"Great fun and marvelous television" --The New York Times
"One of the brightest gems ever to come over the ocean from the British" --The Washington Post
Upstairs: the wealthy, aristocratic Bellamys. Downstairs: their loyal and lively servants. For nearly 30 years, they share a fashionable townhouse at 165 Eaton Place in London’s posh Belgravia neighborhood, surviving social change, political upheaval, scandals, and the horrors of the First World War.
The most popular and successful British drama series in television history, Upstairs, Downstairs won seven Emmy® Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody. This epic saga of life and love in Edwardian England captivated viewers for five heart-tugging, humorous, and satisfying seasons. Seen by a billion people in over 40 countries, it’s beloved around the world.
The ensemble cast of top British actors includes Jean Marsh (Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse), Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine), David Langton (The Spoils of War), Gordon Jackson (The Professionals), Simon Williams (Sword of Honour), and Lesley-Anne Down (North and South).
Acorn Media's 40th Anniversary Edition of the beloved British TV series aims to be definitive, and it is: at 21 discs and something like 28 hours (including the audio commentaries) of bonus material, it replaces previous collections of the show. Perhaps the most significant aspect of this release is the improved video and audio quality of the episodes, an upgrade that addresses a complaint about previous editions. This version includes a 1996 documentary, Upstairs Downstairs Remembered, which provides a useful overview, but there's also a new offering, The Making of Upstairs Downstairs, which clocks in at more than 4 hours and has everything you'd want in behind-the-scenes info. We also get segments featuring 1970s British chat show host Russell Harty interviewing cast members, which are flip and amusing, and capture some of the surprise of the show's huge success. (There's also an odd Harty special passing through the Upstairs Downstairs set, with the cast in character, just after the final episode.) Shorter pieces highlight writer Alfred Shaughnessy and composer Alexander Faris. The commentary tracks, more than 20 of them, might be the real fun of the set. The participants are exceptionally articulate and amusing, especially whenever Jean Marsh or Simon Williams is around; the first episode also features novelist Fay Weldon, who scripted a few shows. There's good dish on the quirks of actors, on how certain episodes took final shape, and even disagreements about the meaning of it all. Wonderful stuff for devotees. --Robert Horton