Before Downton Abbey, there was Upstairs, Downstairs

Before Downton Abbey, there was Upstairs, Downstairs January 5, 2016

I’m a Downton Abbey fan, and I’m glad the series started up again, last season though it be.  I am rather astonished, though, at the hype and frenzy around this excellent portrayal of the British class system in the first half of the 20th century.  But I haven’t heard any credit being given to the series that Downton Abbey is, in effect, remaking:  Upstairs, Downstairs.

Upstairs, Downstairs has an identical premise:  Portray an aristocratic house, with both the aristocratic family and the lives of the servants, with both parallel and intersecting story lines.

Do so with impeccable historical and social realism, with the very best actors and superb writing.

The main difference is that Upstairs, Downstairs portrayed a mansion in the city, with occasional forays into the countryside, while Downton Abbey gives us a country estate, with occasional visits into the city.

Both showed unforgettable treatments of the impact of historic events on the lives of people who lived through them, from the Titanic to World War I.

I have to say, though, that Upstairs, Downstairs is even better than Downton Abbey.

Upstairs, Downstairs ran from 1971-1974 on Masterpiece Theater from PBS, which is now showing Downton Abbey.  Is anyone else here old enough to have seen it?

At any rate, if you like Downton Abbey and don’t know what you will watch after this season is over, get Upstairs, Downstairs on video.  It’s on Netflix and Amazon.

 

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