ATTENTION, BBC...PLEASE CONTINUE THIS SERIES!
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 01/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a great series! I had never before seen it on television and, loving period pieces as I do, decided to make the purchase. It was worth every penny! My sister, who also loves period pieces, came over. Together, we hunkered down and proceeded to watch the entire series in one sitting, all eight and a half hours of it. We were positively riveted to the screen, so engrossing and well acted is the series.The series centers around three young women, Mattie, Lydia, and Hannah, brought by fate to posh Berkley Square in turn of the twentieth century London. All three work in households where they are employed as nannies. All three meet and become fast friends.Mattie is a an experienced nanny, who was brought up in the tough East End of London and, consequently, is firmly capable of holding her own. She works for a family that is on the unpleasant side with two children, a boy and a girl. The boy is a positive little beast, and the household is run by a crafty and cunning housekeeper. Mattie's benign and pleasant, baby faced countenance, however, belies a will of iron. She most certainly can take care of herself and hold her own with this motley crew. Lydia, the fresh faced and naive country girl, works for a wonderful family, as assistant to a nanny who is like an old family retainer. She watches over the baby, the first child of her employer's second wife, who is an American with modern, egalitarian views. The only blight on her existence, is the grown, handsome son from her employer's first marriage. Hannah has a more unusual history, as she is an unwed mother. She worked as a lady's maid for one of Yorkshire's first families. A love affair with her employer's handsome, only son leads to the birth of their illegitimate son. When her child's father unexpectedly dies, she and her child are forced to flee Yorkshire. She ends up in London, where a chance meeting with Lydia finds her accepting employment in a household in Berkley square, working with the nanny from hell.The series revolves around their experiences and that of the families for whom they work. Over time, the threads of their lives are woven in such a way that they make for an intriguing tapestry of events. Very well acted, with engaging performances by all, and first rate production values, this is a series well worth having in one's collection and is recommended to all who love a well made, period piece."
Delightful high-class soap opera!
cine-curmudgeon | Santa Cruz, CA USA | 01/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those who like long stories, plenty of characters, and human entanglements galore, this one's for you. Three young women from quite different backgrounds go into service as Nannies to three upper-crust households in exclusive, respectable Berkeley Square. How will they manage? those who like BBC-style period drama will be glued to the screen as we find out.As upstairs staff and caretakers of the offspring, our girls are in the midst of the family and, of course, ideally placed to observe the family dramas... infidelity, marital discord, and of course the "goings on" among the servants. This miniseries harks back to the best of the "women's films" of the 30's, with strong, appealing female leads who struggle with all the traditional female burdens: a rigid class hierarchy, Edwardian morality, harsh and unjust employers, and their troublesome, love-hungry charges. We've got everything here: illegitimate children, forged references, baby-swapping, baby-farming, handsome but none-too-bright young man in trouble with the Law, Dickensian old women with terrifying personalities, dashing young Guardsman angling for wealthy marriage, children made to recite the colours of vanished Regiments before they are given a present, cuckolded husband trying pathetically to keep up appearances, frigidly vicious Society grandes dames, poor little rich boy terrorized by nasty governess, horrid young ne'er-do-well trying to molest the help -- In a word, it's lavishly "dishy" and great fun as our heroines cope with one crisis after another.Period setting and costume seems very consistent and well mounted, and the interiors are delightful (with appropriate soundstage too, a point on which British TV drama used to be a bit weak). The young actresses are a treat -- nicely cast, charming, true to type, and quite individual -- and the supporting cast is a pleasure. Some of the minor roles are so well played as to steal all their scenes ("Mrs B" comes to mind), and if a couple of the characters seem a bit wooden -- well, it is Edwardian, don't you know :-)This is a wonderful boxed set with which to regale yourself and the family (if the children are not too young) on a series of chilly winter nights. A hot cuppa, a blanket to cuddle under, and the riveting adventures of Our Heroines -- fine, simple, old-fashioned story-telling fun!"
A Soap-opera which leaves you empty in the end.
Reliable Reviews Too | Carmel Valley, CA | 04/05/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
Three girls become nannies in London in 1902. Each works for a different household. The three become friends as they meet in the park with their strollers.
The first five episodes of the ten are a pleasant, yet lively pace of intrigue within attractive English homes and parks.
The pleasantness gives way to intrigue as the scandals, which have been building, explode in episode six. You find you have been lulled into a soap-opera abounding in sin: fornication, adultery, lying, deceit, manslaughter, seduction, extortion, child endangerment and neglect, to name just a few. The film is far from the "warm-hearted family drama" advertised on the cover.
It is an enticing film. The story is intriguing. The film balances intrigue with pleasant dialogue; the actors are attractive in attractive costumes; the acting is fine within attractive surroundings. Children are present. All the good characters weakly display some virtue.
It is helpful to know that Laudanum is morphine derived from opium mixed with alcohol, sold over-the-counter then, to relieve pain and induce sleep. Doctors knew it was addictive, and deadly in too large a dose.
The characters draw you into the soap opera by displaying promising virtue, but then betraying that virtue (moving back and forth). Opposing minds within the same person. Science says that one mind must eventually win out.
« Red-head, Nanny Hannah Randall opposes child endangerment in one instance, but fails to inform the parents in another instance, who were due informing; and the endangerment continues. Hannah appears to wish to do Right, but fails to consistently act with the resolution of one with single mind to see Right through.
« The aunt expresses her good moral principles, but later gives way to extortion.
« The older nanny stands against the bad guy, but later makes a subtle statement justifying the seduction, extortion, and malice.
« The first half is pleasant, but in the end, a couple of the "good characters" have lied and deceived, causing devastating harm to another, taking away all the pleasantness. In the end, you have not experienced a world of cheer, humor, music, singing, fun, and characters to admire.
A thoughtful film does not need all the scandal. It is interesting enough with the three girls starting jobs as nannies, as servants, the pretty London parks, difficult bosses, other servants, friendships, the charm and mischief of the children, working at doing a good job, what a good nanny is. Add some fun, humor, music, singing, adventures, and characters coming to values to admire.
The lack of many good period films makes this pretty, intriguing, soap opera of technical ability, in which good does not win out, appear desirable. You will enjoy the 8 hours, but be left empty in the end, (Romance without Love). I will not keep it.
I recommend these better films: "Pride and Prejudice-2005, 1996, & 1940", "Wives and Daughters", "North and South", "Middlemarch", "All Creatures Great and Small", "Pollyanna-2002", "Heidi", "Anne of Green Gables", "Under the Greenwood Tree", and "Road to Avonlea seasons 1-6".