Friday, April 22, 2011

Masterpiece Classic: "Upstairs Downstairs" Decades Later

Upstairs Downstairs is an updated version of one of the most-loved television series. Jean Marsh reprises her Emmy-winning role as Rose Buck, along with series co-creator Eileen Atkins (Cranford). Keeley Hawes, Ed Stoppard, and Art Malik (The Jewel in the Crown) also star.

This video gives a humorous and dramatic background about the three-part series.

Part 1 starts tonight at 9 p.m. Part 2 follows at 10 p.m. Part 3 airs next Friday, April 29 at 9 p.m. (with a special presentation of "The Unseen Alistair Cooke" at 10 p.m.)

When the master of 165 Eaton Place, Sir Hallam Holland, carries his wife across the threshold of their new home, Lady Agnes exclaims with pleasure, "What a ghastly old mausoleum!" Neglect has strewn cobwebs everywhere and furred the surfaces with dust. But with a sumptuous renovation and the help of the indomitable housekeeper Rose Buck (Jean Marsh), the iconic address so beloved in the original series Upstairs Downstairs is soon restored to its former glory.

It's 1936, a tumultuous time in Britain, and within the walls of 165 Eaton Place, characters from an orphanage, a damp Welsh castle, the heart of the British Raj and elsewhere together will face a changing world, not just upstairs and downstairs, but side by side. Written by Heidi Thomas (Cranford, Madame Bovary), Upstairs Downstairs stars co-creators of the original series Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins (Cranford, Bertie and Elizabeth). Also starring are Ed Stoppard (Any Human Heart), Keeley Hawes (Wives and Daughters), and Claire Foy (Little Dorrit).