Just caught up with "Upstairs, Downstairs" (all 60+ episodes) after all these years. Took me 2 weeks to watch it all.
What a wonderful experience.
That Edward - sexy as hell. Slim and feisty.
And Lesley-Ann Down! In my opinion, the prettiest face to ever grace the silver screen.
Lesley Anne was exquisite. Here is the first episode of U,D:
I watched it a few months ago and I could not believe how involved I became with the characters. It's acclaim was/is well deserved.
Leaves Downton Abbey in the dust. No comparison.
R4 Agree with you 100%. "Downtown Abbey" is an insult and its popularity demonstrates the dumbing-down of the masses.
I agree with R4 and R5. Upstairs, Downstairs is a classic. I need to buy this series in DVD. I have always loved it immensely. BTW, the actress who played the cook in the film, Angela Baddeley, she advised them what they did and didn't do in the 1900's because she grew up in the 1900's so she was very instrumental to them.
Also, I'm sorry but I think when they tried to continue Upstairs, Downstairs in 2010, it was awful and it just wasn't the same.
Are you THE Cackle Cackle or an impostor? I heard the real one died.
R6 Loved Mrs. Bridges (Angela Baddeley). One of my favorite episodes was when she and Ruby had a falling out and Ruby quit and went to work for this obnoxious, pretentious, middle-class and sort of nouveau-riche woman. Mrs. Bridges ended up rescuing her from the situation. There were so many great episodes and characters. The acting and writing were superb. I could reminisce like crazy but won't do so.
It's been up on utube for quite some time (all of it).
The few b/w episodes were the result of some labor problems at the time.
Let's go upstairs to the roof
Where we can see a poof
Let's go upstairs to the roof
Where we can see a poof
One of my favorite classic British Series. I often go back and re-watch Alfred's insane gay affair, Emily's suicide, Lord Bellamy and Hudson's brother's visit,Lady Marjorie's death on the Titanic, Major James' suicide and the final episode when Rose walks though the empty 165 Eaton Place for the last time. Rose Buck looked as though she'd aged 20 years since the first episode.
I really tried to like Sarah, but I found myself as frustrated as Hudson with the girl. Ruby should have matured at bit and her line in the final episode about getting the guest house after Bridges and Hudson's death really pissed me off. And finally, Poor Rose, she never seemed to mature and by the end I was positive that she had some developmental disability.
I also have to admit that I never liked any of the Bellamy family The Viscount far too often forgot his roots as a parson's son, Lady Marjorie was only yielding when the plot required it, James was insufferable. Elizabeth was the best of them, but I always felt that she was linked with Rose's lack of maturity.
Despite all of this, I still love the program, or at least the first three series, by the time Georgina shows up I'd rather just fast forward to the end of the series.
Well, I liked that last line of Ruby's. She'd been so dozy through out the series, it was fun to see a bit of animal cunning. Fun and shocking.
The original Upstairs had a lot of political drama which could've been totally confusing to viewers in the US but the writing was so good that everyone understood it.
I love UpDown, but Downton is far and away better than it ever was. Production values then were horrible, the plot lines were too tied to the political attitudes and issues of 70's Britain - it all looks horribly dated - as Downton will in 40 years. I saw UpDown when it came out. I was lucky to see the set in London when it was filmed. I hated the second season of the revival of the series.
r13 your opinion means nothing, because you're obviously a juvenile git.
THAT's who Glenn Close looked like in Albert Nobbs! Alfred the butler!
Jean Marsh won the Best Actress Emmy in a leading role for this series.
As series creator, she owns a piece of the entire Upstairs, Downstairs franchise.
Half a dozen soap stars were cast in the US version of Upstairs, Downstairs but it flopped.
What US version was that r16?
Downton Abbey shamelessly steals from Upstairs Downstairs. The gay footman, the young lady who goes to a political rally, etc.
[quote]and the final episode when Rose walks though the empty 165 Eaton Place for the last time
I wept like a baby during that scene.
There's an excellent website (at the link) devoted to Upstairs Downstairs. Besides information about the history and making of the series, there's a detailed episode guide with original air dates, guest actors, goofs, and so on. It's really informative!
[R17] The American version was called Beacon Hill.
It died fast.
Lucky you. Certain series leave a life long impression with me, "UpStairs/Downstairs", "Jewel In the Crown", "I, Claudius." and the Miss Marple series with Joan Hickson. There was a reunion photo of the Upstairs/Downstairs cast members posted on a website (cannot remember the name). I always felt sorry for Ruby. Rose falling for that soldier, purposely missing the train and returning to Eaton Place. What memories.
It was sensational. I grew up in a mews behind Eaton Place and could see the back of the house 65 from my bedroom.
The actor who played Mr. Bellamy actually lived there in a flat on the top floor.
The actress who played family friend Lady Pru also lived round the corner.
I loved seeing them. I used to take members of my American family to see the house when they came to London. I was about twelve.
I knew Ruby in later life, she used to give psychic readings... and some other members of the cast.
I like the earliest series the best. Elizabeth & Lady Marjorie were so good.
