53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
An Ultimate Victory,
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This review is from: Upstairs Downstairs - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Having not only been a fan of the original "Upstairs Downstairs" TV series, but having produced for Australian radio a series of specials that gave me the privilege to meet many of the original cast and interview them, I came to this sequel with great trepidation and a fair degree of hostility. Trying to invade 165 Eaton Place even with Jean Marsh in residence, seemed a little like walking on sacred ground to me.
Certainly there are things in this lavish BBC dramatisation that seem out of place with the wonderful original. The old series had a modest budget and at times that helped give the series its unique feel. Everything was modest down to the slightly shakey scenery outside the windows, but these stories were playlets for TV, three short wonderful acts , no music, no major cutting around, often scenes of seven or eight minutes just between two actors. Wonderful.
The new beast is overloaded with budget, music and general BBC sumptuousness. For this reason it took a long while to win me over, the music trumpets every emotion and invades the world a little like a 1930s movie music soundtrack. Yet above and beyond there is a wonderful heart to this new series and a great selection of actors lead by the aforementioned Ms Marsh (my how Rose has aged in 6 years, and can someone please tell me how Rose ended up running an employment agency, when the original series ended she was on her way to he country to look after the next generation of Bellamys--what went wrong???!!!!)
Backing Jean all the way is the original co creator of the series (with Jean)_ the wonderful Eileen Atkins who makes a meal of the grand mother in law of the house. Warm and zany yet a little intimidating, this is one of Atkins' greatest performances. Without her and Ms Marsh, the new series would probably flounder ,despite a truly excellent male lead in Ed Stoppard as the master of the house and one a good deal more forceful and commanding than the original Lord Bellamy I might add.
So yes, this series does play with a legend and yes it probably would have been better under another name. But the thirties gives such rich material to any drama of servants and their masters and their kings (just look at "the King's Speech") So let us welcome back, albeit with a few reservations, 165 Eaton Place and its mostly new inhabitants. I am pleased the Beeb has commissioned a further six episodes.
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Initial post: 12 Dec 2011 22:48:57 GMT
Byron Kolln says:
Fantastic review. My theory on what happened to Rose after she moved with Lord Bellamy and his young family is this:
Lord Bellamy passes away, leaving Rose a small but valuable piece of investment (probably a way of repaying some of what James had lost when he invested Rose's money in the stock exchange). Richard's wife Virginia decides that she'll let Rose go, seeing as her two children are now grown, and having little use for a nanny. Rose returns to London to open an employment agency, Buck's of Belgravia, which provides her income until Lady Agnes invites her back as housekeeper of 165.
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