crusading newspaper,

dedicated to
exposing the injustices

of our society,

revealing without mercy
the moral canker

rotting the fabric and...

This, that,
and the other.

Such a man must
surely find his reward

in the honours list.

Do you understand?


I shall book into
the Bentinck tomorrow.

That you will not.

Apart from
the unlikelihood

of your obtaining

at the height
of the season,

Mrs. Trotter
is particular

about whom she accommodates.

And I should tell you

that if she even
suspects you

of being guilty
of journalism,

you won't get a foot
past the front door.

Oh, well, in that case,

I shall use
the servants entrance.

You met him
in a pub?

Yes, madam...the George,
round the corner.

He comes
highly recommended.

By who?


Oh, I thought
for a moment

you was
going to say Fred.

The animal has indicated
his approval, yes, madam,

but I'm sure
you'll find Jenkins

a most civil young man

and very neat
about his person.

True, his previous

has been in
the license trade...

all right. All right.
Send him in.

Now, then,
old fellow,

you had your
supper yet, eh?

I'll bet the scraps
are something special

in a place like this.

Roast duck and caviar,
I shouldn't wonder.

Mrs. Trotter will
see you now, Jenkins.

Ta, Mr. Starr.

I'm very grateful to you
for fixing up this, uh...

Hurry up, lad.
Look smartish.

An asset, Fred.

An asset.

Your previous

seems to think
highly of you.

Why did you
leave him?

Oh, to better
myself, mum.

I quite enjoyed
working in the pub,

but I just didn't want
to stay a potman

all my life.

I thought I'd like
to make my way

in the hotel trade,

and as how I hear it,

the Bentinck is
the place to learn.

Well, you look
sharp enough.

You've got
a smooth tongue.

It'd be long hours
and not regular.

You'll have to
turn your hand

to whatever
comes up...

in the kitchen,

running errands,

seeing the guests'
shoes are polished.

I can't pay much,
not for a temporary.

MAJOR: Oh, and, Starr,

young Mr. Forbes-Maltby

is expecting a guest
for supper tonight.

You're to show her
straight up to his rooms.

Straight up,

What name
shall she give?

Any name she fancies.
It won't be her real one.

None of your business.

Sorry, Major.
I just thought

that if Mr. Starr
wasn't here,

I might have to
announce her.

You won't.

I don't know
what I've done,

but he's taken
against me.

That's for sure.

He's been snapping
at me

since the day
I arrived.

Oh, he can be a funny
old cove at times.

Don't let it worry you.
You're doing very well.

Thanks, Mr. Starr.

I enjoy
working here.

Mr. Starr,

I thought Mrs. Trotter
was strict

about letting
the street girls in.

Oh, she is,
only them's tarts.

This one's a lady.

She just doesn't want
her husband upset.

Know what I mean?

It's melon glace to start,
consomme de vollaille.

Oh, yeah, and he specially
asked for steak tartare.

Ooh, how can he eat
raw meat?

I know. You don't
have to cook it.

You just have
to kill it.

If you ask me,
he's heard somewhere

it restores
the declining powers.

Oh, sorry
to interrupt,

Mrs. Trotter.

I just wondered

if you'd like a fire
in your room.

It's gone
a bit chill.

Oh. Yes, it has.
Light one, just in case.

Yes, mum.

How is Jenkins
getting on, then?

Oh, fine, fine.

He seems to be
everywhere at once,

and always willing
to lend a hand.

Really keen
on the hotel business...

always asking questions.

And the staff
like him...

well, all except
the major.

Oh, yeah?
Why is that?

If you ask me,
I think he thinks

that Jenkins is
giving him a showing up.

Or maybe...

I don't suppose
Jenkins meant any harm,

but he was cleaning
the boots yesterday,

and the major walked in
and caught him whistling.

There's no harm
in being cheerful.

He was whistling

"Here Comes
the Galloping Major."