It's a series you can watch over & over.
So glad you posted this thread, OP. Another "UpDown'er" here. I was way late to the party on this one and only discovered it only a few years ago.
At first, I could not get past the awful 1970s feel of the production and thought Sarah was obnoxious. But when I read that it was considered one of best British series of all time I stuck with it and am glad I did. By episode 3 I was completely pulled in.
I loved being a fly on the wall at 165 Eaton Place from the minute Sarah arrives for a position in 1903 to the last episode in 1929/30. To see the changes in the clothing, the decor, and the attitudes over time of the wealthy owners and their servants was a real journey. (Yea, Mary!).
The cast was pitch perfect and it was a fascinating way to see how life was handled by the haves and have nots as the years passed. It really gave you a taste of the huge chasm between the social classes. I'm sure the 'downstairs' staff would be amazed at the total collapse of the 'upstairs/downstairs' and country house way of living that was forever affected by WWI and then effectively shut down for the most part after WWII.
Downton is great but IMO it can't touch "UpDown" in the depth of character development and story lines. Hudson the butler, Mrs Bridges the cook, Rose the lady's maid, the elegant Lady Marjorie and her dashing husband-- they were all beautifully cast and portrayed.
Netflix carries the entire series and it's on my list to re=watch it all over again this winter. :)
Many of the old BBC and LWT series had inexpensive production values but viewers didn't care. We were used to theatre, where sets and costumes took a backseat to story and acting. Downtown Abbey is the opposite. Sets and costumes are the focus and the story is way, way below them in importance.
The predecessor to U&D was The Forsyte Saga in the '60s but I've seen some old tapes of it and it just does nothing for me.
R25, if you have Netflix try the updated version of The Forsyte Saga (2002).
It is fantastic! (And even stars Damian Lewis from Homeland)
The Duchess of Duke Street and Lillie were other excellent programs from the UK. I liked By the Sword Divided and To Serve Them All My Days as well.
Agree with R18 and will add another stolon plot device, the young aristocratic lady as a nurse during World War I except she actually cared for the wounded soldiers on the battlefront.
Eric Porter as Soames Forsyte was the best thing about the original tv version of the Forsyte Saga. Susan Hampshire became a household name in the UK as Fleur, but I thought she was a bit over the top.
Kenneth More as Young Jo played Kenneth More. I thought Nyree Dawn Porter was overrated.
When the fictional Soames Forsyte died in a fire, some London newspapers printed his obituary.
In Downton Abbey, the young lady of the house gets involved with helping the house maid. The maid and the lady have a mishap trying to return home. But in Downton, the story of the maid wanting to better herself is seriously discussed at the dinner table by the upper crust. That would never happen on U/D.
On U/D, the story of the young lady trying to help the maid has a different, more realistic outcome. The maid and the young lady are seriously threatened during their homecoming. The young lady is horrified to see how the lower classes live, the maid is heartbroken to find her father has died and been replaced by a brutal, selfish man who terrorises her family. The young lady is told to stop meddling in the lives of the staff -- nothing good can come of it. The young lady learns her lesson and is never overly familiar with house staff again.
Margaret Tyzak, who played Claudius' mother in I, Claudius, played Soames' sister in the tv original version. She was a bit too old to play the teenaged Winifred, but as time went on, she aged well in the role.
[quote] The young lady learns her lesson and is never overly familiar with house staff again.
Whereas the young lading in DA continues to meddle with the house staff after she gets the housemaid a job and marries the socialist Irish catholic driver.
BTW, the marriage between the Irish Catholic chauffeur and the upper class Lady Sybil would never, ever have happened. It would be as if Princess Margaret married an African witch doctor who emigrated to the UK, became a Marxist and got a job as a milkman at Buckingham palace.
Poldark was even more 1970s than Upstairs Downstairs. Angharad Rees was so 70s as Demelza. She had a kind of gunny sax flower child way about her. July Geeson was also 70s.
R31 Remember and enjoyed that episode of Upstairs, Downstairs where young Miss Georgina tried to help Daisy. R33 is spot on. I suppose Downtown Abby is supposed to be top-notch television (whatever that means) yet how can anyone take it seriously?
[quote] I saw UpDown when it came out. I was lucky to see the set in London when it was filmed.
How did you happen to see the set, R13? Where was it filmed...at the Duke Of York Headquarters in Chelsea or was that just for rehearsal?
An imposter, R7. I think we're on our third. Each one fails to capture Cackle Cackle and I swear they get worse. Not one of them has ever used his signature sign off.
So we're to believe that this now-octogenarian who used to post languid musings on life, politics, his youth in Greenwich Village and the price of gas in Half Moon Bay now has a Netflix account and a chatty enthusiasm for British dramas? Yes, I'm so sure.
A lot of idiots post here.
I loved Poldark but Upstairs Downstairs was the best. Downton is lovely to look at but the writing is just ludicrously anachronistic. They lucked out with Maggie Smith and a couple other good actors but even its most ardent fans think the storylines are awful.
