Upstairs, Downstairs - Series 5
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Upstairs: the wealthy, aristocratic Bellamys. Downstairs: their loyal and lively servants. For nearly 30 years, they share a fashionable townhouse at 165 Eaton Place in London’s posh Belgravia neighborhood, surviving social change, political upheaval, scandals, and the horrors of the First World War.
The fifth and final series portrays the post-war period of 1919 to 1930. It’s the Roaring ’20s, and Georgina and her wealthy friends just want to celebrate. Lord and Lady Bellamy begin their new life together, Hudson the butler behaves oddly, and James disgraces his family one last time. This season won an Emmy® for outstanding drama series and the prestigious Peabody Award.
Starring Jean Marsh (Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse), David Langton (The Spoils of War), Simon Williams (Sword of Honour), Hannah Gordon (The Elephant Man), Gordon Jackson (The Professionals), Angela Baddeley (Martin Chuzzlewit), Christopher Beeny (Last of the Summer Wine), Lesley-Anne Down (North and South), and Anthony Andrews (Brideshead Revisited).
Beloved by audiences in more than 70 countries, this seminal British television series is just as enjoyable now as when it first aired in the mid-1970s. Richard, his new wife Virginia, and recently widowed son James comprise the aristocratic Bellamy family who resides upstairs while their loyal servants maintain the London household from downstairs. These final 16 episodes cover the swinging '20s to the stock market crash (1919-30). The episodes of the fifth season are more self-contained than other seasons' and every bit as entertaining.
The household mood reflects the events of the day--jubilation at the armistice, a fancy-dress party amidst the gaiety of the early '20s, divided allegiances during the general strike of 1926, the fever of stock market wealth, and overnight ruin in October 1929. James, with too much time and money on his hands, is single again and up to his usual antics. Nor is life dull for the other members of the household--Hudson almost resigns his position after he's caught holding hands with Lily, the housemaid, and Georgina winds up in court after she hits and kills a man while taking a group of irresponsible socialites to Sussex in the Bellamys' Rolls. While James and Richard focus their political activities outside the home, Edward and Frederick vie to see who will fill in for Hudson while he recuperates from his heart attack. Finally, after the market crash and James's subsequent death, the family is forced to sell 165 Eaton Place to pay off his creditors. The series ends with Rose locking up the empty house, closing the door on one of TV's most popular and acclaimed shows. Whether you first met the Bellamys and their delightfully enjoyable downstairs entourage in the 1970s or are just getting to know them now, the superb acting and compelling character development will always be the real reason to watch Upstairs Downstairs. --Tara Chace --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The aftermath of WW1, the Roaring '20s and the stock market crash of 1929 are the great events affecting the characters in this fifth series. If you're a fan of the series, these closing episodes are a must. If you're interested in the early 20th century history, this series realistically shows how some people were affected by the events. And if you just enjoy good drama (i.e., PBS's Masterpiece Theatre), you'll love all five series of Upstairs Downstairs. Highly recommended.
"On with the Dance" - Richard (David Langton) and his new wife Virginia (Hannah Gordon) start thinking about buying a house in London, when lonely James (Simon Williams) suggests that they move back into Eaton Place.
"A Place in the World" - Bored and dissatisfied with his life, James decides to enter politics...with disastrous results. Edward (Christopher Beeny) and Daisy (Jacqueline Tong) reluctantly return to Eaton Place after finding little employment in the 'outside world'...
"Laugh a Little Louder, Please" - Georgina (Lesley-Anne Down) and James decide to throw a lavish fancy dress party for their society friends. Meanwhile, the new governess Miss Treadwell (Shirley Cain) is due to arrive.
"The Joy Ride" - James buys an aeroplane, and Virginia defies her husband in order to join James for a joy-ride across Southwold. But when they are reported missing, Richard and Lady Prudence (Joan Benham) fear the worst...
"Wanted- A Good Home" - William (Jonathan Seely) is packed off to boarding school, and Alice (Anne Yarker) gets a puppy, which soon upsets Miss Treadwell and puts the servants in an awkward position.
"An Old Flame" - James finds himself back in the arms of Lady Diana Newbury (Celia Bannerman) and they decide to spend the weekend at a golfing cottage. Edward fends off the advances of Diana's flirty maid Violet (Georgina Hale).Read more ›
Favorite episode was: "Will they no come back again?" where the staff and master James and the rest go to Scotland for vacation. Hudson manages to handle things with his usual aplomb and dignity, and the staff are forced to confront a mysterious 'ghost.'
The ending, I felt was sad and almost 'tacked on.' I would've liked a more 'happier ending' than the one which was given. Overall, while I enjoyed season five, it lacked the vitality and hopefullness of season four.... And, at least for me, has far less 'rewatch-ability.'
Most recent customer reviews
5 Seasons 68 Episodes In All/One Of The Best Acted And Best Written of All Time//When You Think About This Starting In 1972//It's Better All These Years Later,When You See What's... Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2002 by Stanley Cooper
Season five is thankfully here on DVD. The story is one of PBS' BEST EVER, but A&E had to struggle with the DVD transfer. Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2002