Upstairs, Downstairs

Watch Upstairs, Downstairs

  • TV-14
  • 2011
  • 5 Seasons
  • 8.4  (3,454)

Upstairs, Downstairs is a British television drama set in a townhouse in Belgravia, London, during the Edwardian era and then the interwar period. The series first aired on ITV from 1971-1975 and became an iconic period drama during its run. Acorn Media later released the complete series on DVD.

The show follows the lives of the Bellamy family, who live upstairs in the grand townhouse, and their servants, who make their home downstairs. The Bellamy family includes Richard (David Langton), the patrician head of the family; his wife Marjorie (Rachel Gurney), a society hostess; their son James (Simon Williams), who becomes a diplomat; and daughters Elizabeth (Nicola Pagett) and Georgina (Lesley-Anne Down).

The servants include Hudson (Gordon Jackson), the stern butler; Mrs. Bridges (Angela Baddeley), the cook; Rose (Jean Marsh), the maid; Sarah (Pauline Collins), an under-housemaid who later becomes a housekeeper; and Edward (Christopher Beeny), the footman. Other characters include Lady Prudence Fairfax (Joan Benham), a friend of Marjorie's, and Sarah's love interest, Thomas Watkins (John Alderton).

Upstairs, Downstairs depicts the upstairs and downstairs worlds of a household as two separate and distinct spheres. The lives of the family and their servants are intertwined, yet remain separate. The series explores social themes such as class, wealth, gender roles, and sexuality, and how these issues affect the lives of both the Bellamys and their servants.

The Bellamys are portrayed as privileged and entitled, with their lives defined by social status and conventions. Marjorie is a typical society hostess, obsessed with maintaining appearances, attending luncheons and dinner parties, and keeping up with the latest fashion and gossip. Richard, however, is a more complex character, struggling with the demands of his office and his family, and often torn between duty and his personal desires.

The servants, on the other hand, are shown as dedicated and hardworking, bound by a strict code of duty and loyalty. They are aware of their social status and the limitations imposed on them by their class, but still aspire to a better life. Hudson, as the head of the servant staff, is a strict but fair disciplinarian, committed to maintaining order and routine in the household. Mrs. Bridges is a talented cook, but also a gossip and busybody, while Rose is the pretty and ambitious maid who dreams of a better life.

Over the course of the series, Upstairs, Downstairs covers important historical events such as the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, and the Great Depression. These events impact the lives of the Bellamys and their servants, and the series explores how they adapt to changing times. The series also tackles social issues such as women's suffrage, the rise of the labor movement, and the changing role of women in society.

Throughout its run, Upstairs, Downstairs was praised for its historical accuracy, attention to detail, and strong performances from its cast. It won numerous awards, including seven Emmys and a Golden Globe. Its popularity led to a revival in the 2010s, with a new version of the series airing in 2010 and 2012.

Overall, Upstairs, Downstairs remains a classic British period drama, offering a fascinating glimpse into the lives of rich and poor during the early twentieth century. Its richly drawn characters, compelling storylines, and superb production values make it a must-watch for fans of historical drama.

Upstairs, Downstairs is a series that is currently running and has 5 seasons (69 episodes). The series first aired on April 24, 2011.

Upstairs, Downstairs
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Whither Shall I Wander?
16. Whither Shall I Wander?
December 21, 1975
Summer 1930. Eaton Place is sold, and James's debt means Georgina inherits nothing. Will Robert return for her after all? As the saga ends, upstairs and downstairs go their separate ways.
All the King's Horses
15. All the King's Horses
December 14, 1975
October 1929. Home after making a killing on Wall Street, James urges the Bellamy household to get on the gravy train, and Rose trusts James to invest for her.
Noblesse Oblige
14. Noblesse Oblige
December 7, 1975
Summer 1929. Georgina and Robert want to marry. His parents agree, with a catch: the pair must not see each other for a time. Downstairs, Mrs. Bridges and Ruby are at odds.
Joke Over
13. Joke Over
November 30, 1975
Summer 1928. Georgina's out-of-control behavior causes more trouble for the Bellamys. When a joyride proves fatal, Lord Robert Stockbridge comes to Georgina's aid.
Will Ye No' Come Back Again?
12. Will Ye No' Come Back Again?
November 23, 1975
On a household holiday in the Scottish Highlands, Hudson confronts a poacher. James reveals his feelings for Georgina, but when she doesn't return his ardor, he leaves abruptly for America.
11. Alberto
November 16, 1975
June 1927. James takes Lady Prudence to Ascot. Georgina's friendship with Lady Dolly Hale, a wild society girl, leads to an ugly scene and the departure of a key servant.
The Understudy
10. The Understudy
November 9, 1975
September 1926. Eaton Place hosts an important dinner party for the French ambassador. When Hudson falls ill, someone must take his place, causing a crisis downstairs.
The Nine Days Wonder
9. The Nine Days Wonder
November 2, 1975
May 1926. Britain's General Strike of 1926 rattles the Bellamy household. Lord Richard is dismayed, James takes a job as a bus conductor, and Hudson struggles to keep order downstairs.
Such a Lovely Man
8. Such a Lovely Man
October 26, 1975
Summer 1925. Seeking an important government post, Lord Richard courts influential millionaire Sir Guy Paynter. But Guy is more interested in Virginia. Meanwhile, Ruby has a suitor.
7. Disillusion
October 19, 1975
Spring 1924. Georgina returns from America with news of Elizabeth. Hudson stuns the household when he falls in love with Lily, a young house maid, and gives notice.
An Old Flame
6. An Old Flame
October 12, 1975
Spring 1923. Bored with life, James takes up with his best friend's wife. When they spend a weekend together in a cottage, the Bellamys barely avert a scandal.
Wanted--A Good Home
5. Wanted--A Good Home
October 5, 1975
Spring 1922. Virginia's son goes to boarding school, and her daughter gets a puppy. The imperious new governess is not pleased, and soon Eaton Place is in an uproar.
The Joy Ride
4. The Joy Ride
September 28, 1975
Autumn 1921. James buys a small airplane and takes his young stepmother for a spin. When the plane disappears, the household prepares for the worst and the press has a field day.
Laugh a Little Louder Please
3. Laugh a Little Louder Please
September 21, 1975
Summer 1921. The Viscount and her Ladyship travel for their honeymoon. While they're away, Georgina throws a wild party at Eaton Place that ends in tragedy.
A Place in the World
2. A Place in the World
September 14, 1975
February 1920: Medically discharged from the army, James enters politics but refuses any guidance from his father.
On with the Dance
1. On with the Dance
September 7, 1975
Summer 1919. Upstairs, Lord and Lady Bellamy make plans to leave Eaton Place. Downstairs, the servants fear for their jobs. Fortunately, Virginia's young children save the day.
Where to Watch Upstairs, Downstairs
Upstairs, Downstairs is available for streaming on the Acorn Media website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Upstairs, Downstairs on demand at Apple TV Channels and Amazon Prime and Amazon.
  • Premiere Date
    April 24, 2011
  • IMDB Rating
    8.4  (3,454)