The set I saw was at the BBC a BF of mine worked there. I saw it from above - there was a gangway I think. The things I noticed were how bright the lights were - blindingly bright, how hot it was - there were great fans going, and how flimsy all the sets looked from behind and above. The furniture didn't look so great under the lights either. They weren't filming at the moment I was there, there were no actors. The fans were noisy, they could not have had them on during filming. I was only allowed to look from above for a few minutes. We were at the BBC center and elsewhere - I thought it was at the BBC center. My BF at the time new I would be impressed and I was. It was the last year of the series, I think. I also saw some Dr. Who stuff, but I wasn't interested.
[quote]The set I saw was at the BBC
It couldn't have been the BBC. It was an LWT production.
Meg Wynn Owen as Hazel was fantastic. Remember seeing her exquisite, exposed back while dancing to "If You Were the Only Girl in the World" in one of the WWI episodes.
I don't know exactly were it was - we went lots of places to see things. He knew I wanted to see the UpDown set so he arranged it. It was 30 years ago - a long time ago. I don't remember everything perfectly, those things I mentioned were the things that stuck in my memory. I remember my disappointment at the furniture looking sort of cheap and knocked up - very gay of me I suppose
Oh wow, I just realized it was 40 years ago, not 30.
[quote]I remember my disappointment at the furniture looking sort of cheap and knocked up - very gay of me I suppose
No, it's a very pertinent observation.
[quote]Oh wow, I just realized it was 40 years ago, not 30
I hope your BF who worked at BBC recovered his memory and returned to his job after taking you on a tour of a LWT show set.
Simon Williams looked good in Bletchley Circle. He must be in his 60s. Not bad for a geezer.
Thank you for the snarl R45
"Take a letter, please.......
I don't remember what my friend did at the BBC - he was the director of a comedy show. I remember we went to a club in the BBC where I met the actors in his show and other production people. I didn't know anyone, nor did I know anything about the TV show. Everyone in Britain was impressed that I had met these people. I remember how much they all smoked like chimneys and their clothes smelled. They didn't dress very well. The food was terrible, the club was dirty, really. Many of them seemed drunk in the middle of the afternoon.
We had not seen the last season of UpDown that was being filmed then or had already finished. My friend told me the sets would all be gone soon.
Hudson (the butler) is my idea of the perfect Top.
"Whip me Daddy!!!"
Anyone watch the US version Beacon Hill?
I was a kid I saw U/D and the cologne Aramis was advertised a lot on tv. When Lord Bellamy called to send the telegram, I thought he said, "Aramis Titanic," and I wondered if the Aramis Titanic was the same as the [italic] other [/italic] Titanic.
Did Nicola bolt - or was she fired? We can ask the same question about Matthew today. Does anyone know?
They never had enough costumes for the women, Hazel only had 4-5 outfits that she wore for 4 years in the series. The same orange and green dress over and over again.
Lady Marjorie had the smallest wardrobe yo can imagine, while Elizabeth lived for years out of one small closet.
Let's not even start on the lack of jewelry!
It wasn't a problem for the servants who wore the same things all the time.
They had no money for real locations or outdoor scenes.
Nicola now claims BPD to explain her career suicide and sexual obsessions.
The fourth season, the World War One episodes, is the best. It could stand alone as an independent series.
There is a wonderful book about the show which tells, among other dish, how Meg Wynn Owen had been labeled "difficult" in the personal file that the BBC kept on all actors. She was taken aback when a frustrated costumer informed her of that little fact. Realizing that her career was at stake, she behaved better after that.
The original plan had been for Hazel to be more cheerful and down-to-earth. But the producers took a shine to Owen and allowed her far more freedom to shape her character than they gave any other performer on the series. It was Owen who conceived of Hazel as awkward and earnest, painfully aware of her not belonging either upstairs or down. As an avowed Socialist and Feminist, she also insisted that Hazel would be outspoken against the war, in keeping with her own political convictions.
Rosemary Sisson, the only woman who wrote regularly for the series, disliked both Hazel and Meg Wynn Owen. For that reason the producers would not allow her to write the episode where Hazel dies unexpectedly of influenza. They joked that Sisson would turn the event into a macabre comedy rather than the blunt and shocking tragedy it was.
"But in Downton, the story of the maid wanting to better herself is seriously discussed at the dinner table by the upper crust. That would never happen on U/D."
It would never happen in real life either. The upstairs people couldn't care less about a scullery maid. Maybe they would have discussed it in bed with their respective spouses, but are we to believe that these dazzling people who always dress impeccably for dinner are so boring that they are discussing the help at dinner?
Royalty did, so why not them?
There was plenty of staff that royals did not know - especially lower level kitchen staff.
Servants - like valets, coachmen, maids, cooks, servers, animal attendants, doormen, people they interacted with and knew by name they would talk about at meals. Royals knew birthdays, families, special likes etc about these people and sent them gifts and cards. They would even talk to gardeners they knew.
