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Upstairs, Downstairs - Collector's Edition Megaset (The Complete Series plus Thomas and Sarah)

4.4 out of 5 stars 450 customer reviews

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(Mar 29, 2011)
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Anniversary ed.
$109.95 $70.00
(Oct 25, 2005)
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Collector's Edition
$149.99 $68.70

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

All 68 Episodes of the Landmark Series On 20 DVDs! Upstairs, the Bellamy family negotiated the scandals and successes of the English aristocracy. Downstairs, their loyal and lively servants showed far less reserve when confronting the challenges of their lives. Together, their stories made TV magic.When UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS debuted, network executives fretted that the series was not commercial and viewers would switch off in the thousands. More than thirty years later, it is universally recognized as one of the most successful and important shows in television history, seen by over 1 billion people worldwide and the winner of 9 Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Peabody, among many other awards.Take a final journey back to 165 Eaton Place with this comprehensive set featuring all 68 episodes of the unforgettable masterpiece, digitally remastered for presentation on DVD. The collection also includes the rarely-seen retrospective Upstairs Downstairs Remembered: The 25th Anniversary Special.


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 homefront 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. --Tara Chace

Also included in the Collector's Edition Megaset is the spinoff series Thomas and Sarah, in which two of Upstairs Downstairs' most colorful characters were given a series of their own: Thomas the chauffer (John Alderton, Calendar Girls) and Sarah the parlor maid (Pauline Collins, Shirley Valentine). The series charted the social and financial escapades of this dubious pair, who lived together without getting married and were as comfortable with con artistry as lawful employment. The tone and quality of these 13 episodes varies from social commentary to light adventure, but at its best Thomas and Sarah could match its illustrious forebear. The first episode starts things off on a smart, satirical note: Thomas disturbs Sarah's carefully fabricated new identity when, to woo her back into his arms, he concocts a new persona of his own. But it's a handful of later episodes that are truly remarkable. In one, Sarah tells Thomas that she's pregnant to forestall his dream of emigrating to America. When he learns that she's lied to him, he enacts a vicious revenge; Alderton's performance is both convincing and frightening. In another, success in the stock market leads Thomas and Sarah to hire servants of their own--with decidedly uncomfortable results (Nigel Hawthorne, The Madness of King George, appears as a stern and rigid butler). The exploration of class is clever, subtle, and insightful. A second season was never produced due to a strike, but this single season remains a fascinating portrait of the Edwardian era, sparkling with superb acting and writing. Collins and Alderton create two engaging, contradictory, and utterly vivid characters, worthy of your time. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • All 81 episodes of Upstairs Downstairs and Thomas and Sarah on 24 discs
  • Bonus Series Retrospective: "Upstairs Downstairs Remembered: The 25th Anniversary Special"
  • Household Hierarchy and Job Duties

Product Details

  • Actors: Gordon Jackson, David Langton, Jean Marsh, Angela Baddeley, Christopher Beeny
  • Directors: Bill Bain, Christopher Hodson, Derek Bennett, Raymond Menmuir
  • Format: Color, Collector's Edition, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 24
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 4144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (450 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,532 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Upstairs, Downstairs - Collector's Edition Megaset (The Complete Series plus Thomas and Sarah)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. L. Morrow on December 5, 2005
Format: DVD
I have no idea why some of the reviewers are complaining about the audio and video quality of these DVDs. Because of those reviews I almost did not buy this set. That would have been a grave error. I suppose, if you are some type of audio/video expert you might find a few reasons to complain, but this is a 35 year old British TV show. If you expect special effects, buy Star Wars, not Upstairs Downstairs. The quality of the audio and video was quite acceptable and certainly better than when it originally aired. (It should also be remembered that the first season was filmed during a technicians strike.)

