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A Respectable Trade 

The devastating consequences of the slave trade in 18th century Bristol are explored through the powerful but impossible attraction of well-born Frances and her Yoruban slave, Mehuru. ... See full summary »




2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete series cast summary:
Ralph Brown ...  Dr. Hadley 2 episodes, 1998
Richard Briers ...  Sir Charles Fairley 2 episodes, 1998
Grahame Fox ...  John Bates 2 episodes, 1998
Jenny Agutter ...  Lady Scott 2 episodes, 1998
Simon Williams ...  Lord Scott 2 episodes, 1998
Ariyon Bakare ...  Mehuru / ... 2 episodes, 1998
Makaela Alexander Makaela Alexander ...  Naomi 2 episodes, 1998
Doreen Andrew Doreen Andrew ...  Cook 2 episodes, 1998
Stephen Bent Stephen Bent ...  Foreman 2 episodes, 1998
Clinton Blake ...  Mark 2 episodes, 1998
Warren Clarke ...  Josiah Cole 2 episodes, 1998
Francis Crampsie Francis Crampsie ...  Bates' Man 2 episodes, 1998
Cait Davis ...  Brown 2 episodes, 1998
Kaddy Faal Kaddy Faal ...  Mary 2 episodes, 1998
Emma Fielding ...  Frances Scott Cole 2 episodes, 1998
David Foxxe David Foxxe ...  Mr. Woolwick 2 episodes, 1998
Geoffrey Greenhill Geoffrey Greenhill ...  Mr. Shore 2 episodes, 1998
Anna Massey ...  Sarah Cole 2 episodes, 1998
Paul McNeilly ...  Captain Smedley 2 episodes, 1998


The devastating consequences of the slave trade in 18th century Bristol are explored through the powerful but impossible attraction of well-born Frances and her Yoruban slave, Mehuru. Bristol in 1787 is booming, from its stinking docks to its elegant new houses. Josiah Cole (Warren Clarke), a small dockside trader, is prepared to gamble everything to join the big players of the city. But he needs ready cash and a well-connected wife. An arranged marriage to Frances Scott (Emma Fielding) is a mutually convenient solution. Trading her social contacts for Josiah's protection, Frances enters the world of the Bristol merchants and finds her life and fortune dependent on the respectable trade of sugar, rum and slaves. Among the slaves is the educated and charismatic Mehuru (Ariyon Bakare). Lonely in her new life married to a boorish and uneducated husband with whom she has little in common, Frances finds herself increasingly drawn to Mehuru and him to her. But tensions are mounting and ...

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User Reviews

Outstanding script, superb direction and Emma Fielding
9 March 2001 | by CARNEYVASee all my reviews

This is not the typical bodice-ripping, 18th century romance, with all of the cliched lurking, thwarted passions. No, the central themes here are beautifully woven into a single strand, with the characters displaying a range and depth rarely seen in American cinema. Anna Massey, Warren Clarke (remember him as "Dim", the slow-witted droog in "A Clockwork Orange") and Aariyon Bakare present powerful and memorable performances. But Emma Fielding as Frances Scott absolutely steals this movie. This enormously talented London stage and RSC actress brings the whole package: extraordinary beauty, emotional range, presence, and a wondrous voice that is itself "sheer theatrical viagra" (forget about the recent overrated displays on the London stage in "The Blue Room" and "The Graduate"). Ms. Fielding richly deserves to be cast in the lead of full-length feature films, and in roles that require intelligence, imagination and her megawatt star-power.

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Official Sites:

PBS [United States]





Release Date:

25 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ett hedervärt yrke See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(4 episodes)

Sound Mix:



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