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
David Langton Upstairs Downstairs: The Complete Series