Oh! Ha ha ha!

STARR: Major, could I
have a word with you?

You couldn't expect
much better.

Is that so?

Oh, Major,
I wonder if...

MAJOR: Ah, yes.

Ahem. Takes you
a long time

to lay a fire,
doesn't it?

Oh. Be with you
directly, Major.

What's this here?
Private party?

MAJOR: I was just
having a word with Jenkins.

You ain't had
a night off

since you've
been here, have you?

I can't say
I've noticed.

Time just seems
to fly.

all work, no play?

When you
finished that,

rest of
the evening's yours.

Thanks, Mrs. Trotter.
If I get a move on,

I might just be in time

for the last showing
at the bioscope.

Bung this in the post
on the way out,

would you?

I've never seen
anything like it.

More like a battleground
than a dock strike.

7,000 troops on
the streets of Belfast,

bottles, stones,

and God knows
what else flying.

Good copy, huh?

I see you managed
to get an interview

with Big Jim Larkin.

Wasn't easy.
Millie, 2 here, please.

Ha ha ha!

what's this here

about you looking
for an honest job?

I don't know.
What have you heard?

The landlord tells me

he gave you
a reference as a barman.

Some kind of joke?

Yeah, it's some
kind of a joke.

Sorry, Millie.
How much is that?

Thanks very much.

Have one yourself.

Where the hell
have you been?

I've been looking
all over for you.

You gave Jenkins
the evening off.

I know I did.

What the hell has it
got to do with you?

So I followed him.
He's up to no good.

I spotted him
for a wrong one

the moment
I set eyes on him,

and I was right.

Why? What's he done?

You might well ask.

I am bleedin' asking.

I followed him,
don't you see?

And it wasn't easy.

he took a bus

as far
as the Aldwych.

Then he alighted

and completed his
journey on foot.


I should say
that since he walks

with a fairly
swift stride,

I was really
quite puffed

by the time he got
to his destination.

Major, what exactly
did Jenkins do?

He went into
a public house.

Well, it isn't a crime
to go into a pub.

Well, no,

but it's suspicious,
isn't it?

I mean, there are
plenty of pubs

around here.

Why should he
go all the way

to Fleet Street?

This pub, was it
called The Vineyard?

Um...why, yes.
I believe it was.

Oh, you silly old...

He worked there
at one time.

Most likely went back
to meet one of his mates.


Now, look here, Major.

You and me's going
to have a few words.

I know you
don't like Jenkins,

but he works hard,

he gets on well
with everyone else,

and I won't have you
spying on my staff

and then coming back to me

with tales of doings
that don't concern you.

Is that understood?

Yes. Understood.

Then we'll
say no more about it.

I'll have
no more of it.

But, Mrs. Trotter,
my dear,

I understand
men's characters...

commanded them.

So does Starr's dog,

and I'm a pretty good
judge meself.

Now, that's the last
word's been said.


Excuse me, mum.

Mr. Merriman says
to tell you that

the new lot from
the wine merchant's

in their bins.

He's waiting
in the cellar

to go over
the stock list

when you're ready.

I'll be right down.

Oh, um...

How did you enjoy
the bioscope last night?

Oh, I didn't go,
Mrs. Trotter.

Well, I...

I rather fancied seeing it
in the company of someone...

young lady I know
serves behind the bar

in the place
I used to work.

The Vineyard?

Uh, yes, that's right.

Her and me were walking
out together at one time.

I knew it was
her night off,

so I went along to see

if she'd fancy going
to see it with me.

But she didn't.

Well, no.
We got talking,

and by the time
we were finished,

it was too late.

It was quite
the serious talk

we had, Mrs. Trotter.

Could you spare me
a few minutes?

Yeah, yeah.
Of course. Come in.

Shut the door.

What is it, then?


I popped the question,
and she said yes.

you cheeky devil!


Oh, well, um...

Yes, I was wondering
how to tell you.

