165 Eaton Place in the 21st Century


This is not a remake but a completely new version, set in a different era with a whole new cast of characters.”

That quote, in itself, from Piers Wenger, head of drama at  BBC Wales, makes me really wish it was 2011 already when the new Upstairs Downstairs comes to PBS’ Masterpiece series to celebrate their 40th season on PBS in the U.S.

There are so many early indications about this mini-series that make it “Must See TV” on PBS (and KERA) in 2011. According to the BBC, a full-scale replica has been constructed at the BBC studios in Cardiff, Heidi Thomas (Cranford) will script the series with a keen understanding and eye to the task that lies ahead when working with a series concept that is beloved so much from its original broadcast some 35+ years ago and Keeley Hawes (MI5, Ashes to Ashes) has been cast as the lady of the house running Eaton Place and is described by the BBC as “fragrant but ass-kicking“. What else do you need to suck you in over a year in advance of broadcast?

If that’s not enough, how about the fact that Jean Marsh, who co-created the series with Dame Eileen Atkins (who will also have a part in the new production), will reprise her role as Rose Buck, the lowly parlor maid turned lady’s maid in the original, now being elevated to housekeeper in the new production.

A number of other cast members will be familiar to PBS and Masterpiece viewers such as Ellie Kendrick, who starred in The Diary of Anne Frank, Claire Foy from Little Dorrit and Anne Reid from Bleak House, Jane Eyre and, more recently, as Vera Small in the greatness of Ladies of Letters.

2011 – PBS. Masterpiece. Be there.