Upstairs, members of the aristocratic Bellamy family lead their privileged lives, seemingly oblivious to the goings-on downstairs, where the serving staff steers the household on an even course. Every complex character in both these worlds has a tale to tell. Now devotees (of which there are millions) of the landmark BBC series can revisit 165 Eaton Place and revel again in an extraordinary domestic drama. Thirty years after this award-winning phenomenon first aired, all 68 episodes have been digitally remastered as a DVD set, which includes the retrospective Upstairs, Downstairs Remembered: The 25th Anniversary Special. Over 57 hours on 20 DVDs. Simon Says: The postmodern mind posits that there's nothing new under the sun; we just shuffle it around. Witness a 1999 episode of Cosby. Coz has fallen asleep during an I-Spy television marathon and Robert Culp, still in his I-Spy character of Kelly Robinson, appears to him in a dream. The episode is titled "My Spy."
This seminal British television series is just as enjoyable now as when it first aired in the early 1970s. Richard (David Langton), Lady Marjorie (Rachel Gurney), and their son James (Simon Williams) comprise the aristocratic Bellamy family that reside upstairs while their loyal servants--including butler Hudson (Gordon Jackson), cook Mrs. Bridges (Angela Baddeley), and housemaid Rose (Jean Marsh)--maintain the household from downstairs. The series follows the upper-class family's troubles as times change and the ongoing lives of their resilient staff. Upstairs Downstairs: The Complete Series contains 68 episodes on 20 DVDs, as well as the series retrospective Upstairs Downstairs Remembered: the 25th Anniversary Special. Initially set in 1904, the first season comprises 13 episodes, 5 of which are 5 black-and-white episodes not aired during the first season of the original U.S. broadcast. The second season's 13 episodes cover various relationship problems and an appearance of King Edward VII. The third season's 13 episodes follow the London household through the prewar years (1912-1914). Outstanding cast performances and the dramatic backdrop of the Great War give the fourth season, set in 1914 to 1918, its reputation as the best of the five. Due to limited filming budgets, the war is largely seen through home-front activities. The 16 episodes of the fifth and final season cover the swinging '20s to the stock market crash (1919-30). The episodes of the fifth season are more self-contained than other seasons' and every bit as entertaining. The series ends with Rose locking up the empty house, closing the door on one of TV's most popular and acclaimed shows. Whether you first met the Bellamys and their delightfully enjoyable downstairs entourage in the 1970s or are just getting to know them now, the superb acting and compelling character development will always be the real reason to watch Upstairs Downstairs. The megaset was rereleased in 2005 along with the spinoff series, Thomas and Sarah. --Tara Chace