Very interesting r57.
r59/60. There is a difference between the royals making small talk with the gardener and asking if his wife is feeling better after her hip operation and the Downton family of that era discussing at dinner the pros and cons of a maid going to secretarial school and the controversial notion of bettering herself.
The whole point of shows like Upstairs/Downstairs and Downton Abbey is to emphasize the class distinction.
To me the interesting characters are those who are middle class and fall through the cracks. Sarah on Up/Down leaves the house without a reference and falls from the middle class lifestyle. Same with the older woman who gets fired on "Mr. Selfridge" and can't get another job because she has no reference. The no reference situation also happens to a woman on "Berkley Square." To be dismissed without a reference meant immediate poverty.
Please don't tell me that r37 I want it to be Cackle Cackle so badly. Why wouldn't CC like British dramas? Also does anyone still have CC's twitter account address to see if he's still posting?
I say again - respectfully - check with The Webmaster.
[quote]Sarah on Up/Down leaves the house without a reference and falls from the middle class lifestyle
Sarah was not middle class. The staff are working class. When she left, she performed on the stage of a music hall, not respectable at all. After her affair with James, then after another spell back at Eaton Place, she ended up marrying Thomas (and they got their own show briefly).
Still she had a job/s. You are right that without references women were pretty much screwed. There were not many outside employment opportunities. Categories like secretary and teacher were still mostly made up of men.
It's been shown on Downton also, Ethel ended up becoming a prostitute before Mrs Crawley rescued her.
I wish the redo had been better. I was excited to see Alex Kingston as a 1930s "butch" lesbian.
Alas, it sucked hardcore.
I wish they rebooted the sequel. But I'm afraid they consider UD damaged goods now and won't touch it anymore. The other thing is: Does the upstairs vs. downstairs concept still work after the 1920s? The failed sequel kinda abolished this concept for the most part and didn't highlight the contrast that much anymore. I understand that people still had staff. But could it be enough staff in the 30s and 40s to fill up a cast list?
One thing that was a constant in British drama and that was Susan Hampshire. I recall seeing her in the original Forsyte Saga, The First Churchills, The Pallisers, Vanity Fair..on and on. But I should mention we viewers are of a certain breed. We enjoy dramas that run for 10, 12, 20 weeks. The small cable channel Ovation does air quite a few British dramas, most of the Jane Austen adaptions..which are repeated and repeated..but with Colin Firth, Dan Stevens..I certainly am not complaining.
All 5-year episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs are currently up on youtube.
Edward and Daisy could not make it on their own after the war. It's striking to compare the cheerful, joking Edward of earlier episodes with the postwar Edward. He's disillusioned and disgusted with society. His experiences in the war and his bitter disappointment at not being able to provide for a family outside of Eaton Place have changed him forever. Daisy also becomes hard bitten, but in a more sniping way. She becomes quite unpleasant. She was also a cheerful young person when she first appeared at Eaton Place, but life has beaten her when it ends.
There is so much in U/D that is (sadly) pertinent to life in 2013.
R68, I adore Susan Hampshire. She has to have someone reading her scripts to her when she is rehearsing because she is dyslexic.I have watched The First Churchills and The Pallisers and she was superb in those period series. She reminds me of a classic movie star.If anyone hasn't seen The First Churchills and The Pallisers, I highly recommend them because they are great period mini-series. If you love history and/or quality entertainment, The First Churchills is it. The Pallisers is a fictional famliy sage which is terrific.
BTW, the British never fail with their gorgeous costumes ,which they nail the time period to the tee.
Which actors from these series were or are gay?
Nicola quit. Between the second and third series they had written a feature film script set between series one and two, where the Bellamy's go to attend Christmas (or was it Easter?) at Southwold (Marjorie's ancestral home). There Sarah would have an affair with Marjorie's brother Hugo and various shenanigans. Anyway, Elizabeth wasn't in the script, but an American cousin was. Pagett threw a tantrum and quit.
Early outlines had Elizabeth returning from America for an episode during the war season, fabulously rich and swathed in furs, blissfully unaware of what was going on at the Western front. Pagett didn't want to do it so the story was axed.
In addition to the film, there were pretty serious plans to make a Broadway musical out of it at some point as well.
Nicola is a whack job who finally admits to being "mentally ill."
Decided to start watching this on Netflix ...it took a few episodes but Im binge watching now. Quite a few Mary! moments ...Alfred taking hostages after killing his Lituanian lover ...some real scenery chewing ...lol
Hazel's just come on the scene as James' wife as well ..is it me or does she look like a younger Lady Marjorie???
Thanks for bumping this thread today. I've been meaning to download UpDown for donkey's years. I haven't seen it since I was a kid.
While Lesley-Anne was beautiful in a Grace Kelly way, I also think that Pauline Collins was just as beautiful in a girl-next-door way.
R57, I was never so relieved as when Hazel died. What a thoroughly boring role played by a mediocre actress.
I think Sarah was the biggest spark on the show, R78. I need to find the spin-off with she and Thomas.
Just finished the big prank episode at Somersby ...that whole crowd could be their own show as well ....Cecile, Bunny & Diana, Cocky, yet another gay valet ...lol
[quote] I need to find the spin-off with she (sic) and Thomas.
