Upstairs Downstairs-Series 1 (2010)

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Released 1-Dec-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 180:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Euros Lyn
Anthony Byrne
Marc Jobst
Brendan Maher

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI ? Music Daniel Pemberton

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† One of the most loved English drama series of the 1970s was the original Upstairs, Downstairs. It told the story of the various people who lived at 165 Eaton Place, Belgravia including the aristocratic Bellamy family ('Upstairs') and the servants who looked after their day-to-day needs ('Downstairs'). The series ran over a number of years and told the story of those living in the house from 1903 to 1930. At the end of that series, the house was shut up. One of the main characters in the original series was Rose Buck (Jean Marsh), the upstairs maid.

†††† This new series (which started in 2010) is a sequel to the previous series with a new family buying the house and moving in, in 1936. The new family consists initially of Sir Hallam Holland (Ed Stoppard) and his wife Lady Agnes Holland (Keeley Hawes). They have just returned from India where Sir Hallam was a diplomat. Sir Hallam's family are well connected and he has a personal friendship with the Duke of Kent (Blake Ritson), the youngest son of King George. The couple are soon joined, somewhat against their wishes, by Hallam's mother, the eccentric Maud (Eileen Atkins) and Lady Agnes' younger sister, Persephone or Persie (Claire Foy) as she is generally called. Maud is joined at the house by her pet Monkey, Solomon and her secretary, Mr Amanjit Singh (Art Malik). This time around the character of Rose Buck reappears, now as the housekeeper, played again by Jean Marsh (who had a hand in getting this new series up and going). She leads the downstairs staff who include the butler, Mr Pritchard (Adrian Scarborough), the cook, Mrs Thackery (Anne Reid), the chauffer, Spargo (Neil Jackson), the maid, Ivy (Ellie Kendrick) and a footman, Johnny (Nico Mirallegro).

†††† This initial three episode mini-series follows the charactersí lives as they set up the house, get acquainted with each other and react to the unfolding events around them such as the death of the King, the abdication of King Edward, the fleeing of Jews from Germany and the rise of National Socialism. There is some excellent writing in these three hours of television, along with some quality acting by the ensemble cast and assured direction and quality art direction. Occasionally, the story seems to go by a little quickly, with characters going from strangers to great friends in the space of a scene. This is obviously a reflection of a truncated first series which was designed to be free standing if agreement to make a second season was not forthcoming. Regardless, the series is full of emotional and high quality writing and acting. Luckily, the BBC approved the second season which is available now on DVD, along with a box set of both seasons.

†††† Recommended.

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Transfer Quality


†††† The video quality is very good.

†††† The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

†††† The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout. Shadow detail was decent.

†††† The colour is excellent for DVD.

†††† The only artefact was some minor aliasing.

†††† There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which were clear and easy to read.

†††† There is no obvious layer change during the episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† The audio quality is good.

†††† This disc contains an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The sound is obviously quite front focused.

†††† Dialogue was generally easy to understand throughout although the subtitles were useful.

†††† The orchestral music sounds good and fits the show well. It utilises the original theme from the 1970s show.

†††† The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



†††† The menu featured music and motion.

Behind Closed Doors (35:04)

†††† Comprehensive making-of featurette which includes interviews with cast and crew plus on-set footage. Topics covered include the genesis for this show, how it relates to the original series, casting, writing, the house, sets and the History of Britain at the time. Well worth watching.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † This show is available in the UK in the same format.


†††† A high quality but truncated first season of the new Upstairs Downstairs.

††††The video quality is very good.

†††† The audio quality is good.

†††† One quality extra.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, August 06, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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