Upstairs Downstairs takes place in 165 Eaton Place from the turn of the century through the Great War and into the Roaring Twenties. It concerns the Bellamy family: politician Richard Bellamy his wives Marjorie and Virginia, wastrel son James, wayward daughter Elizabeth and his flighty ward, Georgina Worsley. The house domestics are led by Hudson the Butler, a conservative Scot who must contend with the 'below stairs' behaviour of the household staff, including cook Mrs Bridges and maids Rose and Sarah. A spectacular critical and ratings success when first transmitted on ITV, Upstairs Downstairs still maintains its position as one of the major success stories of British television worldwide. Multi award-winning (including ones from BAFTA, the Writers Guild, the Royal Television Society, Emmies and Golden Globes) the series stars Jean Marsh, Gordon Jackson, Angela Baddeley, Pauline Collins and Lesley-Anne Down. This boxset contains all 68 episodes from the five series of Upstairs Downstairs, originally transmitted between 1971 and 1975. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BOX SET DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY SPECIAL FEATURES.
Given a much-loved television hit of yesteryear a revamp, the BBC’s new take on Upstairs Downstairs has proven to be both a ratings and critical success. And with good reason, too.
Set in 1936, Upstairs Downstairs follows the antics in the sumptuous home of the Hallam family. Set against a backdrop of the path to World War II, the programme then explores the differing lines of the rich family upstairs, and the servants who work below. And this provides a platform for all sorts of scandal and secrets, which keep the drama bubbling along nicely.
The new cast clearly have a ball with the material. Among the residents in this new version of show are Keeley Hawes, Anne Reid and Claire Foy. Plus there’s the added bonus of the return of the wonderful Jean Marsh, one of the brains and stars behind the original run.
The shift in time from the original Upstairs Downstairs, meanwhile, is of great benefit to this show, and it moves it along from being a straight remake. Instead, the new Upstairs Downstairs more than holds it own, and while it’s inevitably in a head-to-head fight with ITV’s Downton Abbey, there’s more than enough here to ensure the show is worthwhile in its own right. More, please. --Jon Foster
--This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.