The programme's treatment of class is melodramatic but surprisingly complex - the attitudes range from Rose's "we know our place and it's tough but it's okay" to Sarah's "they treat us like unfeeling vegetables and we have to live vicariously through them and I'm not putting up with this forever". And the attitudes of the "upstairs" folk are equally fascinating, from arrogant young James to his foxy leftie feminist sister Elizabeth, obviously a prototype for Penelope and Evie in House of Eliott. And even for a non-fic-reader like me, the slashy possibilities are endless (not least because Sarah and Rose share a bed in which they snuggle up and say things like "aren't men queer?").
Of course, I sometimes can't help thinking of Scrap Saturday's wonderful parody with Mary Robinson as the lady of the house..."Mrs Bridges, you are one of Mná na hEireann, come dance with me in Ireland!"