Upstairs, Downstairs creator Jean Marsh
PUBLISHED: 07:33 18 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:11 20 February 2013
Fans of the TV classic Upstairs ,Downstairs will be glued to their sets this Christmas when the drama is brought into the 1930s. Its creator and star is Lambourn resident Jean Marsh. Nick Channer caught up with her
Actress and writer Jean Marsh thinks the title Upstairs Downstairs is like Marmite. It's like a brand name. Everyone has heard of it, she says. The London Weekend Television series, focusing on life in a Belgravia town house during the early years of the 20th century, ran for four years between 1971 and 1975 - and is still seen as one of the best examples of popular period drama and an integral part of the golden age of television.
Jean, who has a home in West Berkshire's Lambourn Valley, co-created the iconic series with her great friend actress Eileen Atkins. She played the part of Rose Buck, the hard working and morally upstanding parlour maid.
Television series come and go but Upstairs Downstairs was somehow different. The award-winning series gradually built a loyal fan base and when it eventually finished, after five series, 68 episodes and a worldwide audience of more than a billion, fans were genuinely sorry.
Even today, viewers recall with fondness the pattern of life at 165, Eaton Place, the drama below stairs and the privileged and pampered lives of Richard Bellamy MP and his wife, the aristocratic Lady Marjorie, played out against a background of huge social upheaval and major events in the wider world.
I still get people writing and coming up to me in the street to ask if "Upstairs Downstairs" will ever come back, says Jean. It was something that really caught the public imagination.
Now, after a gap of 35 years, Jean, who won an Emmy for playing Rose, is able to tell her fans that the series is returning to our television screens for three hour-long episodes this Christmas.
Read teh full interview in December's Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life. Out now.
Answers to our quick quiz.
1. Name the actress who played Elizabeth Bellamy.
2. How did Lord Bellamy's first wife die?
She was on board the Titanic
Who became a VAD nurse in World War 1?
Who was the actor and Henley resident who played the dashing Captain Bellamy?
Who went on to take the lead role in the film Shirley Valentine?