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on July 14, 2003
The third season of UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS continues the lives of the Bellamy family and their servants of Eaton Place. The time is now 1912, and the Edwardian era is over and the new age of ragtime and the 'flying machine' is on the horizon...
"Miss Forrest" - It is a time of change at Eaton Place. We learn that Elizabeth has moved to America, and James (Simon Williams) has broken off his engagement to Phyllis Kingman. Richard (David Langton) is busy writing a political biography of Lord Southwold, and he has employed the services of Hazel Forrest (Meg Wynn Owen) to help in the assignment. Lady Marjorie (Rachel Gurney) is preparing for a journey to Canada...on the Titanic.
"A House Divided" - The entire house is thrown into shock with the news that Lady Marjorie did not survive the sinking of the Titanic, along with Miss Roberts (Patsy Smart). Richard sinks deep into depression. However, the servants get the shock of their lives when a bedraggled Miss Roberts turns up on the doorstep..
"A Change of Scene" - James is invited for a weekend party at Bunny Newbury's (John Quayle) estate. Hudson (Gordon Jackson) accompanies him in the position of valet, but soon he is caught up in a moral dilemma that will rock his sense of duty.
"A Family Secret" - James, still trying to deal with his mother's death, impulsively proposes to Hazel. However, Hazel tearfully declines the marriage. What is the deep dark secret that prevents her from marrying him?...
"Rose's Pigeon" - Rose (Jean Marsh) gets a huge shock when she discovers ex-footman Alfred (George Innes) on the doorstep, on the run after murdering his male lover..
"Desirous of Change" - Richard is pursued by Countess Lili de Ternay (Angela Browne) who is beautiful but penniless. A touch of romance fills the air as Richard smiles for the first time since the death of his wife. Adding further complications is the new maid Gwyneth (Janet Lees Price) who is a good worker but given to gossip and devious stories.
"Word of Honour" - Richard finds himself in a moral dilemma as he refuses to betray a confidence in the eyes of the law. Once again, Sir Geoffrey Dillon (Raymond Huntley) is called to get the Bellamy's out of trouble.
"The Bolter" - James and Hazel, newly-married, are invited to the Newbury estate for a hunting weekend. James forbids Hazel to take part in the foxhunt, but devious Lady Diana (Celia Bannerman) has other ideas...
"Goodwill to all Men" - It's Christmas, and the entire household is in high spirits. Dowager Lady Southwold (Cathleen Nesbitt) has come for a visit, bringing Lord Southwold's young ward Georgina Worsley (Lesley-Anne Down). Trouble starts brewing when Georgina befriends new maid Daisy (Jacqueline Tong)...
"What the Footman Saw" - Edward (Christopher Beeny) accidentally lets slip some rather-scandalous stories. Refers to events that occurred in "The Bolter".
"A Perfect Stranger" - On her afternoon off, Rose meets handsome Australian sheep farmer Gregory Wilmot (Keith Barron). Romance soon blossoms, but will Rose ever consider leaving Eaton Place in order to marry him?
"Distant Thunder" - Tensions are running high in the Bellamy household. Hazel is in bed recovering from the loss of her baby while James thoughtlessly takes Georgina to a ball, leaving poorly Hazel in the care of Richard.
"The Sudden Storm" - Hazel arranges for the servants to spend the Bank Holiday at the seaside, while World War One looms heavily on the horizon.
Also starring Angela Baddeley, Jenny Tomasin, Joan Benham, Anthony Ainley, Tony Bateman, Arthur Brough, Anthony Dawes, Elisabeth Day, John Flint, Helen Lindsay, Leonard Trolley, Richard Vernon and Valerie White.
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on December 12, 1999
The third season of UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS opens in a midst of social change. It begins with a two part story, MISS FORREST, and A HOUSE DIVIDED, which deal with the tragedy of Lady Marjorie Bellamy perishing on the Titanic. One thing that made Upstairs Downstairs so good was the real life effect. People died and left, and the others in the house struggle to carry on, a theme which runs through this season. It covers the pre war years (1912-1914) in which James meets and marries the secretary, Hazel Forrest, who is one of the best characters that was created. Rose also meets a man whom she intends to marry, and naive but sweet Georgina Worsley also arrives, along with Daisy, a maid who falls in love with Edward. Season three is stronger than the previous installment, partly because of its subject matter of the changing times. James and Hazel's troubled marriage is heartbreaking to watch, as is the Titanic episode. Season Three ends with another two parter, DISTANT THUNDER and THE SUDDEN STORM, which deal with the beginnings of World War One, which would change everything the Bellamy's and their servants believed in. Richard Bellamy sums it up in THE SUDDEN STORM, "This war marks the beginning of the end of everything I've loved and lived for. We'll never be the same again." These two episodes are probably the best of the entire series. This season is one of the best things ever on television, and builds up nicely to the fourth season, not yet on video, which deals with The Great War. Another good episode is GOODWILL TO ALL MEN, which deals with Georgina trying to help Daisy's starving family. WHAT THE FOOTMAN SAW, which shows the beginning of Edward and Daisy's romance, is highly touching. A very highly recommended series.
