Image Upstairs Downstairs on a more massive scale. Or, if you can, a serious version of Fawlty Towers set in the 1920s in Manchester's luxurious Grand Hotel. Closed for renovations following World War I, the hotel and its ... more »staff face financial ruin, foreclosure, suicide, and infidelity before even reopening its doors to guests in the first episode of the series. When it finally welcomes visitors, guests abound, but so does trouble. This highly acclaimed eight-part story has everything a miniseries requires: suspense, social climbers, financial double-dealing, humor, murder, and semiretired prostitutes. Written by Queer as Folk author Russell T. Davies, The Grand features an ever-surprising plot propelled by strong characters, their loyalties, rivalries, and revelations. The large and adept cast portrays the hotel guests, staff, and owners. This diverse ensemble re-creates an era when class distinctions between the upper and working classes were all-important. The Grand's doorman acts as a cultural interpreter between the posh owners and the working-class staff. The sets and costumes are done with a remarkable attention to detail that will please both Anglophiles and PBS fans. --Tara Chace« less
"A fascinating British costume drama, set in 1920, revolving around the people inhabiting the "Grand" hotel in post WWI Manchester. The plot is driven by the relationships between and among the owner/manager family members, the staff and the guests of the hotel. The various loyalties, rivalries and revelation of character within dramatic situations is intriguing. As is usual for a British production everything is done in ingratiating style and thoughtful detail in the sets and costumes. In the manner of "Upstairs Downstairs", "The Grand" is a study in class and human character. The viewer willingly enters their thoroughly convincing world and eagerly follows their entwined paths. The large cast of very fine actors illuminate a perseptive and provocative script by Russell T. Davies."
A "Grand" Mini-Series!
Bill | 08/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Grand," a former Masterpiece Theatere presentation, is a classic costume drama in the tradition of fine British fare such as, "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "The Pallisers," but I personally feel "The Grand," which I'd never heard of but stumbled upon recently via DVD, is better than either of those BBC classics.The scene is post-World World 1 Britian, and the family-run "Grand Hotel" has recently been restored to its former glory and is celebrating it's grand reopening on New Year's Eve. Unbeknownst to the Bannerman family, their business manager has lost the family money in speculation and, to embarassed to tell his friend and client, does away with himself during the party. (This all happens in the first three minutes of the movie, so I'm not giving anything away.)From there "The Grand" takes off as the owner, John Bannerman, is forced to allow his sinister brother, who has a passion for the John's wife, Sarah, as well as ladies of questionable reput, to invest in the Grand to save her. But "The Grand" follows far more than that one family story. There is the new chambermaid whose dreams of living "above stairs" turns into a nightmare and John's misguided son, whose life has been forever altered by his involvement in the war. As has the existence of the stalwart and oh-so-proper hotel manager/head butler, who lost his son, under rather mysterious cicrumstances, in the war. Then there's the mysterious guest whose profession shocks the sensabilites of the Victorian owners and a host of other guests and staff members who populate "The Grand's" enchanting landscape.This engrossing series even held my husband's attention, who usually rolls his eyes when I utter the words "British costume drama." Though he was reluctant to begin watching, after the first episode he was like, 'Is that it? This is great!' We actually watched the entire 8-hour mini-series in two evenings and he was as eager to find out "what happens next" as I was."
Check into The Grand
Bill | Seattle, Washington United States | 07/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Grand" is certainly addictive -- thanks to the interesting writing and fine performances from all involved. One caveat: Initially, even the villainy is enjoyable, but by the end, the series turns quite dark and disturbing. My personal favorites among the actors: Tim Healy is excellent as the heart of the hotel; interestingly, as his character becomes a bit looser in "The Grand: Series Two," he becomes less affecting. Mark McGann is an extremely interesting villain -- he manages to keep you wondering if, in fact, there are redeeming qualities in the character. He's a scene stealer, but Julia St. John, as his love interest (and his brother's wife), more than holds her own. Rebecca Callard is extremely appealing as one of the hotel servants. Stephen Moyer invests much depth into his character of the former soldier -- it becomes apparent just how much when you view "The Grand: Series Two," where his character is played by another actor of lesser caliber.As others have mentioned, you'll soon be hooked and find it hard to stop watching until you have finished the entire series. And you'll be sure to want to check in again for "The Grand: Series Two." But that's the point where you might be somewhat disappointed, and not only because two characters (one mentioned above) are played by different, less-effective actors.In the initial episodes of the second series, the tone seems off. While the first series managed to feel like drama rather than soap opera, the second dives wholeheartedly into the soapsuds and becomes more episodic. Some characters even seem to act in ways inconsistent with their previous actions. It almost feels as if a new production team had taken over, although that's not the case.Luckily, the second series hits its stride with the fourth episode and, for the most part, sustains it until almost the very end (with some nifty surprises and plot twists along the way). There's some very enjoyable writing throughout -- great credit goes to Russell T. Davies for staying true to his period and not trying to impose modern sensibilities on his characters. For example, the character who reveals his gayness is utterly confused and conflicted in a way that seems consistent for an uneducated worker in 1920s Britain; his self-hatred and seemingly unresolvable sense of isolation are never glossed over.By the end of the second series, it becomes clear, though, why there were only two series of "The Grand." Just about every avenue of development had been explored and there was little ground left to cover with the characters. So, you check out of The Grand generally satisfied with your stay, but feel fine not returning for another."
You'll leave wanting more!
vrinda_rajkumar | 08/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I also came by this DVD by accident when it was sent to me as a present. I watched it in two sittings. The drama is very intriguing and engrossing. This is not Jane Austen: If you are at all prudish you won't enjoy this as it deals with adult situations. I can't wait to see Series Two."
Absorbing 1920's drama
vrinda_rajkumar | India | 06/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are looking for a classic, you will be disappointed. This is good entertainment, classier than a soap opera, but just about. A very clever script and great acting - I watched the entire series of 8 one-hour episodes in a single sitting.You need to be patient for the first 20 minutes of the first episode, and then you are hooked. This drama series is about two brothers John and Charles Bannerman who run a Hotel called "The Grand" and the lives of their families and staff. Charles is in love with Sarah, his brother John's wife. What we are given to undersand is that they both wooed her, and she opted for "safe and steady" John over the "passion and excitement" of Charles. When the series starts, many years have passed since John's marriage to Sarah and their have children have grown to adults, but Charles has yet to get over Sarah.What I found refreshing was the script refrained from classifying characters as good or bad. These are "real" people. For the most part, no matter how selfish or self absorbed a character is, he/she is shown to have a redeeming quality or two, while the more noble ones have their double standards or weaknesses. I'm mid-way through Series Two. Which although good, is a let down compared to Series One. I've only just realized the apt casting of the actors who played John's son Stephen Bannerman, and Charles lover-interest Ruth, because they have been replaced by competent actors, but now these characters as played by the replacements seem flat and one-dimensional."