Upstairs Downstairs (2010 TV series)

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Upstairs Downstairs
Alt=Series titles with an opulent chandelier
Genre Drama
Created by Heidi Thomas
Written by Heidi Thomas
Directed by Euros Lyn
Starring
Theme music composer Alexander Faris
Opening theme "The Edwardians"
Composer(s) Daniel Pemberton (series 1)
Carl Davis (series 2)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 9
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Nikki Wilson (series 1)
Ann Tricklebank (series 2)
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s)
Broadcast
Original channel
Picture format 1080i
Original run 26 December 2010 (2010-12-26) – 25 March 2012 (2012-03-25)
Chronology
Preceded by Upstairs, Downstairs (1971)

Upstairs Downstairs is a British drama series, broadcast on BBC One from 2010 to 2012[1] and co-produced by BBC Wales and Masterpiece. Created and written by Heidi Thomas, it is a continuation of the London Weekend Television series Upstairs, Downstairs that ran from 1971 to 1975 on ITV.

The series resumes the story of 165 Eaton Place, the fictional setting of both iterations of the programme, in 1936, six years after the original series concluded. Jean Marsh reprises her role as Rose Buck, who becomes housekeeper of the re-established household, with Ed Stoppard and Keeley Hawes playing its new owners Sir Hallam and Lady Agnes Holland. The first series, consisting of three episodes, was broadcast across consecutive nights during Christmas 2010. The second, and last, series consisted of six episodes and first aired between 19 February 2012 and 25 March 2012.

Production history[edit]

Series 1[edit]

In October 2009 it was announced that the BBC was to revive the series as two 90-minute episodes to be broadcast on BBC One in the autumn of 2010, written by Heidi Thomas and set in 1936, six years after the original series finished.

At the time the original show ended its run, the year was 1930, the Great Depression had already begun, and the Bellamy family had lost all their money in the crash of 1929.

James Bellamy, the only son of Richard, the Viscount Bellamy, was responsible in persuading not only his family but also the faithful family servant, Rose Buck, to invest all their money in the stock market. Consequently, James committed suicide and the Bellamy family, as well as all the servants, left Eaton Place to start new lives.

Mr. Hudson, the head butler, and Mrs. Bridges, the cook, married and moved to the seaside, taking the kitchen maid, Ruby Finch, to live with them; Edward, the chauffeur, and his wife Daisy, the maid, were given new positions by the Bellamys' cousin, Georgina, and her husband, Lord Stockbridge, in their new country house; and Rose was offered the job as maid to Lord and Lady Bellamy at their small villa.

The new series would see Jean Marsh reprising the role of Rose Buck as the only original cast member from the LWT series. Buck now runs a domestic servant agency after a time away nursing a relative in the country. She returns to 165 Eaton Place as housekeeper to the new owners, the Holland family, with Dame Eileen Atkins playing one of the characters upstairs.

There are no explanations as to what has happened to Lady Bellamy, Georgina, Lord Stockbridge, as well as Mr. Hudson, Mrs. Bridges, Edward, Daisy, and Ruby during that six-year period. In fact, in the first installment, the Bellamy family and the original staff are only fleetingly referred to when Mrs. Thackeray, the new cook, refers to 165 Eaton Place as "the Bellamy house". However, Rose does mention Lord Bellamy as "the late" meaning he is dead by 1936. Also, there are scenes with Rose serving tea to Lady Agnes and Mrs. Thackeray at her domestic agency. Rose mentions that the teapot was given to her as a gift by Lord and Lady Bellamy in appreciation for all her years of service to the family. Also, in another scene when Lady Agnes gives Rose the keys to the wine cellar, she mentions that they had belonged to Mr. Hudson. Rose takes the keys and looks at them, smiling, in a very nostalgic way.

The two episodes were to be made in-house by BBC Wales as a co-production with Masterpiece on PBS.[2]

In August 2010, the BBC announced that the new series would consist of three hour-long episodes, with Keeley Hawes, Ed Stoppard, Anne Reid, Claire Foy, Adrian Scarborough, Art Malik, Ellie Kendrick and Nico Mirallegro joining Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins in the cast.[3] In the middle of August 2010, filming started in Cardiff, with parts of the city transformed into 1930s Belgravia for exterior scenes, and the interiors shot in BBC's Llandaff studios in Cardiff.[4] Further filming of exterior scenes took place in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire in September 2010 with a terrace in Clarendon Square (by the same architect, Peter Frederick Robinson, as the London square used in the original series[5]) doubling up as Eaton Place.