As for the show itself, Upstairs Downstairs is one of the greatest TV shows ever filmed. It is an extremely entertaining examination of the British class system from 1900 to 1930 (particularly what happened to it as a result of WWI). After you have watched a couple of shows, you will have difficulty turning them off.
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It wasn't commercial. It wasn't conventional. It dealt with issues not often talked about in the early 70s, both the social issues that permiate through the series, and also such issues, in certain episodes, as prejudice, suicide, and homosexuality.
This is the story of the Bellamy household at 165 Eaton Place, London, both the upstairs family (the Bellamy family, led by Richard Bellamy, a member of Parliament) and the downstairs family (the servants, led by Angus Hudson, the butler, who in his way is more aristocratic than the aristocrats). Yet in many ways, they are a single family, and we see them from the period 1905 to the 1920s, an era of profound social change, and we see the effects such changes have on this household, from a time when going "into service" was routine to the time when having half a dozen servants for a small upper middle class family such as the Bellamys was beginning to be the exception, not the rule.
The series includes rarely shown episodes from the 1st season, as well as the special, Upstairs Downstairs Remembered: The 25th Anniversary Special. While the special is included with the first series episodes, I would advise waiting until you have viewed the entire series before watching the special, to avoid any plot points being given away.
The acting is wonderful, led by Gordon Jackson (as Hudson, the butler), David Langton (as Richard Bellamy), and Jean Marsh (as house parlormaid Rose Buck). Marsh also originated and guided the series. These three characters seem like rocks, upon which the waves of the social changes beat. Yet they are worn and changed by the events of this incredible era. Nonetheless, this is very much an ensemble cast--no character appears in more than 60 of the 68 episodes.
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I suspect that many people shopping this new release of "Upstairs, Downstairs" for its fortieth anniversary commemoration (which happens to coincide with a new version coming to PBS later in 2011) will already be familiar with the series. Many, like I do, might already own the previous version of the complete series on DVD. It's been out of print for several years, so I'm thrilled to see this magnificent and ground breaking series back on the marketplace. If you have never seen or do not own "Upstairs, Downstairs"--then my recommendation is a no-brainer. Get it! However, what I wanted to know and any previous owners might be itching to know--is it an upgrade worthy of reinvestment?

While I love my current DVD collection, it's not a particularly high quality transfer. After researching this new set through PBS directly, I am reporting that there are NO promises on the reworking of visual or audio components. The same proclamation that was on the last DVD issue is on this one--"digitally remastered for presentation on DVD." So it appears to be a strict reissue, not new re-mastering. It does, however, seem to be drawn from a clearer source material with a cleaner picture quality thankfully. The features of the 68 episodes on 21 DVDs include a 5-part documentary "The Making of Upstairs, Downstairs," 24 episode commentaries, 25th anniversary retrospective "Upstairs, Downstairs Remembered," Interviews with the stars, composer, and editor, Alternate pilot episode, and an essay by star and co-creator Jean Marsh. Obviously the 25th anniversary retrospective was included on the prior release--so that leaves the documentary, some interviews, and commentary and as much as I love "Upstairs, Downstairs"--I can't justify repurchasing the set for this reissue.
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It is no exaggeration to say that this classic early 70's British period drama is one of the all-time best series of its sort ever produced. With sixty-eight 50-minute episodes, the series covers a time span of nearly 30 years (from early Edwardian England in 1903, through the horrors of the First World War, and on into the Roaring 20s, finally concluding with 1929's stock market crash). The setting is the household of the Bellamy family at 165 Eaton Place, London. Upstairs live Richard Bellamy, MP, and his beautiful, aristocratic wife, Lady Margery. The Bellamys have two adult children, Captain James and Elizabeth, who come and go much like a recurring motif (though recurring nightmare might be more appropriate, for they are the source of much grief (albeit unintended) for their society parents). I don't wish to give the storylines, scandals and surprises away. Suffice it to say that as the series progress, there are lovers, marriages, births and deaths (not to mention the arrival of a beautiful young niece) which impact on the relationships and alter the composition of the group above stairs.

Downstairs we are privy to the lives of the servants in the Bellamy household. First and foremost is the devout, inflexible and regimental head butler, Angus Hudson, the staff overlord. Then there is the curmudgeonly but good-hearted cook, Mrs. Bridges. Other memorable characters include the efficient but sheltered head house/parlour maid, Rose Buck; the religious but simple footman, Alfred; his successor, the good-natured Edward, who has an eye for the female staff; the not-overly-bright scullery maid, Emily, and her successor and intellectual equal, Ruby; and Lady Margery's prim and snobbish lady's maid, Miss Roberts.
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