For some bizarre reason, Upstairs Downstairs co-creator Jean Marsh (who also played Rose) found it necessary to kick out at Downton Abbey, hinting (actually, pretty much flat-out saying) that it was a copy of UD: “I think we were all surprised. The new Upstairs Downstairs had been in the works for about three years. We were trying to sort out…40 years of rights and then … Continue reading Upstairs Downstairs vs. Downton Abbey
Previously on Upstairs Downstairs: Housemaid Rachel died suddenly, leaving her child alone in the world, so Hallam took her in, despite his wife’s objections.
Not a moment after walking through the front door, Hallam’s intercepted by his mother, who bitches about his and Agnes’s plan to name the baby Hector, if it’s a boy, instead of after Hallam’s father. If it’s a girl, she naturally expects the baby to be named after her. Oh, yeah, I’m sure Agnes would be delighted with that. Name speculation is rife throughout the house; even the servants are putting their two cents in.
In other child news, Rachel’s daughter, Lotte, is being looked after by the staff; we see her sitting on the outside steps leading down to the kitchen entrance, looking bored, while Ivy jumps rope and teaches her some alphabet rhyme. She stops and scolds the poor kid for failing to realize she was supposed to jump in when Ivy got to “L”. The fun’s interrupted by the arrival of Pritchard, who pointedly tells Ivy that some cakes have gone missing. Ivy claims they were for Lotte, and since the kid’s apparently not talking, she doesn’t argue this. Pritchard glares at Ivy for a moment before going inside.
Just for fun, I’ve decided to institute a ratings system here on the Armchair Anglophile, awarding points to actors and actresses based on the number of costume dramas they’ve been in. For the ladies, we’ll call it a Corset Rating (CR) and the gentlemen, a Top Hat Rating (THR). Let’s see how the cast of the new Upstairs, Downstairs does, shall we?
We open on a ship, where Keeley Hawes (who has a CR of at least 9; more if you count Ashes to Ashes as a period piece, which is quite respectable for someone her age) grabs a large bouquet and looks out the porthole for a moment.
Soon after, she’s walking through the ship’s richly appointed saloon, making her way toward a young man who’s waiting for her in the midst of the disembarking crowd. She apologizes for keeping him waiting, explaining she had to go back for her flowers, which were a gift from the Foreign Secretary.