Well, it is a bit
of a problem.

I mean,

I know your job's
only temporary,

but even
if it wasn't,

I couldn't take on
a married couple.

Oh, I understand that,
Mrs. Trotter,

but I've...we've been offered
a position up north.

A little pub, it is.
It's for marrieds.

Only trouble is,
I'd have to take it up

by next Wednesday
at the latest.

Oh, don't worry
about that.

Don't worry
about working out

your week's notice.

I'll pay you
up to Friday,

a little bit extra.

You can go
when you like.

want to be off.

Thanks, Mrs. Trotter.

What's your
intended's name?


Same again, ducks.

Here you are.

Keep the change,

Cor! Mr. Culliford!

It was meant
for you.

"In Duke Street, that discreet
and fashionable thoroughfare,

"is to be found
the equally discreet

"and fashionable
Bentinck Hotel,

"and with good reason.

Discretion is its main
stock in trade."

Nice, Culliford.
Very nice.

"The Bentinck
is a private hotel...

"A very private hotel

"whose proprietress,
Mrs. Louisa Trotter,

"guards its clients
and their activities

"from the ever-curious gaze
of the outside world

with the zeal of a tigress
protecting its cubs."

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

"Here, in this temple
of wealth and privilege,

"the rich may
disport themselves,

"secure in the knowledge
that their indiscretions

"will go no further
than its elegant salons.

"Here, they may game from sunset
to sunrise if they wish

"or meet with the ladies
of their choice

in amorous dalliance."

Sounds like
I'm running

a bleedin'

Well, Mrs. Trotter,
I can assure you

that no newspaper person

has sneaked through
these portals

while I've been on duty.

Fred would have sniffed
him out immediately.

I'm not saying
one got inside.

I'm asking
which of you

has been
talking outside!

I am quite sure
a member of the staff

wouldn't have done
a thing like that.

Where'd he get
all that from, then?

And there's
lots more.

There's no names
right enough,

but you can tell

who he's
talking about.

Perhaps one
of the guests told him.

We don't have
that kind of guest.

David Culliford...

I'll knock his
bleedin' block off!

MAN: You
cannot go in


I didn't come here
to make an appointment!

Get out
of the way, boy!

Listen, madam,
you cannot go in!

I'm sorry, sir...

do you run
this scandal sheet?

I am the editor
of the "Morning Banner,"

Mrs. Trotter,
if that's what you mean.

In that case...
hang on a mo.

I've seen you

My name's Lawrie.

I had the pleasure
of meeting you

about a year ago.

Oh, yeah,
I remember.

Well, it won't
be a pleasure

meeting me again!

What do you mean
by publishing

these lies
about my hotel?

I am confident
that the banner

has printed
only the truth.

Don't tell me
what's true

and what isn't.

Your Mr. Culliford's

never been inside
its walls,

from what
I can make out.

The journalist
in question is noted

for the accuracy
of his reporting.

Oh, is he now?

you get him in here.

I'll give him
a few home truths.

I'm afraid that's quite
out of the question,

Mrs. Trotter.

Apart from anything else,

Mr. Culliford is not
in the building.

In that case,

I'll wait here
until he returns.

Mrs. Trotter, I cannot
possibly allow you

to wait in my office.

Well, I'm not budging
until I see him.

So what you
going to do?

Have me carried
down the stairs

and screaming?


Not without

Photographic session,
Mr. Bulstrode.

May I present
Mrs. Louisa Trotter

of the Bentinck Hotel?

Our proprietor,
Mr. Bulstrode.


I don't quite

Mrs. Trotter declines
to leave my office

until she's spoken
to Culliford.

I, in turn, decline
to allow the interview.

So you're taking
her photograph?

It will enhance
the page

on which the next article

concerning the Bentinck
is printed.

Indeed, Mrs. Trotter has
kindly offered our readers

the spectacle
of her being carried

struggling from the room
by 2 commissionaires

who will be summoned

as soon as the camera
is prepared.

