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in my lady's chamber

Yesterday I splashed out and bought.....the first series of Upstairs Downstairs on DVD. Well, I don't know when the last series of The House of Eliott is coming out, and I crave Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkin's special brand of retro soap with fabulous frocks! Anyway, I remember Upstairs Downstairs being repeated lots of times in my youth, and got quite into it when it was aired in the afternoon during the summer holidays when I was about 16. Luckily, it has aged rather well, and Pauline Collins is fabulous (and, in the black-and-white episode where she dresses up in Lady Marjorie's clothes, almost ridiculously beautiful. She's aged pretty well, though, as last week's Doctor Who showed).

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!"


Apr. 29th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, there was a third one, and I seem to remember that it ended rather inconclusively, as if there was meant to be a fourth series which ended up never happening. Apparently it is going to come out on DVD, but the company don't have a date yet. Bah! But Upstairs Downstairs is filling the gap quite nicely...


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