It was horrible
The actor who played Gregory has been showing up on a lot of Brit shows played on PBS recently. It drove me crazy the first time I saw him in a recently-filmed show because I couldn't place him. If he'd spoken with an over-the-top Audsie accent, I would have known him right away.
[quote] Hazel's just come on the scene as James' wife as well ..is it me or does she look like a younger Lady Marjorie???
It was deliberate. James missed his mother, who doted on him, after she went down with the Titanic. His attraction to her is supposed to be based on his underlying bOedipus complex.
[quote] I really tried to like Sarah, but I found myself as frustrated as Hudson with the girl.
I didn't like Sarah either. I thought Pauline Collins played her in a rather over-the-top manner. And I didn't buy the James/Sarah romance.
I hated the Hazel character. Meg Wynn Owen's acting skills for the part consisted of widening her eyes, speaking hesitantly, opening her mouth slightly and giving a smile that made her look, in the immortal words of Goodfella's Sonny Bunz, "like half a retard."
She really dragged the show down.
[quote] Agree with [R18] and will add another stolen plot device, the young aristocratic lady as a nurse during World War I
Not to mention the need to replace pretty young things. When Nicola Pagett left Upstairs Downstairs, they replaced her Elizabeth character with Lesley Ann Downes' Miss Georgina, who became a ward of Lord Bellamy.
In DA, Miss Sybil is replaced by Rose, who becomes the ward of the Granthams.
And of course, the biggest plot device of both -- the Titanic.
[quote]Hazel's just come on the scene as James' wife as well ..is it me or does she look like a younger Lady Marjorie???
That was intentional. Her long red hair was meant especially to evoke the look of Lady Marjorie.
I loved subtle brilliance in the way World War One, the most deadly serious event in the series, began at 165 Eaton Place with a funny sight gag. All the servants are in the basement ceremoniously observing a Blackout Drill. Suddenly a window shade that Ruby pulled down springs open and panic ensues - as if the sliver of light peeping out the window would cause a bomb to hit the house, despite the absence of German planes overhead.
They should have given the US version of Upstairs, Downstairs a chance. But they canned it after two episodes.
The new British version of UpDown lasted two seasons and involved Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins at the beginning. The first year started out great and then went downhill slightly episode by episode. The second year was one of the worst BBC seasons ever produced. The producers wanted to dump everything from the past series, Eileen and Jean. They wanted to start over with their story ideas. The series was dreadfully overproduced from the beginning and eventually became devoid of any real human feeling. The music score was awful. The Kennedy episode was the lowest point. The BBC did nor renew it for a third season. It will never come back now - UpDown is damaged goods.
You can blame Heidi Thomas.
I'm rewatching UD and see so many story points lifted wholesale by the DA writers. Mrs Bridges gets romanced by the local tradesman from whom she buys food supplies. It turns out he only wants her cooking, and he don't think she's goodlookin.'
Mrs Patmore is romanced by the local tradesman who supplies her with foodstuffs... But he's only after her cooking.
WWII is announced during a happy summer party in both shows.
The fussy, puffed-up butler. (Hudson/Carson)
The naughty housemaid who fucks around with her betters and gets pregnant, ends up on the streets (Sarah/Ethel) and is later redeemed.
Pretty young privileged girls being WWI nurses (Georgina/Sybil).
Downstairs servant involved in a murder (Alfred/Bates). Homosexual footman (Alfred/Thomas).
Heirs to fortunes dying on the Titanic (Earl of Southwold/the Crawley nephews).
Pretty young woman whose man isn't really in love with her dies of influenza (Hazel/Lavinia)
Young woman goes wild during the Roaring Twenties (Georgina/Rose)
Though plot points are lifted., the character development is so different. Sybil is seen learning how to boil water in the kitchen as her nurse's training, then she gets her halo and puts cool cloths on the foreheads of young men in her home.
Georgina is shown attending a realistic nursing school with strict rules and standards. When she and her friends treat the school as something to rebel against, the nursing school kicks them out. Georgina realizes that she's a shallow and immature young woman and she doesn't like herself much. She begs to be allowed back in, swearing she'll rise to the challenge. They put her on probation and she graduates and gets her ass shipped off to France to nurse men behind the front lines.
Georgina becomes terribly depressed by what she lives through. After the war, she attempts to retrieve her young, carefree, rebellious self by acting out, drinking a lot and behaving decadently. It doesn't quite work out for her. She has to confront more tragedy and learn at least one more lesson about life and the way she is living hers.
Sybil marries the rough hewn chauffeur and quickly dies, attaining sainthood in a flash.
That's the difference between these two shows.
When Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins first promoted the idea for what became UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS, it was imagined quite differently. Their show was supposed to be set in the late Victorian Era at the vast country manor of a titled Lord. It would have required a much larger cast. It was to have been more of a bawdy farce with drunken butlers sleeping with their secretly gay masters and stable boys knocking up pantry girls.