Oh, an excellent notion,
Mr. Lawrie.

Oh, yes.
Oh, yes, yes, yes.

Oh, yes, and I will
write the caption

for this myself.

You're not taking
my bleedin' picture.

Well, I scarcely see how
you can prevent us,

Mrs. Trotter...

except, of course,
by leaving.

You call
yourselves men!

Good day, Mrs. Trotter.

Ha ha ha!

Mrs. Trotter.

You say one word...
Just one word!

As for being
a judge of character,

you ought to have
that bleedin' mongrel

put down!

My dear, the impulse
was understandable,

but to call round
to see them...

worse, physically
to assault one of them...

Still, I suppose
it could be presented

as innocence outraged.

It may not prejudice
our case too badly.

Case. What case?

Well, you can't possibly
let matters rest.

The damage done
by that article

must be enormous.

Well, I might lose
some custom,

attract some
I don't want,

but the Bentinck's

will recover.

You may not
be here to see it.

Louisa, you must proceed
against this newspaper

for libel.

Oh, please.

No lawyers,
no letters.

It need never
go to court.

A simple printed apology
and retraction

would suffice.

Do you think that
they'd wear it?

Well, since you appear

to have left the editor
and proprietor uninjured,

it is just possible.

Oh, them two.

That Lawrie's
a crafty one.

As for Bulstrode,

he likes to think
he's gentry.

You can smell
the newness

of his money.

Possibly true,
but certainly irrelevant.

If they decline
to publish a retraction,

then you must proceed
to litigation.

Oh, no.

I'd rather forget
it ever happened.

Louisa, answer me
very carefully.

Is there any substance
in Culliford's article?

Well, it's true,
and it ain't.

It's more
the way it's put.

There's that bit

that obviously refers
to young Forbes-Maltby,

but he's written it like
the girl's some tart.

We cannot produce

to refute
the allegation?

Oh, God, no. There'd
be a divorce.

Anyway, I told you,

I'm not going near
no court.

I'm afraid you have
no alternative.

A note of hand

was delivered
to my office today

requesting me
to call round

to see Firbank,
Bricelow and Firbank.

About the lease?

Mmm. I spoke
to the senior partner.

It's no longer
a simple matter

of wanting to increase
the ground rent.

The lessors wish to see
the lease terminated

as soon as possible.

They object to having
their premises used as a...

House of ill fame.

They can't do that,
can they?

Just because
some gossipmonger...

if we allow this report
to go unchallenged,

it will be taken
as an admission

that there is truth
in the allegation.

And she'd lose
the hotel?

Sir Esmond
seemed to think so.

He said she wouldn't
have a leg to stand on

if they said
she'd broken the lease.

I'd like to
break Jenkins'...

Culliford's neck.

"This being so,

"unless a full
and agreed retraction

"is published and given
equal prominence,

"and unless
compensation is offered

"for the damage
sustained by my client,

"she will have
no alternative

"but to seek
a writ for libel

your newspaper

and all others connected
with this matter."

Manning. The lady
can afford the best.

We can afford better.

You intend to
contest the action.

That is for
the board to decide.

I've just been reading

young Culliford's

Excellent stuff.


And you are confident
as to its accuracy.

As I told
Mrs. Trotter,

I believe we publish
the truth.

In the public
interest, yes?


Well, be assured

I shall
stand behind you.

Since the suggestion
for the article

was your own,

I should have thought
that, uh, beside me

was a more
appropriate position.

I do recall having made
several suggestions,

and I cannot quarrel
with the fact that you

found one worthy
of your attention,

but the manner
of its execution

is your responsibility,

and you're aware
of my feelings

on the subject

of editorial

Am I to understand,
Mr. Bulstrode,

that this threatened
libel action

is solely my affair?

Well, you appreciate

I cannot
become involved.