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on September 3, 2002
I am not financially challenged. I buy lots of A&E stuff. I read reviews that the first two series were bad in the dvd transfer. OK. I tried the third series.
If this is deemed acceptable, then the first two series must be absolutely horrible. The picture is unwatchable. Do not buy this under any circumstances. Imagine watching a third or fourth generation video tape copy when lightning is going on messing up your electricals. Well, this is how your screen is going to look like. I have seen better with bootlegged pirated Malaysian vcds.
If you are into English accent, stick to the A&E romantic series, Pride and Prejudice and so on. There is no English subtitling in this horrid third series. But you can accept Pride and Prejudice because the widescreen version is so much clearer than the local TV broadcast of the same.
Sorrell and Son from Granada is about as bad as one can take. Buy Sorrell and Son first. If you can accept the low quality, then downgrade to the Flambards. And if you are half blind, you may then try Upstairs, Downstairs.
Hey, nobody is expecting Gosford Park standard. We know the stuff is aged. But this? Buyer beware!!! after this review, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
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on September 22, 2002
In the third season of Upstairs Downstairs we say goodbye to Lady Marjorie, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Thomas, who all depart the show, but welcome Hazel Forrest, a shy middle class girl whom James has fallen in love with after enduring great sorrow. Hazel is my favorite character in all of Updown. The aristocrats sneer at her, but she's worth fifty of any of them! Another newcomer is Georgina Worsley, ward of Richard Bellamy and soon to be the object of James' wandering eye. Below stairs we meet Daisy, the new parlor maid and soon to be wife of Edward, the footman. Rose continues to serve faithfully, as do Mrs. Bridges and Hudson. This series has a couple of episodes away from Eaton Place, two at Somerby Park, the aristocratic country home of some of James' worthless friends, and one, the final episode, by the sea as the staff takes a holiday. By the time this series ends it is August 1914 and World War I is about to start. The Bellamys and their staff prepare to soldier on.
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on April 7, 2002
We are enjoying this series as the newer DVD formats become available - about every 4 months. The 3rd series is particularly wonderful because it develops the characters in marvelous ways. The two country outings of James Bellamy, one alone and one with his new wife - reminds one of Gosford Park, with the same sorts of scheming, intrigues, trysts and fun. Hudson, Edward, James and Hazel are further developed. Christmas 1913 comes in with a two new actresses - one upstairs and one down, both providing color and adventures in both areas of the house. Although we give this series 5 stars, our feeling was that the first two episodes sufferred a little with video fidelity.
Still - it was wonderful. We have not seen the Upstairs Downstairs series in years, and can hardly wait til the 4th series (WWI) is available - hopefully in June or July.
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on May 14, 2002
Amazingly enough, I must admit that this series only improves with time. The first two seasons were riveting, but the third had me hooked; I watched every episode nonstop. The character development of James Bellamy is refreshing, as is the new blood introduced by Hazel. I can't wait to get my hands on season four, but I'll just have to be content to savor the first three seasons in the meantime. Why can't current writers and producers get it through their jaded Hollywood skulls that this is the kind of entertainment that most thinking people long for?
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on December 17, 1999
I appreciate this series because one rarely gets to see what life was like right before the First World War. The fashions, mores, etc. are enlightening. "The Bolter" is a particularly good episode and gives insight into the frightful house parties of the early part of the century. One feels very sorry for Hazel in this series, and begins to loathe James.
I also like this series because it focuses on many members of the Upstairs Downstairs family, not just one. Highly enjoyable.
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on February 6, 2000
Of all the shows ever made, NONE (and I do mean none) can hold a candle to this gem. You don't have to be an anglophile to watch this -- BUT IT SURE HELPS! If you can't enjoy this, you should forfeit your membership in the human race. $$$? I'd pay 100 times that amount just to hold the BOX!
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this is the series that pulled pbs in the US up by its bootstraps. calling it a soap opera is blasphemous. light years beyond that. would recommend especially for anglophiles like myself.
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