All 68 Episodes of the Landmark Series On 20 DVDs! Upstairs, the Bellamy family negotiated the scandals and successes of the English aristocracy. Downstairs, their loyal and lively servants showed far less reserve when con... more »fronting the challenges of their lives. Together, their stories made TV magic.When UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS debuted, network executives fretted that the series was not commercial and viewers would switch off in the thousands. More than thirty years later, it is universally recognized as one of the most successful and important shows in television history, seen by over 1 billion people worldwide and the winner of 9 Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Peabody, among many other awards.Take a final journey back to 165 Eaton Place with this comprehensive set featuring all 68 episodes of the unforgettable masterpiece, digitally remastered for presentation on DVD. The collection also includes the rarely-seen retrospective Upstairs Downstairs Remembered: The 25th Anniversary Special.« less
"Before buying this set I would strongly encourage you to use a web search tool for '"Upstairs, Downstairs" US DVD' and see for yourself just how bad the picture is on these DVDs. I can confirm that these DVDs are identical to the first US release of "Upstairs, Downstairs", but simply repackaged and repriced lower. I own over 400 DVDs, have rented many more than that, and have never seen a worse transfer to DVD. If you must own this show on DVD buy a region-free DVD player and get one of the European sets. Not deserving of 1 star, but rather a square. Shameful. Avoid."
A Must Have DVD Set
W. L. Morrow | Texas | 12/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have no idea why some of the reviewers are complaining about the audio and video quality of these DVDs. Because of those reviews I almost did not buy this set. That would have been a grave error. I suppose, if you are some type of audio/video expert you might find a few reasons to complain, but this is a 35 year old British TV show. If you expect special effects, buy Star Wars, not Upstairs Downstairs. The quality of the audio and video was quite acceptable and certainly better than when it originally aired. (It should also be remembered that the first season was filmed during a technicians strike.)
As for the show itself, Upstairs Downstairs is one of the greatest TV shows ever filmed. It is an extremely entertaining examination of the British class system from 1900 to 1930 (particularly what happened to it as a result of WWI). After you have watched a couple of shows, you will have difficulty turning them off."
MORE ON THE DREADFUL A&E TRANSFER
A Reader/Viewer from Northern Calif | 10/09/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"It goes without saying that "Upstairs/Downstairs" is a brilliant, entertaining series well worth the owning. When Amazon offered the Collector's Edition Megaset on a great sale, I couldn't pass it up. I didn't really remember the series well, but I knew I very much wanted to see it. Like others, I read the discouraging reviews about the A&E Home Video transfer, but I thought, I'm not really that picky and it's probably not all that bad. Well, I am not that picky; I don't care about things being in HD or looking like a "Harry Potter" movie. That said, I want readers to know, I was very, very disappointed in the visual and sound quality of A&Es Megaset. So much so, I had given thought to sending this set back and exchanging it for another in hopes that it might be better. But first I did some research. I googled "Why are the DVDs of A&E's Upstairs/Downstairs so bad?" and found an informative website which had a page on the US A&E version. It made it clear that A&E Home Video had used old copies of the episodes for their remastering instead of getting new ones from the UK, undoubted a cost saving measure on their part. As someone who has purchased many of these wonderful, older British series, I can tell you that the A&E version of the Joan Hickson "Miss Marple"s are not terribly good either, although they are certainly better than these sorry things. I have only taken a quick look at the two Thomas & Sarah DVDs and they do appear to be somewhat better than Upstairs/Downstairs. Hopefully, someday another company will release a quality set of the original series."
One of the Best British Period Dramas of All Time!
Tiggah | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 08/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is no exaggeration to say that this classic early 70's British period drama is one of the all-time best series of its sort ever produced. With sixty-eight 50-minute episodes, the series covers a time span of nearly 30 years (from early Edwardian England in 1903, through the horrors of the First World War, and on into the Roaring 20s, finally concluding with 1929's stock market crash). The setting is the household of the Bellamy family at 165 Eaton Place, London. Upstairs live Richard Bellamy, MP, and his beautiful, aristocratic wife, Lady Margery. The Bellamys have two adult children, Captain James and Elizabeth, who come and go much like a recurring motif (though recurring nightmare might be more appropriate, for they are the source of much grief (albeit unintended) for their society parents). I don't wish to give the storylines, scandals and surprises away. Suffice it to say that as the series progress, there are lovers, marriages, births and deaths (not to mention the arrival of a beautiful young niece) which impact on the relationships and alter the composition of the group above stairs.
Downstairs we are privy to the lives of the servants in the Bellamy household. First and foremost is the devout, inflexible and regimental head butler, Angus Hudson, the staff overlord. Then there is the curmudgeonly but good-hearted cook, Mrs. Bridges. Other memorable characters include the efficient but sheltered head house/parlour maid, Rose Buck; the religious but simple footman, Alfred; his successor, the good-natured Edward, who has an eye for the female staff; the not-overly-bright scullery maid, Emily, and her successor and intellectual equal, Ruby; and Lady Margery's prim and snobbish lady's maid, Miss Roberts. Of course, one simply cannot forget the sassy, vivacious new under house/parlour maid, Sarah (Pauline Collins), who is a real dreamer and schemer and who, like a bad penny, turns up on the Bellamys' doorstep periodically during the first two series, or the new capable-but-just-as-conniving chauffeur, Thomas (Collins' real-life husband, John Alderton), who is nobody's fool! Like the family upstairs, the downstairs "family" too has its share of comings and goings, what with lovers, marriages, deaths, hirings, and firings.
This boxed set includes the 1979 spin-off series entitled Thomas and Sarah (thirteen 50-minute episodes), which chronicles the adventures and misadventures of those two memorable miscreants after they leave the Bellamy's employ. Unlike Upstairs Downstairs, which is fairly high drama infused with a spattering comic relief here and there, Thomas and Sarah is very much a comedy-drama. 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 only thing less than satisfactory is the "conclusion" of the final episode, which left me wondering whether or not a second series was at least anticipated. But that's is a minor quibble, for this is a series to be watched for the sheer enjoyment of the journey.
One final dvd bonus is the enjoyable and informative 50-minute 25th Anniversary Special, which was produced around 1998 and includes remembrances by many of the surviving actors (including James, Elizabeth, Rose, Edward, Daisy, and Ruby).
In conclusion, Upstairs Downstairs is quite simply an outstanding dramatic series. It is compelling, captivating, and often thought-provoking; and if you enjoy a dramatic series with lots of "goings on," scandal, and so forth, you'll enjoy it all the more! The inclusion of Thomas and Sarah is a delightful, light-hearted, entertaining bonus, and I highly, HIGHLY recommend this boxed set to all fans of the very best in British period drama. "
UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS IS A PURE JEM!
Lizard | Florida | 01/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wish I could give it a hundred stars, this Upstairs, Downstairs is absolute magic. A story about the Bellamy family and their servants, it goes beyond any kind of play or soap (quite frankly, I think it merged qualities of both quite successfully)--but it draws you INTO the family and you feel like you actually become a PART of the whole thing. Troubles? Sure always troubles with both the wealthy family and troubles with the servants. But even in real life, it always has trouble, doesn't it. Frequently very touching; sometimes even shocking; it's GREAT! I LOVE THESE DVDs! I don't give a flip what other people say about the alleged picture and sound quality "troubles". I say, honestly, just WHERE are these alleged "toubles"--remember it was made for television; in fact during some of the early season you have some black and white episodes due to some kind of technical crew strike or whatever. But it's just a few shows but WHO CARES it's all great.
I found nothing wrong with either the quality of the DVDs picture and sound. I thought the overall picture/sound is great.
BIG WARNING: ONCE YOU START WATCHING THESE DVDS BEFORE YOU KNOW IT YOU ARE ***hooked*** AND I MEAN YOU CAN'T STOP WATCHING THESE. REMEMBER I WARNED YOU.
Another great thing about Upstairs, Downstairs, is that you can watch it again and again and never get tired of it.
If you are not used to British television, well, the first disk you have to get used to the accent...but it's not hard--TRUST ME IN NO TIME YOU WILL NOT EVEN NOTICE THE ACCENT.