The new Upstairs Downstairs was scheduled for broadcast on BBC1 with the debut episode shown on 26 December 2010. A soundtrack album of music from the new series by composer Daniel Pemberton is also scheduled for release on iTunes from the same time.[6] The three episodes have been picked up by overseas broadcasters, including ABC in Australia, NRK in Norway, Sky in New Zealand, DR in Denmark, YLE in Finland, IBA in Israel and TV4 in Sweden.[7]

Series 2[edit]

BBC1 recommissioned six 60-minute episodes of the drama to be broadcast in 2012,[8] with Stoppard, Hawes, Reid, Foy, Malik, Ritson, Mirallegro, Scarborough and Jackson all returning to the series. Sarah Gordy and Alexia James, introduced during series 1 as Hallam's Down syndrome-suffering sister Pamela and the household's Jewish ward Lotte respectively, also continue to appear on a recurring basis. Eileen Atkins does not appear in series 2, having stated in the press that she was unhappy with the development of her character;[9] the character of Maud therefore dies before the series resumes. Ellie Kendrick also left the cast, with the character of Ivy replaced in the household with Eunice McCabe (Ami Metcalf) between the two series.

Marsh was unable to attend the majority of filming for the series after suffering from a stroke and heart attack, with scripts altered shortly before filming to accommodate her absence.[10][11] On-screen Rose is confined to a sanatorium after contracting tuberculosis, and appears in two scenes over the series.

Other new additions to the cast include Alex Kingston as the younger half-sister of Maud, Blanche Mottershead and Laura Haddock as maid Beryl Ballard. Special guest stars in the series include Kenneth Cranham as Sergeant Ashworth, Michael Landes as American multimillionaire Caspar Landry, Emilia Fox as Blanche's lover Lady Portia Alresford and Sarah Lancashire as Violet Whisset, a love interest for Mr Pritchard. Derbyshire manufacturer The Dolls House Emporium supplied a period 'Montgomery Hall' dollhouse as a prop for the 2012 series.[12]

Characters[edit]

Upstairs[edit]

Actor Character Episode Count Series
Ed Stoppard Sir Hallam Holland, Bt 9 1–2
Keeley Hawes Lady Agnes Holland 9 1–2
Eileen Atkins Maud, Lady Holland 3 1
Claire Foy Lady Persephone Towyn 9 1–2
Alex Kingston Dr Blanche Mottershead 5 2
Blake Ritson Duke of Kent 8 1–2

Downstairs[edit]

Actor Character Episode Count Series
Jean Marsh Rose Buck 5 1–2
Anne Reid Clarice Thackeray 9 1–2
Adrian Scarborough Warwick Pritchard 9 1–2
Art Malik Amanjit Singh 9 1–2
Helen Bradbury Rachel Perlmutter 1 1
Alexia James Lotte Perlmutter 4 1–2
Neil Jackson Harry Spargo 9 1–2
Nico Mirallegro Johnny Proude 8 1–2
Ellie Kendrick Ivy Morris 3 1
Laura Haddock Beryl Ballard 6 2
Ami Metcalf Eunice McCabe 6 2

Plot[edit]

Sir Hallam Holland, a young diplomat, moves into the townhouse along with his wife, Lady Agnes, in January 1936 shortly before the death of George V. They engage former parlourmaid Rose Buck, now running her own agency for domestic servants, to find them staff as they renovate the house to its former glory after years of being mothballed.

As they settle into London life, they are soon confronted with Lady Agnes' fiery young sister Lady Persephone, Sir Hallam's overbearing widowed mother, who moves herself into the house along with secretary and pet monkey, and a young, barely-trained house staff serving under a reluctant head housemaid. Added to these stressors are the still-plangent memory of Lady Agnes's past miscarriage, a mystery surrounding Sir Hallam's sister, who died as an infant, and a surprise foster-child they feel obliged to maintain.

