Upstairs Downstairs: Season 2 [DVD]

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Special Features

  • Cast and crew interviews


The first season of the British drama series Upstairs, Downstairs takes place from November 1903 through June 1909, an era popularly known as "Edwardian" in honor of King Edward VII. Fans of the series will notice that the familiar characters are still in the developmental process during the first 13 episodes--especially the Bellamy's cook Mrs. Bridges (Angela Baddeley), who comes off as a nasty virago and a closet boozer! Penned by novelist Fay Weldon, who won a Writers' Guild Award for her efforts, the opening episode "On Trial" (originally filmed in black and white due to budgetary limitations, but reshot in color for syndication) introduces Pauline Collins as the Bellamy household's troublesome new under-housemaid, who after trying to pass herself off as a Frenchwoman named Clemence is revealed to be a cockney named Sarah (or at least she settles on Sarah!). Forced to leave the house in disgrace after an unpleasant incident involving duplicitous manservant Alfred (George Innes), Sarah ends up living in squalor, a plight that touches her former employers Richard and Marjorie Bellamy (David Langton ,Rachel Gurney) to the extent that she is rehired--which proves in later episodes to be major mistake! In other developments, the Bellamys' rebellious daughter Elizabeth (Nicola Pagett) shocks her family by choosing "progressive" poet Lawrence Kirbridge (Ian Ogilvy) as her fiancée, a decision culminating in marriage at season's end. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's irresponsible brother James plunges into the first of several misbegotten liasons, this one with a flashy actress. The season's best and most famous episode is "I Dies from Love", the story of a tragic "downstairs" romance. When the first season of Upstairs, Downstairs was picked up for American play in January of 1974, it was combined with the series' second season, which takes place in the years 1908-1909. Of the 26 combined episodes, only 13 initially aired in the US, allowing PBS to bill the remaining 13 as "the lost episodes" a few decades later! ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • Alistair Cooke
  • Gordon Jackson - Hudson
  • David Langton - Richard Bellamy
  • Jean Marsh - Rose
  • Angela Baddeley - Mrs. Bridges
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