Wrong assumptions
might be made

about why the piece
was published.

Your nephew.

You take my point

Mr. Lawrie.

Taverns of this street
have been the ruination

of many
a good journalist...

And not a few bad ones.

They are, however,
the only places

where I can be certain
of finding my staff.

You may purchase for me
a glass of seltzer.

Ah, yes, of course.

Millie, a glass
of seltzer here,


You looking for me?

Yes. I thought we would
have our talk here

rather than my office

since our conversation

will be informal
and unofficial,

and I intend,
if need be,

to deny that
it ever took place.

you are, duck.

Oh, ta.

This Bentinck business...

you are quite certain
of your facts?

I have full notes
of who's been there,

when, and for
what purpose.

Our legal advisers
tend to think the last

somewhat speculative.

Ugh. Disgusting stuff.

In fact, they think
this libel action

might well succeed,

and that could have
unfortunate consequences.

That's only a threat
at the moment.

You're not going to
print a retraction,

are you?

Mr. Bulstrode
has set his face

firmly against it.

We must, therefore,
persuade Mrs. Trotter

to drop her action

or destroy her character
to such an extent

that the action
will fail.

A woman of that sort
must have a past.

You would do well
to find out

what that past is.

I doubt if there's
much to find out.

You must have overheard
servants' gossip

at the Bentinck.

worth remembering.

I seem to detect a certain
lack of enthusiasm.

Why go on
persecuting her?

To prevent her
from persecuting us.

Let me explain some
of the facts of life,

starting with
the laws of libel.

The defendants
in this action

will be
yourself as author,

myself as editor,

and the "Banner" as
printers and publishers.

It will have
struck you immediately

that the first two
are individuals,

while the third
is an organization.

The proprietors
would stand by us.

They'd have little choice,
but only up to a point,

and if the case
went against us...

Well, I've had
some intimation

where that point
would lie.

It could have
a calamitous effect

on your career.

Are you saying
I'd be finished

in newspapers?


You might get
a job selling them.

Now, where do we start
with Louisa Trotter?


she had a house at
Eaton Terrace once.

There might be
something in that.

How could he
have found out?

Nobody knows
except me and Charlie.

There were others,

and others beyond them

that might have put
2 and 2 together.

A careless word...

In any case,

the birth is recorded
at somerset house,

so there's
no denying it,

and it will be
natural to wonder

why the child is
never seen with you.

These newspaper chappies

have a way
of finding out things.

all right, ma'am?

No, Mary.
Everything's all wrong.

Somehow or other,

the newspaper's
found out

about the baby.

Their lawyer's been
dropping heavy hints

to Sir Esmond.

Oh, my God.

But how?

They don't know...
I mean,

they haven't found out
that she's...

Lord Haslemere's

No, not unless
someone tells them.

Oh, God. No lawyers,
no letters,

and kiss
me baby's bottom.

Hello, Culliford.

We thought
you'd deserted us.

In fact, we thought
you'd signed the pledge.

I've just been
out of town

for a few days.

Someone's been
asking after you...

an old codger.

He's been
sitting over there

for the past 5 nights.

Thanks, Nelson.


Evening, Major.


Ah, it's you,


Jenkins, Culliford,
whatever your name is.

You are a rogue,
a scoundrel.

If I were a younger man,
I'd thrash you.

Tied to the wheel
of a gun carriage?

Is that all
you've come to say?


Have come to appeal
to any decent feelings

you might have left.

You have injured
a fine woman,

caused her
great distress.

She hasn't been sleeping
for nights,

and now, it seems,
she is to lose her hotel.

Mrs. Trotter's going
to lose the Bentinck?

Something to do
with the lease,

and all because
of your lying innuendoes.

Your actions
are beneath contempt.

Probably, Major,

and there's worse
to come.

I've just come back
from Great Yarmouth.

I met Mr. Trotter...

Mr. Augustus

He's spoken to Gussie?

