Get ready period drama fans – Season 2 of the new Upstairs Downstairs starts next Sunday, October 7 at 9pm on Masterpiece Classic PBS.
Last year we saw the triumphant return after thirty-four years of the award winning and much beloved series Upstairs Downstairs to Masterpiece Classic. The original series (1974-77) focused on the Bellamy family upstairs and their household staff downstairs: all living at 165 Eaton Place, a posh townhouse in London. Last year Season 1 began in 1936, six years after the close of the original series. We were treated to only three episodes: The Fledgling; The Ladybird; and The Cuckoo. Original co-creators of the series Jean Marsh and Dame Eileen Atkins were heavily involved in the new sequel. Marsh returned as housekeeper Rose Buck and Dame Eileen Atkins as the Dowager Lady Holland was one of the stellar new characters. You can read my preview of Season 1 to catch up on the new cast and the reaction when it aired in the UK 2010.
Keeley Hawes and Edward Stoppard as Lord & Lady Holland
Season 2 is much more ambitious with six new episodes, so we will have a lot of great period drama to dish about over the next few weeks. Most of Season 1’s cast is returning, but one key player has died and the other recovering from a stroke in hospital. However, there are some new characters that I found quite intriguing.
Alex Kingston as Dr. Blanche Mottershead
Laura Haddock as Beryl Ballard
Ami Metcalf as Eunice McCabe
Sarah Lancashire as Mrs Whisset
Here is a description of the new season with an episode guide from my friends at Masterpiece Classic PBS. Be sure to mark your calendars or set your DVR’s for Sundays, October 7 – November 11, 2012 at 9pm ET on PBS. Check your local listings for exact times. Enjoy!
In 1938, war is about to topple a way of life. But not quite yet.
The intrigues of life, love, and international politics come to a boil at 165 Eaton Place in a thrilling panorama of English society on the eve of World War II. Keeley Hawes (Wives and Daughters), Ed Stoppard (Brideshead Revisited), and Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) return in Season 2 of the Emmy®-nominated continuation of the 1970s classic. Guest stars include Alex Kingston (ER) and Emilia Fox (Rebecca and Pride and Prejudice 1995). Upstairs Downstairs Season 2 is a BBC/MASTERPIECE Co-Production, written by Heidi Thomas. The directors are Mark Jobst (parts one and two), Brendan Maher (parts four and five), and Anthony Byrne (parts three and six).
Episode 1: A Far Away Country about Which We Know Nothing (October 7, 2012)
Pritchard takes the rap for Johnny in a shocking incident, which leads to a revelation that casts the butler into disgrace. On a diplomatic mission to Germany, Hallam meets Persie, who has a Nazi lover.
Episode 2: The Love that Pays the Price (October 14, 2012)
Ambassador Kennedy and his dashing son Jack come to dinner at Eaton Place. But Agnes is more entranced by another guest: millionaire Caspar Landry. Before the evening is over, Mrs. Thackeray resigns.
Episode 3: A Perfect Specimen of Womanhood (October 21, 2012)
Hallam’s Aunt Blanche appears in a lesbian novel by a former lover, sparking a scandal that threatens the good name of Eaton Place. Meanwhile, Agnes’s demands on the servants bring a social worker to set her straight.
Episode 4: All the Things You Are (October 28, 2012)
All of London sees Agnes’s shapely legs when she models stockings for Landry’s company—offending Hallam. Intent on impressing Beryl, Harry enters the servants’ boxing competition as Johnny’s manager.
Episode 5: The Last Waltz (November 4, 2012)
With war looming, romance is in the air—illicit and otherwise. Hallam, Agnes, Landry, and Persie each pursue their heart’s desire in different ways. Harry and Beryl get engaged. And even Pritchard finds a soulmate.
Episode 6: Somewhere Over the Rainbow (November 11, 2012)
A chance remark at the Foreign Office alerts Hallam that one of his associates is a German spy—with tragic consequences. As war is declared, life upstairs and downstairs is transformed at Eaton Place.
Excited period drama lovers? I am
Images courtesy © 2011 MASTERPIECE