11 May 2001 | west-1
A great pleasure
There is still great pleasure to be had from this series. Set in the earlier 1900s in London, it is the story of a young woman who begins as a kitchen hand and, through talent and determination, becomes a great chef and hotelier, (though she refuses to lose her cockney speech).
Louisa Trotter, played by the truly WONDERFUL Gemma Jones, must be one of the most memorable characters in television history. A creature of so many moods - haranguing her staff in the kitchen, deliriously in love, vulgar when she's angry, prickly with her mother, sentimental about her affair with the old King - it's hard to know whether to laugh at her, or cry. But there is one constant about her - her artistry in her profession, and that is always awe-inspiring.
During a long series, relationships between characters can acquire great reality. Louisa's covert affection for her staff, her enduring love for Charlie (Christopher Cazenove), and her deep friendship with the Major (Richard Vernon) - mainly because of the exquisite playing of the cast - have an extraordinary conviction.