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."