Thursday, 29 March 2012

Upstairs Downstairs: So that was series 2, but will there be a series 3? UPDATE: No

So in the end, tv-ooh can safely announce that the revived Upstairs Downstairs turned out to be a bit of a 'slow burner'. It took a while to get there, mind - and by 'there' we mean getting its audience to care about what happened to the characters.

But once it did (around about episode 4 or 5, to be precise), it all sort of worked out - even if at times the whole thing felt like it's only one digital-treatment-to-make-it-look-like-it's-shot-on-film-and-not-video-tape moment away from being a House of Eliot for the 2010s.

Which is not a good thing - we don't need dramas about dress-makers. And perhaps the cast knew that too - Lady Agnes actress Keeley Hawes said in a recent interview that when playing Agnes she often has to remind herself to not make the character 'camp', which must have been particularly challenging when playing scenes about modelling hold-up stockings.

With less capable actors, the whole thing could have been panto'd up, with the audience lost in only the time it takes to perform a thigh-slap - in other words, it's probably camp enough as it is.

So the last episode was the climax to some of the series' long simmering plot-lines, and some other stuff, meaning the whole thing went a bit crazy in the last 30 minutes, although tv-ooh never did quite work out who that posh ambassador or government type Hallam always had scenes with was [He's the Duke of Kent, the King's brother, and Hallam's best friend].

Troubled, treacherous Persie

Beryl was shot in the shoulder while wearing her wedding dress as Harry tried to calm down a treacherous Persie with a gun and a broken cigarette lighter. Persie herself then plunged over Eaton Place's balcony to her death, and so saving herself from a potential spin-off series about her time in Holloway prison - like a 1940s Bad Girls - where she was due to be taken for crimes against her country. It's probably for the best anyway, as Persie actress Claire Foy was starting to sound like she was getting a bit tired of doing the accent.

Meanwhile, news of Persie's and Hallam's afternoon romps spread around the house until they inevitably reached the ears of Lady Agnes, and, via a cat fight on the chaise longue, she's soon shaken off Perise's death and is dressed in a prim St John's Ambulance nurses uniform and an earnest expression, ready to help the needy. Like tv-ooh says: probably camp enough as it is.

But the final scene - of Pritchard instructing Blanche and Agnes into an air-raid shelter in the basement of Eaton Place while he carries on down the street, off to help others - didn't feel much like an ending, although maybe it's the programme's way of saying that this here war is going to be a great big leveller: everyone's now the same, posh or poor.

But it's good to see the heartbroken and former conscientious-objector Pritchard now finally getting to do his bit. That's great for him, but what about everyone else?

There's probably a bit more life in the show yet - do Harry and John go to war, will Mrs Thackeray ever see her nephew again (he's only in Bermondsey!), and did Blanche manage to get rid of that head lice - but whether we get another series to answer these pressing questions is apparently still to be decided...

UPDATE Monday 23 April Digital Spy reports that Harry Spargo actor Neil Jackson tweeted that he'd just heard that the show is NOT to return.

He wrote: 'Such a shame. I have just heard that the BBC will not be making any more Upstairs Downstairs. I loved the show and will miss is greatly :('

The Daily Mail website quotes a BBC spokesman: '2012 has been a great year for BBC drama but at this stage there are no plans for Upstairs Downstairs to return.'

Tv-ooh agrees with Neil Jackson, and not just because we know he's handy in the boxing ring - it is a bit of a shame. By the end of this six episode run, the programme was just beginning to settle down and find its feet, even if it was often a load of old nonsense (which, let's face it, never did Downton Abbey any harm.)

Good day to you, Upstairs Downstairs. See you in 35 years for your next revival.

Related stories:
Upstairs Downstairs: Series 2 episode 5: War is coming.. via cook's Lady Fingers
Upstairs Downstairs: Series 2 episode 2: Dinners, oysters and violent macaroons
Upstairs Downstairs: Hello I'm back and it's the 1930s and I'm quite posh
Upstairs Downstairs: When 'downstairs' pretend they're 'up'


  1. Markus with a K23 April 2012 at 11:26

    Gutted its been axed!!!

  2. So deeply disappointed that they're not going to make more!

  3. So sorry Upstairs, Downstairs is not commissioned for a 3rd series. Enjoyed it as much as Downton Abbey.

  4. very disappointed it has been cancelled

  5. Say it isn't so. Just the performances, sets and the clothes would have been totally acceptable fun, but there really was a sad little feeling of 'old' reality here. I will miss this program as a much needed escapism in this world that is jetting towards ugly change.

  6. I really enjoyed this series , SO sad to hear that it wont be returning. I really wish they would reconsider that decision !!

  7. Five fans from the Swedish audience are also very, very disapointed to hear that.. :(

  8. Thanks for all your comments - as this series gets shown around the world more people seem to be realising how entertaining it actually was to watch! It's a shame it won't get a chance at a third series, and just as it appeared to be coming together...

  9. I am an American that just discovered this wonderful series. I watched it all in 2 days! I am heartbroken that it is not returning.I was a huge fan of the original series but this one is better. The actors are all fantastic in their roles. Please, PLEASE, give us a series 3!!!

  10. I fell in love with the new Upstairs Downstairs, and wish the BBC would bring it back. It was shown opposite Downton Abbey in the UK and suffered because of Downton's enormous popularity. Upstairs had a quality that was magical and real at the same time. It is a unique combination that is very timely. I join everyone else who says, please, PLEASE BBC bring Upstairs Downstairs back! I'm heartbroken without everyone at Eaton Place.

  11. Please please bring it back. Although I love Downton Abbey I kind of like Upstairs Downstairs better.The whole Hitler- War theme. Is there a petition one can sign to bring it back ?????????????


  13. I thought Keeley Hawes (Lady Agnes) was superb