TV UK TV

Upstairs Downstairs (ITV 1971-1975, Gordon Jackson, Jean Marsh)

upstairs-downstairs-cast

Period drama series Upstairs Downstairs detailed 30 years in the life of the Bellamy family and their below stairs servants between the years 1903 and 1930.

An incredibly popular series in the UK and abroad with the episodes taking in all the key historical moments with the first Mrs Bellamy being on the Titanic went it went down, several of the household getting caught up in the carnage of world war one and later James Bellamy losing all the family money in the Wall Street Crash.

When the series began head of the household was Lord Richard Bellamy (played by David Langton) and his wife Lady Marjorie (Rachel Gurney), their son Captain James Bellamy (Simon Williams) was more interested in enjoying himself and daughter Elizabeth (Nicola Pagett) was on the verge of making her way in the world. Below stairs running things were Butler Hudson and cook Mrs Bridges.

More personal moments included James getting maid Sarah pregnant, and at the series end butler Hudson getting married to cook Mrs Bridges. There was also a brief sequel called Thomas and Sarah that focused on two popular servants, the Thomas and Sarah of the title, striking out on their own.

Upstairs Downstairs

Upstairs and Downstairs joined together when the Great War broke out.

The series was created by star Jean Marsh and fellow actress Eileen Atkins but scheduling conflicts meant Eileen was unable to then commit to a part in the show. In 2010 there was a surprising short lived revival which starred Keeley Hawes and once again Jean Marsh but it never caught on and then almost immediately along came Downton Abbey which was the true heir to the series and proving just as popular as Upstairs Downstairs was in the 1970’s.

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television – Sagitta / 68×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 10 October 1971 – 21 December 1975

Creators: Jean Marsh, Eileen Atkins / Theme Music: Alexander Faris / Script Editor: Alfred Shaughnessy / Executive Producer: Rex Firkin / Producer: John Hawkesworth

cast
GORDON JACKSON as Angus Hudson
JEAN MARSH as Rose
SIMON WILLIAMS as Captain James Bellamy
ANGELA BADDELEY as Mrs Kate Bridges
DAVID LANGTON as Lord Richard Bellamy
RACHEL GURNEY as Lady Marjorie Bellamy
NICOLA PAGETT as Elizabeth Bellamy
LESLEY-ANNE DOWN as Georgina Worsley
PAULINE COLLINS as Sarah
JOHN ALDERTON as Thomas
HANNAH GORDON as Virginia Hamilton
JENNY TOMASIN as Ruby
CHRISTOPHER BEENY as Edward
JACQUELINE TONG as Daisy
IAN OLGILVY as Laurence Kirbridge
GARETH HUNT as Frederick