Now that PBS is presenting a sequel to their long-running and popular Masterpiece Theatre series Upstairs, Downstairs, fans may be interested to know that a book was written which delved deeper into the making of the series and the era and lifestyle it represented. The World of Upstairs, Downstairs by Mollie Hardwick (Holt Rinehart Winston, 1976) gives us a closer, more detailed view of life during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Great Britain for the privileged and their servants, and everyone in-between.
(We have one copy available at Old Scrolls Book Shop!).(UPDATE: SORRY…our copy has been sold!)
The original “Upstairs, Downstairs” drama focused on the lives of a wealthy London family as well as its servants from 1903 to 1930; it first aired in Great Britain from 1971 to 1975, and in America from 1974 to 1977, running 68 shows. Believe it or not, Masterpiece first turned this series down; they didn’t feel it appropriate for Masterpiece because it wasn’t an adaptation of a classic. BAFTA, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning Upstairs, Downstairs was phenomenally successful in it’s original run, and is considered Masterpiece Theatre’s most popular and beloved series in their history.
The year is 1936 at the opening of the new Upstairs Downstairs (note lack of comma in new title), and we are back at the same house at 165 Eaton Place. King Edward is on the verge of abdicating the throne to marry American Wallis Simpson, and Hitler is making inroads in Europe. The three-part series began airing in the U.S. on Sunday, April 10th and will be followed by episodes on April 17th and 24th. There is talk of more episodes to come, which should make all the fans of this exquisite series very happy.
See Upstairs Downstairs on PBS stations on Sunday nights at 9 (April 10, 17 & 24 – check local listings).
Produced by the BBC and Masterpiece on PBS. Created and written by Heidi Thomas; originally created by Jean Marsh, Eileen Atkins, John Hawesworth and John Whitney; directed by Euros Lyn (Episodes 1 and 2) and Saul Metzstein (Episode 3); Piers Wenger, Ms. Thomas, and Kate Harwood executive producers; Rebecca Eaton, executive producer for Masterpiece; Nikki Wilson, producer.