Douglas Jardine (Hugo Weaving), Captain of England, shows incredible determination and ruthlessness, characteristics of Englishmen from the Raj era (although Jardine is mellow in comparison!) to fashion a decisive Ashes victory in Cricket over arch-rival Australians. In this process, he becomes the most hated man in Australia while still winning the grudging respect of many. To win at any costs is the only thing that matters in Jardine's self-centered universe; a hater of platitudes, traits in others that somewhat appeal to him are loyalty and dedication, which he finds among his England team-mates, especially the pace-bowlder Harold Larwood (Jim Holt) who it would seem can die for his Captain!
Ep 1: Born in India in the heyday of the British Raj, Douglas's childhood was tempered by loneliness and the rigors of England's public schooling system for aristocrats. As time flew, he became somewhat of a touchy-feely maverick who firmly knew his high place in the pecking order of things, somewhat helped by the deep social stratification Britain used to have in the 1920's. This attitude would lead to plenty of barricading from Australian fans although these fans didn't really hate him for being English, but more due to his arrogance and deep-seated class prejudice.
Douglas Jardine (while setting foot on Australian soil): "Porter, would you be so kind, our bags!"
Australian porter: "You be the English team, are you?"
Douglas Jardine: "Yes, that's right."
Australian porter: "Carry your own bloody bags."
In this episode, we are introduced to Percy George Fender (John Gregg) who would become Douglas's most valuable friend and mentor in years to come.