Well, that's the fat
in the fire, all right!

One bottle of brandy,

and my dear husband
will talk for a week,

throw in a song
for good measure.

He declined to reveal

what it was that
Mr. Trotter told him,

but he might tell you.

I prevailed upon him
to return with me.

Culliford's here?

I formed the impression

that he was
quite anxious to come.

Mrs. Trotter
will see you.

You know the way.

I've given Fred
strict instructions

to have his ankle
on the way out.

I suppose you're
proud of yourself.

Pride doesn't
come into it, Mrs. Trotter.

I do my job
as best I can,

and I think
it's worth doing.

Call it a job?

There's girls
on the street outside

got jobs
more worth doing.

That's some kind
of job that is,

worming your way
in here with lies,

and then printing
more lies

in your rotten

I reported
what I saw.

You reported what
you wanted to see.

Mrs. Trotter, some time ago,
I wrote an article

about what it was like
to live in an East End slum...

the hunger,
the hopelessness, the squalor,

the sheer brutality
of survival.

Then I come
to a place like this,

where the worst tragedy
that can occur

is a souffle going flat.

Oh, God.

Heard all that before,
or something like it.

Well, maybe it was
your conscience speaking.

You and I come
from the same background.

You know what
I'm talking about.

Oh, I know, all right.

I know better than you,
most like,

but I can't change
the world single-handed.

I wouldn't want to.

What's the harm
in giving a few people

a bit of fun
and pleasure?

Perhaps the girls
on the street

might give
that same answer.

Don't hit me again,
Mrs. Trotter.

We have an important
matter to discuss,

you and I.

Like my daughter?

Among other things.

What did Gussie
tell you?

Well, he was
quite forthcoming.

You mean he was drunk?

Aye, he was drunk
and bitter, Mrs. Trotter.

Seems to think

you've treated him
rather badly.

But he's going to be sober
in the witness-box.

Now, his testimony
will do your character

no good at all.

Look, Mrs. Trotter,
if you drop this action,

I have reason to believe
that my employers

are prepared to forget
the whole thing.

If I drop this action,

I lose the lease
on my hotel.

Couldn't you just say
you got it all wrong,

you made a mistake?

I won't ask for damages
if you printed that.

The "Banner"
would look foolish,

and I'd lose my job.

What about my child?
What about my hotel?

You have a difficult decision
to make, Mrs. Trotter.

When I said your husband
was forthcoming,

I meant just that.

Now, he instanced...

Several things that...

Here you are,
Mr. Culliford.


Morning, Mary.

Morning, mum.
I was wondering

if should I pop down
to Covent Garden

for some globe

The ones
we've been sent...

Yeah, yeah,
whatever you think.

You look as if

you haven't
slept a wink.

I haven't.

Culliford was here
last night.

MARY: The major
was saying.

Here, Major.
When you're done,

drop that round to
Sir Esmond Manning's office.

I'm going to ask him
to drop the lawsuit.


He's found out about...

Someone who mustn't
become mixed up in this,

no matter what happens.

I asked him
to keep it to himself.

I pleaded with him, in fact,
but it was no good.

But what happens
to the Bentinck?

If we lose the lease,
God knows.

I might get another hotel.

On the other hand,

I might not
even bother to try.

In the meantime,

let's keep
what reputation we do have,

and that's
for high-class cuisine.

What's wrong
with the artichokes?


Of course, the
telegraphing of pictures

has been a known
possibility for some time.

Still, the "Mirror"
can congratulate itself

on being the first
to do it.

I think we should look
into the possibilities.

Don't you agree?

I'm sorry.
What did you say?

This picture,
Mr. Bulstrode.

It came from Paris...
by wire.

It shows
His Majesty.

Oh, yes.
Indeed, indeed. Yes.

Now, we have more important
matters to consider.

I've just been reading
Culliford's copy.

