An Old Favorite Gets a Makeover and Returns to PBS
Tell the parlormaid to bring some tea, dust off the antimacassars and stiffen those upper lips: 'Upstairs Downstairs' is coming back! The perennial PBS favorite is the latest '70s classic to get a 21st-century reboot, and new details have been released.
A co-production from PBS and The BBC, there will be three all-new, hour-long episodes to be broadcast in the U.S. next year as part of Masterpiece's 40th anniversary celebrations. Filming is due to start in Wales later this month.
The original 'Upstairs Downstairs' aired on PBS from 1971-5 and followed the fortunes of the aristocratic Bellamy family and their servants from the turn of the century to 1930. The final episode saw their iconic mansion in Belgravia being shuttered up for the last time as the remaining family members and servants moved out.
Written by Heidi Thomas ('Cranford'), the 2011 version follows the adventures of 165 Eaton Place's new occupants in 1936, so there'll be no new actors playing much-beloved characters like Mrs. Bridges or Hudson the butler. However, original cast member Jean Marsh -- who won a Best Actress Emmy for her role in 1975 -- will be back playing Rose.
Other stars signed up for the drama include Keeley Hawes ('MI-5,' 'Ashes to Ashes'), Art Malik ('10 Days to War,' 'A Passage to India') and co-creator of the original series, Dame Eileen Atkins ('Cranford').