I am still not quite sure about the new U/D. It isn’t quite right. All good fun, but I am finding it hard to reconcile the new series with the original.
The only things in common are the house and Jean Marsh [again playing Rose Buck] and Eileen Atkins. EA, along with JM, was one of the original ‘creators’ – but now she is appearing as one of the main characters – Maud, Lady Holland.
In the ‘old days’ they had a butler, cook, lady’s maid [Rose] upstairs maid [various actors] and kitchen maid [Ruby] as well as a manservant and a chauffeur [various actors] and Mr Bellamy had a female secretary.
Now they have a butler, cook, manservant and maid – and a housekeeper [Jean/Rose] and Maud has a male secretary [Art Malik] It feels as if the characters of the housekeeper and Maud have been written to give JM and EA important roles. Which is fair as it was their idea in the first place, I suppose, but I am beginning to feel that they said “You can’t reprise this unless we get big parts” [Jean Marsh is 76, which makes her a bit old to be running a big house like that!!]
They are getting through staff pretty quickly though – first manservant out for breaking the law, and lady’s maid died, chauffeur ‘on probation’ for fascist views.
The series is getting quite mixed reviews – and many comparisons with Downton Abbey [but I never got into that so cannot comment there] It is sad that some people in the cast had to make rather unpleasant remarks [here]
I would like to be two stone lighter and wear a bias cut silk evening frock! But I suspect my destiny is to be a stone heavier and wear a sensible pinny. [My family have always been downstairs, not upstairs.]
I have just watched Episode 2 where a pregnant Lady Agnes is knitting baby clothes whilst “We’ll gather lilacs” is playing in the background. I am a little confused, as this is meant to be summer 1936 [Cable Street/Mosley etc] and I thought the song was written during the War, and later incorporated into the 1945 musical “Perchance to Dream”. I didn’t think Ivor Novello penned it back in the thirties. As far as I know, he first sang it to the troops in Belgium in 1944 [after he came out of Wormwood Scrubs, where he’d been incarcerated for cheating with petrol coupons!!]
I can only assume that this anachronism occurred in the programme because U/D was not filmed in London’s Eaton Square, but rather in Cardiff, and the scriptwriters forgot to be accurate when they saw the new Ivor Novello Statue outside Cardiff's Millennium Centre. It was a popular tune after all!
Ah well, last programme tonight, all about The Abdication.
I’m really looking forward to “The King’s Speech” with Colin Firth in January, though. I am hoping that will be historically accurate! [I have persuaded Bob that he should take me to see it – I am a royalist with a keen interest in history]