The one great idea that remained in the series as produced was that it was the first show to depict the rich and powerful and their domestic servants in equal dramatic standing. Every character has a back-story and the lowliest are treated as seriously as the greatest. No one had done that before on British TV.
DA credits the help with far more intelligence and cunning than servants had back then. Brilliant plots to bring down other staff members, to re-insinuate themselves into the abbey, to disgrace a would-be butler, etc.
There was plotting among UD staff, but it was far less complex and more likely to fail, just like in real life.
[quote]There was plotting among UD staff, but it was far less complex and more likely to fail, just like in real life
The funniest and least expected betrayal on UD was when Daisy told Rose she was going to get a part-time job as a bus conductorette during the War. Rose told Daisy it was her patriotic duty to stay on full-time with the Bellamys. Then Rose went out and got the job for herself. Daisy furiously accuses Rose of stealing it. With uncharacteristic insouciance, Rose replies, "What if I did?"
More, please. I love this thread.
They drank like fish on the original U/D! Sherry, port, whiskey, brandy, champagne.
Especially sherry. Lots and lots of sherry.
They must have been sloshed a good deal of the time.
I have to say that PBS's original exclusion of some of the series one episodes made the show even more brilliant than it really was. It eliminated episodes where people acted out of character, and spisodes with scripts that just didn't make sense or didn't add anything to the series.
The Swedish Tiger comes to mind -- it was execrable and useless. The episode where Mrs Bridges stole the baby was silly and pointless, and the one where James comes home early and sadistically punishes the servants for taking house liberties was like a failed Eugene Ionescu or Harold Pinter play. Really bad.
The show really picked up when Elizabeth left. I think it was fortuitous that Nicola Pagett priced herself out of the series. Elizabeth's hypocrisy was tiresome. It was interesting for a short while to see her interact with staff, calling them friends and begging for advice and support one minute, then cruelly putting them in their place in the next. And to see her exhortations about helping the poor while threatening to turn her servants out onto the street. But her phony balony personality became too repetitive to enjoy. And with James acting the same way most of the time, it was a crashing bore to follow the exploits of two spoiled, hypocritical rich children. When it was cut down to only James being the Bellamy bounder, it jettisoned some dead wood. The character of Georgina is softer and more empathetic than Elizabeth was.
I felt Hazel was a kind of drag on the series and wished she'd died sooner. Like DA's Branson, it is boring to see someone play the Fish Out of Water week after week. Meg Wynn Owen's overly mannered portrayal of Hazel didn't make her any more likeable.
The episode where Richard tried to help the pregnant maid was sad and a lot more realistic than anything on DA. Try to step out of assigned societal roles and you will find yourself embroiled in a lawsuit and trying to save your own skin. Every good deed deserves punishment.
I think the most consist character portrayal is David Langton's Richard Bellamy. He is superb throughout the series. And he got away with acting in real life -- when he died, it turned out that he'd shaved 10 years off his age early in his career. Everyone believed he was 72 until his birth certificate was found showing he was 82 when he died.
The episode where Lady Marjorie has an affair with a young officer was not shown here in the US. It was felt that the it was out of character and besides, there is a later episode with Hazel having an almost identical plot line. After seeing it, it doesn't lend much to the series.
The odd thing is that later on, there is an episode where an Irishman from the dead young officer's unit comes to the Bellamy house and tells Thomas the chauffeur about letters he (the Irishman) has from Lady Marjorie to the officer. He wants to blackmail Lady Bellamy.
Thomas decides to take the opportunity to blackmail both Lady Marjorie and Richard and to fob off the Irishman with a five pound note. He enlists Sarah to pose as Lady Marjorie in the scheme. Sarah makes Thomas give all the money back to the Bellamys along with the letters. Thomas does not own up to impregnating Sarah, but tells the Bellamys he will marry her and take her off their hands. He hints that he would like a great deal of money for this and Bellamy tells him he'll get a little extra pay. Thomas then says he and Sarah are thinking of taking a job with a rival family and that he will be sure to be a good employee to the other family as he and Sarah have "had many experiences and learned a great many things here in this house." He's obviously referring to the love letters and to Sarah's former impregnarion by James, having a stillborn baby the night the king came to dinner.
The funny thing is, when i first saw this episode, there was no Irishman, no blackmail offer due to love letters, no Sarah pretending to be Lady Marjorie, no attempt by Thomas to take advantage of the situation by double-blackmailing both Bellamys and no denial by Thomas that he was the father of Sarah's child. Since PBS had never aired the episode where Lady Marjorie had the affair, all references to it were excised from the episode. The only thing we saw was Thomas saying that he and Sarah were going to get married and suggesting a reward for his services. When Bellamy suggests a paltry reward, Thomas simply says that he and Sarah are thinking of taking the other job and that they'd had many experiences in the house. It was very subtle. Lady Marjory picked up on it (we thought only of the king's visit) and Lord Bellamy gives Thomas the 500 lbs he wants.