LAWRIE: I think he's shown
remarkable enterprise.

Oh, yes. He's done
extremely well,

extremely well.

I must be frank
with you, Lawrie.

I'm not
entirely satisfied

with the way that
you are handling

this affair.


And as reluctant
as I am,

I feel that I must now
personally intervene.

Thank you,
Mrs. Trotter,

and your
very good health.

Now, to come straight
to the point,

when word reached me

of the circumstances
concerning your hotel

and your conjugal

I considered the matter
very carefully.

I do not have
a heart of stone,

and it is not my intention
to drive you to the wall.

while your attitude

has hardly been

it was your
rotten newspaper

that started it.

Please, Louisa.

I think Mr. Bulstrode
has a proposition to put.

Oh, yes, I have.
I have.

Now, I've never been
the sort of man

to bear a grudge,

and I have no desire
to injure an innocent child

nor, for that matter,

to cause any unnecessary
distress to its mother.

Now, if you're prepared

to abandon this
ill-advised lawsuit,

it is possible

that I might be able
to meet you halfway.

Plainly, Mr. Bulstrode,
will you print a retraction?

Well, I am willing
to consider...

no more than consider...

the possibility

that our reporter,
Mr. Culliford,

may have overstressed
certain facts.

I say may have.
I admit to nothing.

You ought to
sack him, that's what.

What form
would the retraction take?

Well, the "Banner"
will not grovel.

Let that be clear.

No. I had in mind

a brief but dignified
expression of regret

that the wrong impression
might have been given

and that the "Banner" now
accepts that the Bentinck

is an establishment of
the utmost respectability

and its proprietress
a lady of...


Well, you know
the sort of thing,

Mrs. Trotter.

We can leave
the precise wording

to the lawyer Johnnies.

No offense meant,
Sir Esmond.

None taken.

What compensation
did you have in mind

for the damage
sustained by my client?

You going to sack

Now, Sir Esmond,
you know,

you seek to overstrain
my generosity.

Now, as for Culliford,

I have made
certain suggestions.

Very well, then.
I accept.

don't be too hasty.

I accept!
I accept, I accept.

Well, Sir Esmond,

you seem to have had
your client's instructions.

What do you want?

I want to see
Mrs. Trotter.

And if she doesn't
want to see you?

Well, she'll want
to see this.

Well, that's it.

First edition,
straight off the press,

so be careful...
the ink's still wet.

It'll do.

And now
I've seen it,

you can push off

and rake around
for some dirt


I am pushing off,

tomorrow, as it happens,
all the way to America.

I've been appointed

the "Banner's" correspondent
in New York.

Oh, good.

I won't wish you
bon voyage

'cause I hope
you'll be seasick

the whole way.

Still, it will be
a relief to you

to know that your secrets
are 3,000 miles away.

No thanks to you,
they are secret.

No? You'd be

What? Do you mean
you didn't tell...

oh, no. I wrote it up
in as lurid a manner

as the facts would allow.

When I ran out of facts,
I invented some.

Made the paper curl.

I take back
what I said

you being seasick.

I hope you fall
off the dock

at Southampton.

Mr. Bulstrode
was very impressed.

Of course, he decided
not to print it.

Well, it shows

some gentlemen left.

His ambitions
run higher

than being
a mere gentleman.

He's even got
his title picked out

for the next honours list.

Now, he's not likely
to offend the one person

who can see to it

that he doesn't appear
on that list, is he?

I don't believe you.

He said it was
for sake of my kid.

She's got
nothing to do with...

with a certain

Somehow or another,

Mr. Bulstrode has the notion
that she has.

The king
ain't her father!

Mrs. Trotter,

I've got a pretty
fair idea who is.

Then what made him
think that...

I don't know.

Must have been
the way I wrote it.

Well, good-bye,
Mrs. Trotter.


I owe you 2 quid.



And, uh...
Bon voyage.

Give him a biscuit.