There is a liveliness in this sequence of eight episodes that has been absent from the series since Lady Marjorie Bellamy died on the Titanic in 1912. The bloodbath of the Great War has been over for almost two years as we step through the familiar front door of 165 Eaton Place. Virginia Hamilton, now Viscountess Bellamy, returns from her European honeymoon without the slightest intention of taking on the rôle of mistress of Eaton Place, a position left vacant by the death of James Bellamy's wife, Hazel. Is it she or Richard, accustomed to the 'political wife' of the Edwardian era, who emerges victorious in the battle of the sexes?
The characters of James Bellamy, Georgina Worsley, and the former Lady Diana Russell, bored with marriage to good old Bunny, Marquess of Newbury, illustrate the madcap merriment of the twenties, a time when all's fair in love as it had been in war. The residents of the Servants' Hall, too, seek a freshness, a vitality in their lives and relationships. Even Ruby, still elevenpence ha'penny short of a bob, demands her place in the post-war world, defying the senior staff to find a 'Rudolf Valentino' of her very own! The joie de vivre is always short-lived. That love so often lies bleeding suggests that war has given way to a tug-of-war between past and present, a conflict in which characters old and new, above and below stairs, are inextricably involved.
This is one of the most enjoyable "Upstairs Downstairs" series, inviting the viewer to share the social tension as the old world lies shot to pieces, yet never saying die, as a new order struggles into life.