Upstairs Downstairs

9:00pm Sunday 26 February on BBC ONE

After being told she can have no more children, Lady Agnes distracts herself by throwing a dinner party for the Kennedys.

During the evening, she catches the eye of charismatic multimillionaire Caspar Landry, a guest at the party, who is instantly won over by her kindness. Sir Hallam and Lady Agnes are thrilled when he is offered a job in America but their reverie is short lived when the horrors of Kristallnacht hit 165.

Determined to help the Jewish children trapped in Germany, Hallam works with Mr Amanjit in beginning to coordinate a rescue effort, but the sheer administrative challenge of such a heartbreaking cause is overwhelming and Mr Amanjit is forced to consider his differences with Blanche in an attempt to save the children…

After a frantic call from Lady Persie, Lady Agnes also pleads with Hallam to help her sister return safely to London. Lady Agnes, too, strives to help the refugees, persuading Caspar Landry to donate to the cause. Charmed by Lady Agnes, he obliges, and Agnes is filled with a renewed sense of confidence in her abilities.

Downstairs, Mrs Thackeray is thrilled to re-establish contact with her only nephew and when she and Mr Pritchard continue to lock horns, resigns. But Mrs Thackeray finds it tough to settle into life away from Eaton Place. Mr Pritchard, meanwhile, struggles to run the house in her absence….

Cast: Lady Agnes played by Keeley Hawes, Caspar Landry played by Michael Landes Sir Hallam played by Ed Stoppard, Mr Amanjit played by Art Malik, Lady Persie Towyn played by Claire Foy, Mrs Clarice Thackeray played by Anne Reid, Mr Warwick Pritchard played by Adrian Scarborough, Beryl Ballard played by Laura Haddock, Harry Spargo played by Neil Jackson, Dr Blanche Mottershead played by Alex Kingston, Johnny Proude played by Nico Mirallegro, Eunice Mccabe played by Ami Metcalf, Duke of Kent played by Blake Ritson and Pamela Holland played by Sarah Gordy.

Confirmed for Sunday 26 February on BBC One at 9.00-10.00pm

Ep 2/6

9:00pm Sunday 26 December on BBC ONE

One of television’s most famous homes opens its doors once again as a new generation moves into 165 Eaton Place, in this lavish serial starring Keeley Hawes, Ed Stoppard, Jean Marsh, Eileen Atkins, Art Malik and Anne Reid

The BBC has announced a stellar line-up of acting talent to accompany Dame Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh in the hugely anticipated revival of the legendary TV series Upstairs Downstairs.

Keeley Hawes (Ashes To Ashes, Spooks), Ed Stoppard (Brideshead Revisited) Anne Reid (Bleak House, Dinnerladies), Claire Foy (Little Dorrit), Adrian Scarborough (Gavin & Stacey, Cranford) and Art Malik (10 Days To War, Holby City) will all be entering through the doors of the iconic 165 Eaton Place. Also joining the cast are Ellie Kendrick (Diary Of Anne Frank) and Nico Mirallegro (Hollyoaks).‬

Set in 1936, the three, hour-long episodes, to be broadcast on BBC One, will take viewers, old and new, back to the lavish world of Belgravia, London.

A new set of occupants will reside at the iconic address and viewers will see how external and internal influences of the tumultuous pre-war period shape and mould the lives of this wealthy family and their servants.‬

Upstairs, Keeley Hawes is Lady Agnes Holland, the beautiful, spirited and socially ambitious woman who plans to take society by storm. Her husband and master of the house, diplomat Sir Hallam Holland, has his work cut out keeping the peace between his wife and mother and will be played by Ed Stoppard.

Dame Eileen Atkins will play Maud, Lady Holland – the straight-speaking mother-in-law who causes sparks to fly as soon as she arrives. And Claire Foy plays Lady Persephone – the beautiful, younger sister of Lady Agnes who refuses to adhere to the rules of 165 Eaton Place.

Downstairs, Jean Marsh reprises her role as Rose Buck – and is now the reliable housekeeper. Anne Reid will play Mrs Thackeray, the resident cook, Adrian Scarborough plays the highly strung, teetotal butler, Mr Pritchard and Art Malik plays Mr Amanjit, loyal servant to Maud.

Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One says:  “Upstairs Downstairs is a piece of TV history and this wonderful cast are set to bring it alive for a whole new audience.”‬

The revival has been written by award-winning writer Heidi Thomas (Cranford, Madame Bovary, Ballet Shoes).

Of taking the audience back to 165 Eaton Place, she says:‬ “Bringing 165 Eaton Place back to life has been the greatest honour and privilege of my career. It really is a dream come true for me, and I am thrilled that our actors feel the same.”

The original series, created by Jean Marsh and Dame Eileen Atkins in association with Sagitta Productions, was first broadcast in 1971. It was an international success – winning seven Emmys, two Baftas and a Golden Globe.

Jean Marsh says: “This series has been beautifully cast and I was completely enthralled listening to them bring the scripts to life at the read through. I feel very happy and very comfortable – I feel very lucky. For the rest of the cast it was their first episode of Upstairs Downstairs. For me, it was my 56th. I am very much looking forward to the start of filming and I am very much looking forward to returning to 165 Eaton Place.”