Downstairs, life goes on much as it always has. Rose, convinced to remain, hires a staff of strong young hopefuls, to assist her trusted friend the Cook, and the well-credentialled new butler. Besides training the young servants and navigating between her old memories and the new demands of the house, Rose must also help train Lady Agnes in the ways and manner of running a townhouse. The new downstairs family slowly begins to pull together as a unit, overcoming obstacles of age, class and race as they come to know one another's stories.

Episodes[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Series premiere Series finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 3 26 December 2010 (2010-12-26) 28 December 2010 (2010-12-28) 26 April 2011 (2011-04-26) 7 February 2011 (2011-02-07) 1 December 2011 (2011-12-01)
2 6 19 February 2012 (2012-02-19) 25 March 2012 (2012-03-25) N/A 23 April 2012 (2012-04-23)[13] N/A

Series 1 (2010)[edit]

The first series began airing in the UK in December 2010. These episodes were featured in the U.S. on PBS's Masterpiece Classic in April 2011. VisionTV in Canada premiered the episodes in October 2011. ABC1 in Australia began airing the series on 4 December 2011.

(1936)

Series No. Episode No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
(million)[14]
1 1 "The Fledgling" Euros Lyn Heidi Thomas 26 December 2010 8.85
January & February 1936 Sir Hallam Holland and his wife Lady Agnes inherit 165 Eaton Place, and set about restoring the house. Former housemaid Rose Buck finds herself back in the house where she was happiest, and the arrival of an unwelcome guest—namely Sir Hallam's mother, the widowed Lady Maud Holland—puts a strain on relations, both upstairs and down.
2 2 "The Ladybird" Euros Lyn Heidi Thomas 27 December 2010 8.13
Sir Hallam finds his diplomatic skills put to the test at home as well as at work. The servants are intrigued by a mysterious new addition to the household, while a restless Lady Persie embarks on a dangerous flirtation, and is drawn to the thrill of fascist politics.
3 3 "The Cuckoo" Saul Metzstein Heidi Thomas 28 December 2010 8.18
October - December 1936. Sir Hallam finds himself at the centre of a national crisis when his friend, the Duke of Kent, asks for help. Meanwhile, storm clouds are gathering within 165 Eaton Place, with Lady Agnes's growing fear over the imminent arrival of her baby, and the servants' concern for Lotte, who refuses to speak. But, as the King finally abdicates, Hallam makes a discovery that will change his life forever.

Series 2 (2012)[edit]

(1938-39)

Series No. Episode No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
(million)[14]
4 1 "A Faraway Country About Which We Know Nothing" Marc Jobst Heidi Thomas 19 February 2012 7.87
September 1938. Hallam's concerns over Germany lead to an unexpected encounter. Following Maud's death and the birth of her second child, Agnes is glad for the support from Maud's younger sister, Professor Blanche Mottershead. However, not everyone is as pleased with her continued presence in Eaton Place. Downstairs, new servant Beryl Ballard arrives and catches Harry's eye, and a secret about Mr Pritchard is revealed.
5 2 "The Love That Pays the Price" Marc Jobst Heidi Thomas 26 February 2012 6.70
Agnes is told she can have no more children, and distracts herself by throwing a dinner party where she and Hallam meet American millionaire Caspar Landry. Also attending the dinner is the US Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Joseph P. Kennedy, his wife, Rose, and their son, John F. Kennedy, who makes a brief appearance downstairs. Blanche and Mr Amanjit work to rescue Jewish children from Germany, and after receiving a phonecall from Lady Persie, Agnes convinces her husband to help her sister as well. Meanwhile, with Rose still absent Mr Pritchard and Mrs Thackery's clashes over the running of the household lead to the latter's resignation.
6 3 "A Perfect Specimen of Womanhood" Anthony Byrne Heidi Thomas 4 March 2012 5.86
The house is rocked by controversy when the publication of a scandalous novel exposes Blanche's unconventional lifestyle, bringing her face to face with the author of the book—her former lover, Lady Portia Alresford. But when the passion between the pair reignites, Blanche becomes conflicted. Meanwhile, Persie reveals a shocking secret to Hallam, and Beryl's workload prompts her to take a stand. Lady Agnes is distraught, until a familiar old face offers a few wise words.
7 4 "All the Things You Are" Brendan Maher Steve Thompson 11 March 2012 5.51
Harry signs up for a boxing tournament to impress Beryl, only to be told he is too old for the ring, so he recruits Johnny as his protégé. However, he ends up teaching his young friend fighting skills of a different kind when Johnny receives his call-up papers. Upstairs, the Hollands drift further apart, with Lady Agnes drawn to Caspar Landry, who shows her an exciting world away from Eaton Place, while Sir Hallam becomes distracted by his desire for another woman—and makes a dangerous decision that will change his life forever.
8 5 "The Last Waltz" Brendan Maher Debbie O'Malley 18 March 2012 5.56
Matters of the heart concern the masters and staff of Eaton Place, as Mr Pritchard finds romance at the annual servants' ball, prompting him to wonder if there is more to life than service. Hallam and Persie continue their dangerous affair—only for the diplomat to discover just how destructive his actions have been. Harry responds to the advent of war by making a proposal to Beryl, but a shocking revelation may put paid to his plans.
9 6 "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" Anthony Byrne Heidi Thomas 25 March 2012 5.22
August - September 1939 Lady Agnes returns home, desperate to heal the rift in her marriage, and Sir Hallam is more than willing to make amends for his part in their troubles. But a dark discovery leaves them reeling and looks set to change the landscape of Eaton Place permanently. On the eve of war, Beryl and Harry race against time to get married, while a shame-faced Mr Pritchard packs his bags after his behaviour, leaving the running of the house in chaos—until an old familiar face, Rose Buck, lends a hand.

