A few years back, Scott and I watched the first few seasons of the original. Enjoyed it very, very much. So I got goosebumps when I saw the old familiar house number and realized we were coming back to 165 Eton Place.
And again when we first saw Jean Marsh! I absolutely love the premise of the new show: not a remake of the original, but another chapter in the life of the house…and in at least one of the people who lived and worked in it before. Brilliant.
The mother-in-law delighted me: not a stereotype at all. Her secretary, perhaps a bit.
Favorite moments: the cook’s reluctance to take the job offer, her mild scorn at the “newness” of their baronetcy, her susceptibility to the lures of a gas range and top-of-the-line refrigerator. That, and the quietly emotional pleasure on Jean Marsh’s face as she looked at the word ‘housekeeper’ on the tag.
The housemaid is going to be trouble, obviously.
Side note: I once began writing a novel inspired by the original Upstairs, Downstairs series, in which the main character was a girl whose mother worked in a turn-of-the-20th-century London household. In the story the girl’s mother was accused of theft, and it was going to be up to the girl to save her. About four chapters in, the entire story up and transplanted itself to a homestead on the Colorado prairie. I know, that’s quite a shift! It became an altogether different kind of tale, but the kernel of the original idea is still there. It will be published in Summer 2012 by McElderry Books—I can’t wait!
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Downton Abbey Season 4, Episode 1: Don’t Mess with Thomas. But Please, Please, Do Mess with Mary.
Downton Abbey Open Thread