It’s only February, but it’s time to circle Fall 2011/Winter 2012 on your calendar for round two of the bout between Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs. We all know the story of the mega-hit from ITV, Downton Abbey. Broadcast last Fall in the UK to record viewer numbers and followed by a US premiere on PBS’ Masterpiece series last month to similar viewer acclaim, the series was almost immediately commissioned for a second series scheduled for UK broadcast in the Fall of 2011 with an early 2012 US broadcast, again on PBS’ Masterpiece series.
With PBS set to premiere the BBC production of Upstairs Downstairs beginning Sunday, 10 April, comes news from the BBC Press Office that the classic 1970’s remake has already been commissioned for a second series. While relatively short, the timeframe between the end of Downton Abbey in the US and the announcement that there would be second series seemed excruciatingly long. This scenario won’t be duplicated when Upstairs Downstairs premieres. No need to feel frustration, as many US viewers did after the ‘end’ of Downton Abbey, should all the loose ends not be neatly tied up.
For UK viewers, according to the BBC, the second series of Upstairs Downstairs will “…chart a period of social change in Britain in which class structures and relationships between master and servant are tested to their limits. Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, took it up a notch by saying, “…the new series will portray a society in its endgame. A huge shock will ensure events at 165 Eaton Place are never the same again.”
For PBS viewers in the US, imagine a new season of Masterpiece next year that already includes Downton Abbey 2 and Upstairs Downstairs 2, in addition to a second set of Sherlock programs from Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. All the makings of another stellar season to look forward to…the 41st to be exact.
Whether you’re in the UK or the US…enjoy the coming year.