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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 October 2012
I think reading these reviews, a lot of people are getting a bit confused with what this DVD contains. The original Complete Series is the one shown in the Green Box which was the first set to be realeased of the complete whole series, containing 21 discs and includes all the added extras. (interviews, making of the series etc)

This particular version of the Complete Series (second release) is exactly the same as the Green Box (21 disc set) except that it only has 17 discs which still cover all the 68 episodes that were made, just as the Green Box Set does. What you don't get are the extra discs, which have all the extra material on them. (hence only 17 discs instead of 21) The Green Box Set currently costs £70 and this second version of the Complete Series currently costs £39.95. So you are saving £30 on this Complete Series Boxed Set. If you want all the extras as well, then buy the Green Box Set. I have purchased this particular set, because all I want to watch is the whole series from start to finish, without the added extras. Everyone to their own choice. Hope this has clarified what to expect if buying this particular version.
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on 30 December 2010
I am very much enjoying the new incarnation of 'Upstairs Downstairs.' currently being broadcast on the BBC. I am so glad they chose not to attempt a remake of the original, but instead, to move the new series along in time, to an equally fascinating period in European history, that of the lead-up to WWII. I am sure there will be some interesting developments within the new family, as there were in the original series. This series is beautifully done in true BBC period drama style, with a host of instantaneously believable actors and actresses. The new 'Upstars Downstairs' allows us to explore the ideas and manners of a time gone by, but not to be forgotten. At a time when good TV is getting scarse, and trash TV seems to be the norm, this is a breath of fresh air.
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To be honest I was only a wee nipper when Upstairs Downstairs was originally on tv, and so I only have a vague memory of it. I didn't know if I would like this, especially as I couldn't stomach the Channel 4 series recently set in a stately home. This was originally an idea by Jean Marsh who discussed it with Eileen Atkins, and from there it all started.

165, Eaton Place is being re-opened with a new family taking over, and they need staff. With Jean Marsh acting as an owner of an employment agency she is approached by the new owners. Set in 1936 this mini-series shows so well what was going on at the time in England as well as the problems also going on in the household. Taking in such things as the Black Shirts, and the abdication of the King, you also have the problems with staff, and the new owners not necessarily knowing all the rules of etiquette.

With inspired writing by Heidi Thomas and great acting, especially from Ellie Kendrick, this is something that will give you pleasure, and one can only hope that there will be another series. My only gripe with this is that it was too short and so the story had to be sped along to a large degree.

Also on this dvd is a thirty five minutes 'behind the scenes' look, taking in the writing and the set, along with comments from some of the actors.
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on 25 September 2005
Although I already own the VCI DVD releases of Upstairs Downstairs I bought this straight away and wasn't dissapointed. The picture quality hasn't greatly improved but having all the title cards even for the advert breaks means we are seeing it just how it was. The extras were the reason I bought this because I know so little about the show except for what I've seen. The commentries are fun and don't have any long pauses that ruin some. Its great to hear the people we never see (the writer) and the actors really give a feel for what the series was like. The newly made documentary produced just for these new releases was fantastic and very well made. Overall if you are simply happy with the episodes and have the VCI collection then stay with it but if you want the full Upstairs Downstairs experience then buy this.
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VINE VOICEon 2 July 2008
This is season one, which includes the five black and white episodes that are 'interspersed' with the colour ones. This was because filming had been interrupted by the infamous Strike which had resulted in the said episodes not being done in colour. As a consequence, they have become much sought after and rarely seen. They were only ever aired the once by ITV - their original showing, despite any subsequent re-runs of the series there may have been. As Jean Marsh (Rose) once told me; these black and white episodes were among some of the best that were ever done! They will also help to fill in gaps for those who never saw them, and as to what happened during those missing years: 1903 - 1907, and also will reveal the destiny of some of the characters that appeared to 'vanish' for no apparent reason; some of whom later returned, and others who were never seen again...

This first season is what certainly resulted in 'Upstairs, Downstairs' taking off in the way that it did, and becoming such a massive success. It was an immediate 'hit' with the viewers, and the closing episode which left the son of the household involved in a scandalous affair with one of the housemaids, and the daughter, his sister, marrying a homosexual poet, was certainly guaranteed to bring viewers back for the second season!

This set also included two award-winning episodes in: 'I Dies From Love' and 'Why Is Her Door Locked', which involved the suicide of the Irish Kitchen Maid. Ironically, this first set would also include what was to become the 'weakest' and least understood episode: 'The Swedish Tiger'!

Highlights from this Season are marked with an * below. You will see that there is indeed only one that is unmarked, since the quality of this introductory set was so high!

On trial*
The Mistress And The Maids*
Board Wages*
The Path Of Duty*
A Suitable Marriage*
Magic Casements*
A Cry For Help*
I Dies From Love*
Why Is Her Door Locked*
A Voice From The Past*
The Swedish Tiger
The Key Of The Door*
For Love Of Love*
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on 18 February 2011
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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on 5 April 2012
After watching the entirety of the Acorn (US) set and episode one of the Network (UK) set it is clear that neither of these box sets are perfect. The Acorn doesn't have the act breaks but it does have subtitles for the hard of hearing and a much better picture. In fact, the Network transfer of the videotaped sections of "On Trial" look, as is the case on so many British DVD transfers from the era, as though they have have been transferred onto film. On the plus side the Network set does have the LWT logos and the act breaks. As I always take picture quality over logos and act breaks I will take the Acorn anyday. Acorn, at least kind of does justice to Upstairs Downstairs, one of the finest English language TV shows ever. Wouldn't it be nice if DVD companies did justice to their customers once in a while?
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on 21 March 2011
Superb TV series but alas NO subtitles for the HOH . The American release for this series on Acorn does have subtitles for all the episodes and has just been released .
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on 8 January 2007
I received this box set as a Christmas present - much to my astonishment - I was too young to have watched the early episodes first time round (although I do remember some of the later ones). Having reluctantly decided to watch the first DVD while ironing - to my children's horror - black and white - what's that? I actually watched 2 episodes and thoroughly enjoyed them. My husband commented that he would far prefer to watch Upstairs Downstair than Eastenders et al. I am now a definite fan and will ask my Mum for set 2 for my birthday!
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on 30 August 2014
I remember watching this in my early teens, but not taking that much notice of it at the time. I was inspired to buy this after watching several repeat episodes over the last few years and realising what great drama this series offered.
I have now watched all 17 discs since acquiring the boxed set several months ago and it was rather bizarre that as I viewed the period covered by World War one in the series, this coincided with the 100th Anniversary of that conflict. Brilliant depictions of the ravages of war played by Simon Williams as David Bellamy and Christopher Beeny as Edward( the footman). In fact every actor-including the late, great Gordon Jackson as Hudson the butler- could not be faulted for their abilities to portray life in London in the early 20th Century. This series gave great depth to a multitude of varying storylines without really detracting from the real backbone of the show which centred on the Bellamys and their servants. What a pity they don't make them like this anymore; certain period dramas are a pale imitation in comparison.
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