Sunday, December 5, 2010

Farewell, Mrs. Bridges

Last Wednesday night, we watched the final episode of Upstairs Downstairs, the acclaimed Masterpiece Theater series that ran from 1971 to 1975. When we started watching episodes from Season 1 last summer, I didn't think it would be my cup of tea - I'm admittedly biased against movies or TV programs that I categorize as "English Talky-Talkies". But it didn't take long for me to get hooked.

The series followed the lives of a wealthy British family (the Ballamy's, who lived "upstairs") and their household staff (who lived "downstairs"). It covers events over a span of 30 years at 165 Eaton Place in London and features real-world happenings (including World War 1, the sinking of the Titanic, and the influenza pandemic of 1918) juxtaposed against the politics, relationships, and drama of everyday life.

Throughout all 68 episodes, the acting was top-notch and the writing was superb. There are lots of twists and turns to keep you interested - and some bold moves with character development and demise. The series was nominated for and won many awards, including being named "Best Drama" by the British Academy Television Awards. It also won several Emmy and Golden Globe prizes.

My favorite character? Kate Bridges, played by actress Angela Baddeley, who oversaw kitchen operations "downstairs". Her character was proud, hardworking, and despite her sharp tongue, an old softy at heart. Perhaps I'm fond of Mrs. Bridges because she reminds me of my Grandma Reese, who until the day she died at age 96, was never shy about telling you - unfiltered - what was on her mind. I'm also drawn to the character because, if I ever win the lottery, I'd like to have a live-in cook like Mrs. Bridges. Wouldn't it be great to have all of your meals prepared, served, and then have those dirty dishes whisked away and cleaned?

So if you're looking for a series to get you through the long winter months ahead, I couldn't recommend Upstairs, Downstairs more highly. It's available on it couldn't be easier.

Here's a clip of the for Mrs. Bridges at about the 1:00 mark.


  1. I loved the series; but I stopped - because I didn't want it to end! I didn't want to see them going away/this society dissolving so.
    - Just like me to avoid a good bye !

  2. Dr Spo can start watching it again because a sequal is being made of the series. Sorry, it's a long URL but the photos are magnificent!

  3. I must admit, that I've heard of it but never seen it. Having said that, I'm in love with most things British -- The Brits and I share a horribly dry and forthright sense of humor. I watch as much PBS British shows as I can.

  4. Hmmm....seems YouTube has removed the link! I'll try to find another!



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