I went back and started watching some first season Upstairs Downstairs episodes last night. I think you are right Stuart when you say that Downton Abbey took a page out of the UD book, I had remembered an episode with salt mistaken for sugar, and sure enough there it was! I think maybe some of the plot twists in Downton Abbey were an homage to the older show, but there are some striking similarities. That is no knock against Downton, just that they took some of the same starting points and went in a little bit different direction with them.
Anyway, I was really taken with episode 9, which was all about Mrs. Bridges, the cook. After their kitchen maid, Emily, has committed suicide, Mrs. Bridges starts losing her grip, and ends up stealing a little baby from a pram left outside on the street during a foggy night. Of course, this causes all sorts of problems for the Bellamy's, who foolishly try to keep the information out of the courts. Hudson ends up saving the day, with his characteristic good sense and kind-heartedness. The standout scenes for me were the one between Hudson and the callow young man whose baby was taken. When the young man expresses disdain for Hudson and his employers, Hudson schools the young man by asking who he works for, does he respect him, etc. and then making it clear that to work for fools is to be one yourself. It's just brilliant what Gordon Jackson does with that scene! The scenes with Mrs. Bridges are also fantastic, when the camera closes in on her tear stained face, we get a glimpse of what fine acting is all about, with more depth than marks most of our period dramas nowadays. Veteran actors Hermione Baddeley and Gordon Jackson are just amazing in their own quiet way.
I would say to anyone watching these shows that the series really doesn't pick up speed till season two or even three, but a good start might be to watch episode 9 from season one first.
I was watching the trailor of the recent film Albert Knobs with Glenn Close posing as a male butler over a 30-yr-period. I was struck by the resemblance of Close, in drag, to Gordon Jackson, who played Hudson in UD. She could have been her brother, or sister as the case maybe. In fact the normal looking Close still looked like Jackson from his days in The Professionals
I think you could split UD into three themes,regarding the mistresses of the house. The Lady Marjory yrs from 1903-1912, the Hazel Forrest yrs 1912-1918 and Virginia's yrs 1917-1929. If anything I prefered the Hannah Gordon, as Virginia, yrs. Mind you James Bellamy apart, none of the cast aged. Rose looked just as young in the short skirted 20s as she did in the body covering parlour maid suit of 1903 and Edward, who must have been near 50 in 1929, only looked about 27
I've found a couple of Hannah Gordon clips from other works
You are sp funny! Glenn does look like Gordon Jackson in those Albert Nobbs clips!
I knew I'd seen Hannah Gordon before when she showed up on UD, I just couldn't figure out where... now I know.
My favorite was Hazel and the shows taking place in her era. What I most liked about Upstairs Downstairs in general, and the Hazel episodes in particular, was that it ended up basically being about the disintegration of the class system in England, as seen through the eyes of one household. Of course it was good entertainment as well, and we didn't know until the final show what the real theme was. I got involved with the characters just as I do with Downton Abbey, but there was something else going on within the show, something deep and yet very personal to each member of the Bellamy staff and family. There was an overall arc to the storyline that made it very much more meaningful as a statement about class, without them hitting you ver the head with it, in fact, I don't think I ever really thought about it.
A very sad story for above stairs, maybe a hopeful one for below.
I've just finished watching episode 8 of Little Dorrit and I'm so intrigued by everything that's going on...the mysterious, menacing and bitter Miss Wade, Monsieur "Blandois"....the connection of Mrs. Clenman and Little Dorrit....the intense dislike she feels for her son....the ugly Mr. Flintwich et al. Excellent series!!
Last Sunday I finished watching the marvellous BBC adaptation of "Little Dorrit" (2008), which total running time amounted to 7 hours and half (divided in 14 episodes). I haven't read the book, but I bet this is the most complete and faithful adaptation ever done of Dicken's novel.
The performances are all around excellent, especially those of the actors who played Rigaud-Blandois, Mrs. Clennam, Mr. William Dorrit, Miss Wade, Mrs. Merdle and Flintwinch, and of course Amy (it's not easy to play the "goodie-goodie" without falling into caricature or sentimentalism)...A complete delight. My wife also loved it.
The Bride and I are going through "Cranford." She's really enjoying it. I like the gentle humor of it. The women are a trip. Judi Dench is wonderful. Her companion played by Lisa Dillon is great and maybe the most normal woman in town. I like Simon Woods' "Dr. Harrison." Never has being polite and friendly got one in so much trouble. (Too bad that Woods seems to have retired.)
Through 4 episodes but plenty of stories and rich characters to enjoy.
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
Happy to read that Chris. "Return to Cranford" is not as excellent as "Cranford", but it's still very good. My younger sister recommended it very heartily to me, as "Little Dorrit" and she was right on both counts. My wife loved both series.
I'm half way through Bleak House and really enjoying it, I like to read books by Dickens before I watch adaptations, an annoying habit but as I don't want preconceptions before I read the book and I've quite a few Dickens to read yet.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin