All thirteen episodes of the delightful successor to Upstairs Downstairs are available on DVD for the first time. Household Hierarchy ChartGuest appearances by Nigel Hawthorne (Yes Prime Minister Amistad Richard II) and Th... more »ora Hird (A Kind of Loving The Entertainer).The engaging series starring John Alderton (Calendar Girls) and Pauline Collins (City of Joy).« less
I have the first two seasons of Upstairs, Downstairs but haven't gotten around to watching them yet. I know U/D was very highly rated. I got T/S because I really liked Pauline Collins in 'Shirley Valentine'.
As for T/S, it's a little bit on the light side, I found. Some of the stories were too hurried and could have used more developing and would have done better as such spread over two episodes instead of hurriedly and sloppily sewing it all up in one. Also, it was painfully obvious that the series was operating on a shoestring budget. The wardrobes of the "rich" were always lacking a certain luster.
I found the stories got better towards the end and I was sorry there weren't more. Still Pauline Collins is always fun to watch and John Alderton isn't too hard on the eyes, is he? Did you know that he is Pauline Collins' real life husband?
All in all, I think you will enjoy this collection and may even decide to hang on to your copy, as I did.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Anne R. from OGDEN, UT Reviewed on 12/18/2008...
Not even highbrow TV can resist spinning off a successful series! When the enormously popular Upstairs, Downstairs came to a close, two of its most colorful characters were given a series of their own: Thomas the chauffer (John Alderton, Calendar Girls) and Sarah the parlor maid (Pauline Collins, Shirley Valentine). Thomas & Sarah charted the social and financial escapades of this dubious pair, who lived together without getting married and were as comfortable with con artistry as lawful employment. The tone and quality of these 13 episodes varies from social commentary to light adventure, but at its best Thomas & Sarah could match its illustrious forebear.
The first episode starts things off on a smart, satirical note: Thomas disturbs Sarah's carefully fabricated new identity when, to woo her back into his arms, he concocts a new persona of his own. But it's a handful of later episodes that are truly remarkable. In one, Sarah tells Thomas that she's pregnant to forestall his dream of emigrating to America. When he learns that she's lied to him, he enacts a vicious revenge; Alderton's performance is both convincing and frightening. In another, success in the stock market leads Thomas and Sarah to hire servants of their own--with decidedly uncomfortable results (Nigel Hawthorne, The Madness of King George, appears as a stern and rigid butler). The exploration of class is clever, subtle, and insightful. A second season was never produced due to a strike, but this single season remains a fascinating portrait of the Edwardian era, sparkling with superb acting and writing. Collins and Alderton create two engaging, contradictory, and utterly vivid characters, worthy of your time. --
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
A Thoroughly Enjoyable "Spin Off" of a Classic Series!
Tiggah | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 12/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of Upstairs Downstairs (a series which I highly HIGHLY recommend, by the way) will be familiar with Sarah (Pauline Collins), the vivacious, conniving, mischievous, tale-telling under house/parlour maid who entered the Bellamys' employ in the first episode of that series, and who, like a bad penny, managed to turn up on the Bellamys' doorstep periodically during the first two series. Thomas (Collins' real-life husband, John Alderton) was the Bellamys' capable-but-just-as-conniving chauffeur. With a pregnant Sarah in tow, Thomas left the Bellamys' employ in order to start up his own garage, and we saw the last of those two characters at the end of the second series.
It is a good many months after their last appearance at 165 Eaton Place that this 1979 "spin off" commences. It really goes without saying that it is for fans of Upstairs Downstairs that Thomas and Sarah was made, and if you enjoyed the former series, the latter really is a must see. Unlike Upstairs Downstairs, which is fairly high drama infused with a spattering comic relief here and there, this series is very much a comedy-drama--and it is simply delightful.
This series can best be described as a series of adventures and escapades in the lives of Thomas and Sarah, with (for the most part) each episode being a separate and complete (not to mention highly entertaining!) story. With Sarah's penchant for foreign accents and tale-telling and the conniving and entrepreneurial spirit that both characters embody, the stage is set for some thoroughly enjoyable vignettes. Most of the episodes involve the couple trying their hands (and luck) at something new--like running a match-making agency, working in a boys' school, working as magicians, and so on. For all their efforts, however, they always seem to find themselves skint--and thus the need for another enterprise (and hence another enjoyable episode!).
The series consists of thirteen 50-minute episodes and features guest appearances by Thora Hird (In Loving Memory, Last of the Summer Wine), Nigel Hawthorne (Yes Minister, The Madness of King George), and Anton Rogers (Lillie, May to December), each of whom appears in an episode.
As it stands, the only thing that was less than satisfactory was the "conclusion" (if one can call it that) of the final episode, concerning which I will say only this: There is ambiguity, and it is sufficient to leave me wondering whether or not a second series was at least anticipated. But please don't be dissuaded from seeing this superb series merely on that account, for this is a series to be watched for the sheer enjoyment of the journey.
The conclusion notwithstanding, this was one of the most enjoyable series I have seen, and it had our entire family eagerly awaiting each episode to see what these two endearing miscreants were going to get up to next! It is a series which I recommend unhesitatingly and indeed very highly to fans of Upstairs Downstairs--particularly to those for whom Sarah and Thomas were favourite characters. "
Picking up where the bellamy's left off........
G. Carlson | North Yorkshire, UK | 08/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"very good dvd of two people once employed by the bellamy family in London. Now of on their own trying to make their way in early england society. getting into all kinds of scrapes and making new friends on the way, this delightful series has a very good suprise ending. It also makes one understand thomas and sarah's charcter a bit more. If you like John Alderton and Pauline Collins (real life husband and wife) you will love this series. Very entertaining. I loved them in the Wodehouse playhouse series also!!!! "
A Delightful Spin-Off of Upstairs, Downstairs
Bob Rourke | New York, NY | 01/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although I had seen all of "Upstairs, Downstairs," I didn't even know that "Thomas and Sarah" existed until I read about it as an offering from Edward Hamilton, Bookseller. He listed it for $20 so I immediately bought the DVDs.
I'm so glad I did. Within a few days, I'd watched the entire 12-episode season. "Upstairs, Downstairs" fans will already be well acquainted with Sarah, the under-house parlor maid, and Thomas, the chauffeur of the Bellamy residence.
This series, a spin-off, concerns the couple's further adventures. Each episode is completely different as they try to make a living in various occupations, often involving one mischievous scam or another. It's hardly surprising that Pauline Collins and John Alderton have perfect chemistry together, being husband and wife in real life, which makes whatever they do highly watchable. But no matter how outrageous or devious or cunning their frequently lawless activities on screen, their charm and likeability factors are always present.
I particularly liked the episode in which Thomas and Sarah return to Thomas's small Welsh town, where Thomas's brother is a hell-and-brimstone minister (beautifully portrayed by Gary Raymond). Soon Sarah is uncovering family secrets and exposing hypocrisies that turn the town on its ear.
The final episode ends with a cliffhanger, which many may find unsatisfactory. From what I understand, there was supposed to be a second season of this series, in which certain things from the first season would be revealed, but, due to a strike, the second season never came off. What a pity for all of us!"
Thomas and Sarah
Teresa | Sandy, OR United States | 10/02/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Adventures of Thomas, the cunning Welsh chauffeur from Upstairs Downstairs and Sarah, the mischievous cockney parlow maid. They are real life husband and wife. Story picks up after they have left the Bellamy house. Seven tapes of their adventures both in and out of money. Good supporting cast. Cons that work for a while -- always end up broke. Sarah having her way with not going to America and a half dozen stories of their adventures. Enjoyable BUT the ending is a letdown. After all their adventures you think the ending would be something better than it was. Most annoying."