Customer Review

93 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have seen the COMPLETE original series and recommend all-old & new, March 21, 2011
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This review is from: Upstairs, Downstairs (2010) (DVD)
Here's the old and new UP/Down info. After airing of "The Forsyte Saga" (a must series also), Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh dreamed up the "Upstairs Downstairs" concept. Jean stared as Rose in the 70s TV blockbuster, and now continues that role in the continuation of the story on Brit TV (Dec '10). 3 episodes (alas only 3) advance the story now to 1936, with a new cast (excepting Marsh who is in both the old and new) and also now including Atkins as Maud. You get the same house, same music, same title. After "Upstairs Downstairs" the pair of actresses combined again in creating "The House of Elliott", another period saga, bloody good Brit drama, an absolute must own "complete collection."

No disappointment from me or my wife with the 2010 3 episode addition compared to the older TV blockbuster series. The new cast keeps up the believable, compelling stories and character delight. Rose and the house (+ music) gives the old lovers the flavor of the past, even if the interior has been redecorated to 1936. It takes only the 1st episode to fall in love with the new upstairs and downstairs families of 165. Excellent cast. With the long bonus feature, there is a hint at more. For me...like handing a fat man a box of chocolates and asking, "Do you want more?" YES!

Interesting that they had the "to be King Geo VI" in the show, prior to the abdication of his King brother, and he did not stutter. After the success of "The King's Speech" about the same time as this series release, that bit of trivia is evident.

As for the original "Upstairs Downstairs" series. It is 27-year span epic winning 9 Emmys, 2 BAFTAs, Golden Globe & a Peabody Award, 31 nominations. The aristocratic Bellamy's of 165 Eaton Place, London, live upstairs over the downstairs clockwork servant aid led by butler Hudson (Gordon Jackson). Classic Edwardian masterful plots in this funny and dramatic back time-travel over 3 decades inside the Bellamy house. A crowning British achievement in the 70's and worth owning today. Since it's period drama it never goes out of style. It's a British TV saga classic.

Sir Richard Bellamy MP (David Langton) and Lady Marjorie (Rachel Gurney) have heir Lt James (Simon Williams) and Miss Elizabeth (Nicola Pagett-`A Bit of a Do') who need quite a crew downstairs to keep their house in order. Mrs. Bridges (Angela Brddeley) cooks up a storm, while maid Rose (Jean Marsh, co-creator) helps keep linens and affairs tidy. The pilot (an alternate plot pilot available) introduces new servant Sarah (Pauline Collins), who adds saucy spice to the house on both ends of the stairs. Footman Alfred (George Innes) who quotes Bible, Perce (Brian Osborne) is lady's-man coachman during carriage years, Thomas (John Alderton) chauffeur in later auto episodes. The star studded cast is endless. I strongly recommend you get the 40th Collection and see it while waiting for the new 21st century produced episodes DVD to be released.

This newest release (40th Anniversary Collection) provides 21 discs in 5 solid cases all in the anniversary storage sleeve. Quite an improvement from the earlier release. 68 episodes, each about 50 min. Add 25 bonus hrs and you have a value, not to mention the dynamic dramatic entertainment including romance, mystery, drama, historical significance, humor, suspense, & more. Episodes 2,3,4,5,&7 are B/W due to a technicians strike. Pilot was remade in color. The features + bonus time total divided by the current Amazon price makes the HOURLY entertainment cost less than $1.87. A VALUE! Compare that to the new release with only 3 episodes.

SUBTITLES-Anniversary set OFFERS SUBTITLES,like the new episodes. Helpful for some of us. A Jean Marsh memories insert is included and created in Oct. 2010.
And YES, I bought the new 3 episodes to go with the older episodes. And hoping for more.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 12, 2011 11:36:29 AM PDT
Tank says:
Are you able to compare the DVD quality of the 2010 set versus the previous one? I have the old set and it is not good at all - blurry, episodes cut off, "ghosting" and garbled picture (presumably whomever transferred the recordings did it from a VHS tape that their dog chewed on).

I did learn that new UpDown episodes are being filmed.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2011 12:01:29 PM PDT
Harold Wolf says:
I felt the 2010 new BBC 3 episodes had excellent quality in picture and sound. Of course the original Upstairs Downstairs was taken from TV in the 1970s and the series even started out in BW due to a strike, but the pilot was re-shot in color. Over the years, the picture did get better, but I was quite pleased with the quality of my earlier UpDown set as well, remembering what they had to work from. New technology does help. The 40th Anniversary DVD set is the newest, best, and the form I own. That's a different company than this new 3-episode series on DVD. I understand that company tried fixing some of the picture which was not as acceptable when the new 40th was released. Can't prove that, but I did read it somewhere.
I too saw that new episodes beyond the 2010 3-series is in the making. Can't wait.

Posted on Aug 19, 2012 2:20:17 PM PDT
Hi there!

Just an FYI that the George who we see in the series is NOT the future king George VI (The King's Speech guy) but his youngest brother, the Duke of Kent, who died in the 1940s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_George,_Duke_of_Kent

Posted on Jan 24, 2013 7:11:03 AM PST
Betsy says:
Harold, does the newer Upstairs Downstairs have subtitles? I have the 40th anniversary edition of the original upstairs downstairs and love it. The subtitles/CC were very helpful on the 40th anniversary edition. A great review as usual. Betsy

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2013 11:59:39 AM PST
Harold Wolf says:
Yes, Betsy, the new K. Hawes UD has SUBTITLES as well as the anniversary set of the older show.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2013 12:18:05 PM PST
Betsy says:
Thanks Harold, I am going to purchase them even though I understand the show has been canceled. I love UD - had the older version and recently bought the new one.
The Brits know how to write a good story.
Betsy
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