the undersides of a big English house


The channel proposes to (re) discover this Saturday at 9:05 pm the BBC's successful production of the 70's, enriched between 2010 and 2012 by nine new episodes. In the same vein, it precedes by a few years Downton Abbey.

Before Gosford Park (2001), by Robert Altman, well before Downton Abbey (2010-2015), which is eagerly awaiting the release on September 25 of the cinema version, the BBC had imagined Masters and valets. Produced in the 70s, enriched with nine episodes aired between 2010 and 2012, the series, titled Upstairs, Downstairs (literally Up down) in English, explores the daily relations between two opposite classes, but nevertheless totally dependent on each other of British society: the aristocrats and their servants. The first batch counted 65 episodes and recounted the daily life of 165 Eaton Place, London, then occupied by Lord Bellamy and his family. Bellamy gone, the batch of the 2000s is interested in the fate of the new occupants of the house, the Holland.

The plot takes place in 1936 when Europe seems already powerless against the rise to power of Adolf Hitler. Lord Hallam Holland (Ed Stoppard, The Frankenstein Chronicles), senior diplomat, his wife, Lady Agnes (Keeley Hawes, Bodyguard) and theirs live a dream life, served by a brigade of servants both deferential and aware of the changes that are coming. The big aristocratic families are losing their beauty. The valets emancipate themselves. Women are beginning to claim some freedom of choice. Political tensions are extreme. But, soon, all are united, so as to be ready to go to war.

Masters and valets In the 1970s, he received a multitude of awards, including a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award. More recent episodes, though written by the same tandem of creators, have gone unnoticed. And, if it may seem less obviously appealing than Downton Abbey, the series does not lack charm, including that of Claire Foy, aka Percy, very comfortable in her role as a young lady.

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