The funny thing us that the character of Thomas was referred to as such a blackguard and I couldn't figure out why. We'd only seen him make a subtle hint to the Bellamys and that was all. All of his machinations were never shown in the first two airings of the series, so he didn't seem like such a bad guy. Just someone who looked out for Number One and who could blame him?
It was a [bold]Marconigram[/bold], R48!
That IS odd and funny and funny, R96.
I loved the "missing" episode when James confronts the servants who've dressed up in Lady Marjorie's wardrobe. It explained why James and Sarah ended up having an affair.
I never saw the Sarah and Thomas sequel show but I remember hearing references to UpDown's "beloved characters" getting their own show. Did Thomas get a personality transplant?
Im still chugging through the series on Netflx ....enjoying Virginia. Just wrapped up the episode with the bitchy governess trying to take Thimble the dog to be put down. I like Virginia quite a bit ...she adds a nice spark.
BTW ...is Ruby supposed to be retarded/mentally challenged?
Have enjoyec every episode featuring Lady Prudence Fairfax .... They shouldve found a reason to move her into the house ...lol
[quote]BTW ...is Ruby supposed to be retarded/mentally challenged?
No, jut Welsh.
The producers toyed with the idea of having Richard marry Prudence, R102, but they decided to go in a fresh direction instead. Lady Pru was already a valuable asset in her supporting role.
One of the "lost" episodes was one of my favorites, however. "I Dies for Love," about the scullery maid in love with a neighboring footman. Beautiful and devastating. I was lucky to have missed the first showing of the series and watched it a couple of years later when they showed the complete series for the first time in the US.
[quote] I never saw the Sarah and Thomas sequel show but I remember hearing references to UpDown's "beloved characters" getting their own show. Did Thomas get a personality transplant?
It was terrible. Years later they tried to blame strikes by production workers, but it was just awful.
Alderton and Collins did do a comedy series called Wodehouse Playhouse that I remember being good, though. Captain James was in one of the episodes. It's probably on youtube.
David O. Russell and Susanna Grant will be doing the US version set at a posh country club.
ABC has already given it a 13 episode straight to series order.
Here an episode of Wodehouse Playhouse with Pauline Collins and John Alderton.
The cook was Angela Baddeley. At first I thought it was her sister. She looks and sounds exactly like her sister Hermione Baddeley who played Mrs Nagatuck, made to Maude.
The first season was uneven partly because they had no idea the show would be renewed for more than 13 episodes. Early on someone had the highfalutin' idea that each episode might be done in a separate style of dramatic presentation.
That too clever notion resulted in The Swedish Tiger debacle. Per contract, the writer delivered a farcical drawing room caper. By the time it came to tape it, the show had developed an integrity that did not allow for this surreal descent into airy nothingness. But the writer wouldn't budge, so they were stuck doing it.
The never before-or-since seen gaming room, connected to the morning room by sliding double doors, disappeared after its lone appearance in The Swedish Tiger. It was replaced by Richard's study which was presumably divided from the morning room by a solid wall.
The creators carefully dated each episode in Season One from 1903 to 1909. But after being renewed, they decided they needed to wring more time out of the Edwardian Era. They particularly wanted to end the second season with the event of King Edward's death. So they bumped everything back a full year. Thus Season One ends with Elizabeth and Lawrence departing on their honeymoon in June of 1909. Then Season Two opens with the newlyweds returning home from that same honeymoon in the summer of 1908.
Can't get enough.
Love Lady Pru!!!
Loved Hazel ... and the fact that she was so hard to like. (Which, I gather, was on purpose.) So unlike American telly when you know in the first 3 minutes who the goodies and the baddies are. Meg was brilliant in the role.
Downton's a joke in comparison. You can easily see it's written by a Tory -- no class distinction, and a whole lot of "we're all in this together" and "Daddy's going to see to us all" bullshit.
But UpDown is very clear about the relationship between servant and master; how the imbalance of power informs everything. Miss Elizabeth's relationship with Rose is a brilliant example -- Elizabeth likes to think they're friends, right up until Rose's humanity interfers with Lizzy's comfort and sense of place.
I mean there is a reason that "being in service" was often the last choice for the poor and eventually died away. But you wouldn't know it from Downton -- aren't we all friends?
It's been a while since I've watched the series but I remember that in the novelization of the second series, Lawrence and Thomas sleep together. If I remember correctly it's alluded to in the show, but it's explicit in the novelization. The line was something like: "He extended his hand ... and Thomas took it. What else could a good footman do?" That got me through many a lonely night in 5th grade.
By the way, the composer of the theme for "Beacon Hill" was Marvin Hamlisch. I can still remember it. I'm also hoping someone would post an episode of the show on line so I could download the theme.
John Alderton, who played the valet Thomas, later said he had encouraged the actor Ian Ogilvy to play up Laurence's same-sex attraction to Thomas. Ogilvy disappointed him by playing it safe and sexless, presumably to protect his up-and-coming career as a leading man.