Reception[edit]

Series 1 was aired in the UK over three consecutive nights commencing 26 December 2010. It was a substantial ratings success—garnering viewing figures of 8.85, 8.13 and 8.18 million respectively,[15] and winning its slot against all seasonal competition.[16] The programme was nominated for six Primetime Emmy awards in 2011.[17]

The second series of six episodes began on 19 February, with an audience of 7.78 million, but by the time it ended on 25 March, the viewing figures had dropped to 5.22 million. Part of the reason may have been Marsh's absence from the second series (except for two cameo appearances), which left the programme both without a unifying centre of attention and the only remaining link to the original show. It was confirmed on 21 April that Upstairs Downstairs would not be returning for a third series.[18]

Soundtrack[edit]

Composer Carl Davis was brought in for the second series, composing new incidental music, occasionally using elements from Alexander Faris original theme for the original 1971 series - which was popularised as single release by Mantovani. Davis' music was released as a soundtrack album.[19] The soundtrack was nominated for the Ivor Novello Awards in 2013, but did not win.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Upstairs Downstairs axed by the BBC after two series". BBC News. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Press release (10 October 2009). "Upstairs Downstairs to be revived by BBC". BBC. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  3. ^ Press release (30 July 2010). "Star line-up announced for BBC One's Upstairs Downstairs". BBC. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Remake of Upstairs Downstairs filming in Wales". Wales Online 13 August 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  5. ^ Hardcastle, Ephraim (10 December 2010). Daily Mail. p. 17. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  6. ^ "Upstairs Downstairs (Soundtrack from the TV Series) Daniel Pemberton". iTunes. 
  7. ^ Rosser, Michael (1 March 2011). "BBCW takes 'Upstairs' Down Under". Broadcast. Retrieved 1 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Neilan, Catherine (11 February 2011). "Upstairs extended for 2012". Broadcast. 
  9. ^ Jones, Paul (22 August 2011). "Eileen Atkins pulls out of Upstairs Downstairs". Radio Times. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Jean Marsh to miss start of Upstairs Downstairs". BBC News. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Vicky Frost (31 January 2012). "Upstairs Downstairs is not another Downton Abbey, says Heidi Thomas". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "Dolls House TV prop". Derby Telegraph. 
  13. ^ "Upstairs Downstairs – Series 2 [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Keeley Hawes, Ed Stoppard, Claire Foy, Jean Marsh, Heidi Thomas: Film & TV". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Weekly Viewing Summary (see relevant week)". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. 
  15. ^ "Broadcasters Audience Research Board Weekly Top 30". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  16. ^ Plunkett, John (30 December 2010). "Upstairs Downstairs wins its slot, but Downton Abbey did it better". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  17. ^ "Upstairs Downstairs — Emmys.com". www.emmys.com. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  18. ^ "'Upstairs Downstairs' dropped by BBC". Digital Spy. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "Carl Davis composes the music for Upstairs Downstairs". 21 February 2012.

External links[edit]