Made by BBC Cymru Wales Drama, Upstairs Downstairs will begin filming in south Wales in early August.

Piers Wenger, Head of Drama BBC Cymru Wales says: “Upstairs Downstairs is not just one of the most loved and famous series in the history of British television but of television all over the world. Heidi Thomas’ scripts have already attracted an irresistible cast, led by Jean Marsh and Dame Eileen Atkins, and I cannot wait to see this peerless drama brought back to life.”

Upstairs Downstairs was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, and Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One. ‬

Executive producers are Piers Wenger, Head of Drama BBC Cymru Wales, Heidi Thomas and Kate Harwood, Controller Drama Series and Serials. It will be directed by Euros Lyn (Torchwood – Children Of Earth, Doctor Who) and produced by Nikki Wilson (Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures). ‬

Upstairs Downstairs is a co-production with Masterpiece on PBS.‬

 

Auntie Beeb has signed a deal with US public service broadcaster PBS to co-produce three upcoming projects, one of which includes classic British show, Upstairs Downstairs.

The revival of Upstairs Downstairs – which is due to air in the US in 2011 as part of PBS’s Masterpiece slot (which is celebrating its 40th anniversary season) – will feature some of the original stars such as Jean Marsh and Dame Eileen Atkins.

Sherlock Holmes will also make an appearance. Writers Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat have updated Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective stories to include modern references such as having Watson chronicle Holmes’s adventures in a blog.

Ho!

Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson.

The three 90-minute dramas are being made by Jekyll producer Hartswood Films.

“I’m so proud of this particular group of programmes. These series say everything about what Masterpiece aims to be: iconic, rich with wonderful actors, witty, literate and timeless. I can’t wait to see them all,” said Rebecca Eaton, the executive producer of Masterpiece dramas for WGBH Boston.

However, Eaton, who concluded the deal at BBC Worldwide’s annual TV exports event BBC Showcase in Brighton yesterday, warned of tough economic times ahead for international drama co-production.

The long-serving US drama executive told MediaGuardian.co.uk that financial constraints mean that “we sense in 2011 and 2012 we will have to be frugal” and “might have to do fewer programmes so the quality remains”.

WGBH and Masterpiece have been a key supporter of many famous British dramas, such as the BBC’s Cranford and ITV1’s Lewis, Poirot and Marple – not only investing in them but also taking them to American audiences.

Eaton – attending BBC Showcase for the first time – described the relationship between the two public service broadcasters as “like a long marriage” and said she had been talking with the corporation’s drama bosses about the financial situation in the US TV market.

“They understand it. We have to manage their expectations,” she added. Sherlock producer Sue Vertue, of Hartswood Films, agreed with Eaton’s analysis.

“Budgets are getting more difficult. There is more pressure on them now.” Despite her warning about financial realities, Eaton said she would “love to do more Cranford … if it was up to me, though the stars have to be aligned” and more Marple and Poirot “even if we have to start making them up”.

The legendary TV series Upstairs Downstairs is to be brought back to life by the BBC.

Award-winning Heidi Thomas (Cranford, Madame Bovary, Ballet Shoes) is writing two new feature length scripts for transmission on BBC One in 2010.

Set in 1936 in the same iconic house 165 Eaton Place in London’s Belgravia, the sumptuous drama is set to delight fans old and new.

Jean Marsh will reprise her role of Rose, the parlourmaid, returning to the house as housekeeper to its new residents, the wealthy and well-connected Holland family.

Heidi Thomas will create a new role for Dame Eileen Atkins.

We rejoin the world of Upstairs Downstairs in the years leading up to the Second World War. Times are changing and servants are no longer cheap and obedient; Rose soon finds she has her work cut out.

Meanwhile, in the wider world, Edward VIII has ascended the throne, fascism is on the rise, and Europe is inching towards catastrophe.

Originally co-created by Jean Marsh, Dame Eileen Atkins and Sagitta Productions, Upstairs Downstairs became one of the most-loved and enduring TV shows of all time.

A huge hit with British and international audiences, it won countless awards, including seven Emmys, two BAFTAs and a Golden Globe.

It has been shown in more than 70 countries worldwide, to an audience of over one billion.

Heidi Thomas says: “I am both thrilled and humbled to have this opportunity.

“The original Upstairs Downstairs marked the start of my love affair with televison, and I am determined that the new version will in every way be a worthy successor to the original.”

Piers Wenger, Head of Drama, BBC Wales, adds: “We are delighted to have secured the rights with the full blessing and support of the original co-creators.

“This is not a remake but a completely new version, set in a different era with a whole new cast of characters.”

Dame Eileen Atkins says: “I am delighted to have the chance to star in the new version for the BBC.

“Heidi Thomas is an extraordinarily talented writer and it is always a complete joy to work with her.”

Jean Marsh said: “I am hugely looking forward to spending time with Rose. I have missed her enormously.”

John Witney, Sagitta Productions, said: “I am delighted the BBC is reviving Upstairs Downstairs and setting it during a time of social change – just as it was when the Bellamys lived at 165.”

Upstairs Downstairs will be relaunched as two x 90-minutes in 2010, made in-house by BBC Wales Drama.

Filming begins next Spring. Full casting will be announced next year.

It was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, and Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One.

The executive producers are Piers Wenger and Heidi Thomas.

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