Sunday, December 26, 2010

Upstairs Downstairs...again

Halleluia! They didn't make a mess of it. It's not the same obviously. My Mam isn't sitting by the fire, a tiddly on the mantlepiece and her sewing on her lap. I'm not just out of my bath, tartan dressing-gowned and slippered, cup of milky tea and two Marietta biscuits, dying to see the goings on of the Bellamy household. Mam loved the Upstairs crowd, I far preferred Downstairs. The servant classes had to work harder but at least (apart from Mr Hudson) they could more or less be themselves once that Upstairs lot weren't about.

What am I talking about? Why the new three part Upstairs Downstairs that started on BBC1 tonight of course.

No. 165 is revisited in 1936 - a different world in some ways to the one the Bellamy family left and a world that is about to change again, this time irrevocably. Rose, loyal servant of the house for 40 years is the only original cast member back, helping the new Lord and Lady staff and run their house on a shoestring. A sassy kitchen maid, a wonderful cook who loves to cook but only for discerning palates, a marvelous butler with all sorts of little habits. A cheeky chauffeur. A bit of a brat of a sister to the lady of the house. Germans. Wallis Simpson. A delightfully eccentric mother-in-law. A fight over a girl. Superb costuming and casting. And of course that glorious house - always as much a character in the series as any cast member. I laughed when I saw the maid pushing and upright vacuum cleaner on the landing for I remembered being horrified that Rose and Daisy had to daily hand sweep all those stairs 'in the olden days'.

So yes, as a piece of nostalgia it fully satisfied me, I wonder what those viewers without that viewpoint thought? I did feel that the female 'upper' class characters were a little vacuous and somewhat reminiscent of characters from the endless Agatha Christie remakes, I think British TV and film really ought to move on from these - they've been done to death (bad pun - ouch permitted).

However overall it worked for me - gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling Christmas fails to give me now that Santa has deserted the house. I had a little weep and a little smile and was glad to conjure up some happy memories of childhood Saturday nights.

Plus I'm dying to see what happens next.

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