The Grand - Complete Collection
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As the most opulent hotel in Manchester, England, during the decadent Roaring 20s, The Grand is more than a building. Its a nexus for schemes, scandals, romance, and intrigue. For owner John Bannerman, The Grand symbolizes a tradition of luxury and elegance begun by his father. For Marcus Bannerman, it becomes a risky investment and a way to entice his brothers wife into bed. And for the maids and porters employed there, it represents a possible escape from their hardscrabble past--and an endless source of backstairs gossip.
Written by Russell T Davies (Casanova, Touching Evil) and featuring three-time Emmy®-winner Susan Hampshire, this is addictive period drama in the tradition of Upstairs, Downstairs and The Duchess of Duke Street. Divided by class and circumstance or tied together by love and loyalty, the myriad characters who populate The Grand prove unforgettable.
Written by Queer as Folk author Russell T. Davies, The Grand features an ever-surprising plot propelled by strong characters, their loyalties, rivalries, and revelations. The large and adept cast portrays the hotel guests, staff, and owners. This diverse ensemble re-creates an era when class distinctions between the upper and working classes were all-important. The Grand's doorman acts as a cultural interpreter between the posh owners and the working-class staff. The sets and costumes are done with a remarkable attention to detail that will please both Anglophiles and PBS fans. --Tara Chace
Top Customer Reviews
It ranks along side series giants like The Pallisers, The Barchester Chronicles, and Monarch of the Glen. Part of the reason might be that Susan Hampshire (3-Emmy winner) stars in all of those. She is outstanding in The Grand, playing Miss Harkness, a resident of the Grand, a prostitute, and proud of it. It takes a bit of acceptance, at first, seeing her as a lady of the evening,, instead of someone like Lady Glencora Palliser. Hampshire scores a perfect 10 for this performance.
Mrs. Harvey, played by Christine Mackie, is the Grand's head housekeeper. She acts and sounds quite like Gemma Jones in The Duchess of Duke Street. In my opinion, Mackie performs equally as fine with her character as Harness, as Jones did as the Duchess. She keeps the downstairs servants in tow and in their working class place--or tries to (similar to Upstairs, Downstairs). She and her counterpart, Mr. Jacob Collins, the hall porter (Tim Healy) are a huge part of the success of the stories linked together by the interconnected lives of the people who own, live and work at the Grand.
Marcus Bannerman (Mark McGann) is a ruthless owner you'll soon learn to love to hate.
It would take 18 reviews for the 18 episodes to tell the story.Read more ›
The Grand takes place in a high class hotel in Manchester and examines the relationships between the family that owns the hotel, the staff that works at the hotel and the guests that stay in the hotel. Made over ten years ago, The Grand doesn't have the magnificent production values of Downton Abbey but replaces that with a gritty realism that is at times disturbing.
WWI has recently ended and England is in the midst of the social changes that will transform the world by the end of WWII. People in service are not only daring to dream of something better, they are actively pursuing a better life and questioning the class system that has held all of Britain for centuries. The tension between these strivings and a normal fear of change by those in the middle and upper classes provides the narrative tension for this drama.
None of the characters are particularly likeable but they are realistic and their struggles to better themselves or maintain their style of life ring true and are very emotionally affecting. Unlike Upstairs, Downstairs or Downton Abbey, The Grand examines the differences between the middle class and the working class rather than between the aristocracy and the working class. Lord Crawley wouldn't have the family that owns the Grand to dinner.
Other reviewers have commented on the political agenda and the lack of likable characters in the series. These criticisms are fair only up to a point. Life was very difficult in post-war England, a fact that many English dramas minimize.Read more ›
Instead, this was a seamy (and at times steamy) and trashed up soap opera. I failed to like or even feel sympathetic for the majority of the characters and, in real life, I would NOT have cared to stay an hour at a time with any of them. Why, then, would I sacrifice an hour of my time watching them?
Within the first two episodes, we're "treated" to someone blowing his brains out (focus on all that blood on the wall, please), a masochistic pervert being serviced by a former whore, and a swarmy villain who might as well have had a handlebar moustache to twirl.
Another reviewer noted, "This series has everything one could want: love, hate, war vets, lust, deceit, betrayal, money, and power." The problem for me was that it lacked compassion, affection, likeable people and all the other positive characteristics and activities that make a show worth viewing.
So, if you go into it knowing beforehand that it is a melodramatic dip into the dirty end of the pool, you may like it. If you are hoping for something with more smiles than sneers, or something closer to the "old style" Masterpiece Theater, you may -- like me -- decide that it just isn't that grand.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is another of a series of unmatched films! The story is so compelling and based on such real life worlds. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Evangeline
I really enjoy this period and this story was fun and a great ending.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Saw it years ago - pre- Downton Abbey- and it stuck in my memory. I wanted some day to get it on Dvd. Susan Hampshire's best role.Published 8 months ago by B. Tanke
I was a bit disappointed in the story line. I finished it and gave it to Good Will. Sorry!Published 8 months ago by Rowan Fay