It was funny how the layout of 165 Eaton Place morphed over the years. In the first two seasons the drawing room was a modest affair that consisted of little more than a sofa and a potted plant. From season three onward it was established that the Bellamy's residence boasted the largest and finest drawing room in the neighborhood. The opulent new drawing room is actually too large to fit into any of the real townhouses in Eaton Place.
r103 Ruby was from Yorkshire. A relative of hers shows up in the episode about the coal miner's strike.
Who are these anti-Hazel trolls on this thread? They make me want to cry.
I loved her so much and it was so sad the way her parents wanted to hide her away because she'd been divorced by a man who used to knock her about. I could weep at the memory of it. They never featured her parents again after she married James which was a shame really.
Lady Marjorie was so classy. I wish there was interview footage of her. I'd like to see her in 70s gear.
There are some wonderful extras on the DVDs. Interview and TV specials from the 70s.
It's so sad what happened to the actress who played Elizabeth in real life. She was so beautiful. Those huge saucer eyes.
I loved Hazel too, R114. I am sadly surprised by people who dislike the character or the actress.
She was easier to take than Sarah, who like Hazel was elevated then laid low via her relationship with James. Sarah was awesome but she dominated every scene she was in. She was fun but she didn't function well as a supporting character, which all cast members were required to be at times.
Hazel's painful awareness of her social struggles made her vulnerable and endearing. Her dignity and integrity would redeem her awkwardness and her unsuitable actions. I wish they had pursued the Hazel/Richard mutual attraction a bit further. You could see their love and how correct they would have been for each other, even though they barely glanced at the subject.
I loved the wartime episode where food rationing forces her to serve sugarless rhubarb tart (made by Ruby, no less) to Sir Geoffrey. He expresses polite satisfaction with the sour confection to which Hazel replies crisply, "Good." In that one word you can see that she has grown in both style and command of her situation.
What happened to the actress who played Elizabeth?
She was untreated bi-polar, R16, and it harmed her career and her private relationships.
Here's Russell Harty going in front of and behind the U/D scenes in a rather awkward Christmas special where the cast members seem to be unsure if they're supposed to be playing their characters or appearing as themselves. I'm guessing it was filmed in late 1975. Mrs Bridges died in February 1976.
James is resurrected from the dead, but none of the other dearly departed characters -- Lady Marjorie or Hazel, Sarah, Thomas, Elizabeth e.g. -- were brought back from the dead or from exile to be in the show.
Upstairs, Downstairs is my favorite TV series of all time. I'm glad to know others appreciate it. Too many people nowadays have never even heard of it.
Last Christmas shopping season, Costco stores in the U.S. had the complete boxed set of all episodes of UD including some bonus material, all on DVD. I think a booklet was included. I think it was selling for $97.99 or thereabouts, so with tax it was just over $100. On the expensive side, but what other TV series is more worth buying? They might offer it again.
You can often find old BBC/PBS boxed sets at thrifts, estate sales, eBay and so forth for very little money. Picked up a complete "Jeeves and Wooster" VHS NIB boxed set (yeah I've still got a VCR, wanna make something of it? *LOL*) for about five dollars.
Even used many such sets are only slightly unless the previous owner was a real die hard fan. Have seen everything from Jewel in the Crown to Coupling going very cheap.
If you can latch onto a region free DVD player (we have one) you can hunt internationally such as eBay and find things from the UK again very cheaply, even with the exchange rate and shipping. Have had the past few seasons of Dowton Abbey including #4 sent from London long before it was on sale or even broadcast on PBS.
Yes, one got and still gets weepy at the final episode of USDS when at the end Rose walks through a now empty 165 Eaton Place.
One the one hand it was probably the same as for many of us on moving day. You walk through a now empty house for the last time hearing voices and or recalling memories of things past. For Rose in the larger picture it was also the end of an era.
The shutting down of 165 Eaton Place mimicked what was going on all around post WWI London/Britain at the time. The old world order that was slowly dying before the war got a huge shove by that event. The life Rose was born into and previously had known was turned upside down. In particular for women/persons like her the security and often shelter of being employed by great families in their homes or estates was coming to an end.
When you think about it the events a woman like Rose lived through by that time were shocking. The sinking of the Titanic, WWI, Spanish Flu Pandemic, Suffragette movement (including forced feeding), stock market crash etc... were all just the social. Add the introduction of electricity, telephone, motor cars and so forth to that list.
Rose basically gave the best years of her life to the Bellamy household. Only to see them sell up and live in "reduced" circumstances.
In the last twenty or so years, many of the large London houses that were broken down into flats, just as the Bellamy house at Eaton Place house was, have now been restored back into single houses again.
Same happening here in New York City.
From Harlem to the West and East Village in Manhattan and in much of western Brooklyn brownstones/townhouses are in very high demand. First choice is obviously one without tenants, however if that isn't possible there are ways round.
Neil Patrick-Harris and husband/family is moving from a flat to a brownstone and he joins again a very well worn path.
Persons are realizing they can have more privacy and square footage in a private home as opposed to a flat. They also can avoid all that prying into one's private life and financials that goes with purchasing a condo or co-op in NYC's better buildings.
"Oh my God. I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally really did it ... You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
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