Season 1 Episode 4

The New Helen

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Oct 14, 1978 on ITV
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Episode Summary

The New Helen
Lillie risks losing her new-found position in society when she spurns King Leopold's advances. Luckily, most gentlemen, including the younger brother of the Prince of Wales, remain infatuated with her and forgive her this faux pas. More and more Lillie realises that her marriage to Edward is nothing but a sham. She spends a lot of time with Oscar Wilde with whom she has a platonic love affair. And then she meets the Prince of Wales.moreless

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    Derek Smith

    Derek Smith

    King Leopold

    Guest Star

    Philip York

    Philip York

    Moreton Frewen

    Guest Star

    David Dixon

    David Dixon

    Prince Leopold

    Guest Star

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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (1)

      • Oddly, even though Joseph Horovitz is portraying the pianist Rubenstein in this episode, and, even though, we see his hands as he plays Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", they are not actually playing this work. They are too far down the keyboard and are striking the wrong keys for the music heard.

    • QUOTES (4)

      • Oscar Wilde: The truth is I really do love you. Yet, it is the curse of my nature that I can desire but not possess beauty. It must always be just out of reach. I've wept for you and for myself.

      • Frank Miles: (about Miller's poem) He labored like a great furnace and brought forth only a few sparks.

      • Lillie: (about King Leopold) I've an idea he thinks his divine right extends a little further than I'm prepared to permit.

      • Patsy: I am not going to introduce you to any more of my admirers, or potential admirers. I can see it's the surest way to lose them.

    • NOTES (3)

      • This could, almost, fit into the goofs category (but fewer fans would read it!). The exact same dramatic device was used in the "Edward the King" series in reference the first meeting between Bertie and Lillie. In this episode she doesn't want to go to Sir Allen Young's party because of her depression over the realization that her marriage is over, in all but name. In the 1975 series Bertie is shown as not wanting to go to the same party because he has been chastised for his part in the affair between Lord Blansford and Lord Aylesworth's wife.
        The writers are not to be blamed for this. While they created these series to be enjoyed and admired, I feel sure that they had no conception that videotape and dvd's would allow us to view, and compare, series created years apart at the same time.

      • Joseph Horovitz, who created the wonderful music for this series plays the, real life, pianist Rubenstein in this episode. *see the goofs section about this.

      • The writers of this series are not overdramatizing the connection between Lillie and Oscar. If you read the existant letters written between them you will find that their relationship, at the time of their lives that is portrayed in this episode, was a very close and special one. They were, after all, two 20 year olds audaciously making their way in a society that could intoxicate you with acceptance or cast you out with cruel visciousness.

    • ALLUSIONS (1)

      • The episode title refers to the mythical Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships. Oscar Wilde compares Lillie's beauty and her impact on men with that of the Greek temptress.

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