Beloved by audiences in more than 70 countries, this seminal British television series is just as enjoyable now as when it first aired in the 1970s. Richard, his son James, and James's wife, Hazel, comprise the aristocrati... more »c Bellamy family that resides upstairs while their loyal servants maintain the London household from downstairs. These episodes, set in 1914 to 1918, during the Great War, follow the upper class family's troubles in changing times and the ongoing lives of their resilient staff. The fourth season is more soapy than the previous ones and is best viewed in order. Outstanding cast performances and the dramatic backdrop of the war give this season its reputation as the best of the five. Due to limited filming budgets, the war is largely seen through home-front activities. While James and Edward serve on the frontlines, the rest of the family participates in the war effort as best they can, busy with tea parties for wounded officers, charity shows, and attempts to shelter refugees. Surprising everyone, Ruby even leaves to build munitions, only to return after an explosion at the factory. Marriages and tragedies ensue, affecting both upstairs and downstairs at 165 Eaton Place. As the Great War concludes, and things begin to settle down, England celebrates the Armistice and the Bellamy family contemplates the end of an era and the changes to come. --Tara Chace« less
"This series is my favorite in the Upstairs Downstairs canon. The residents of 165 Eaton Place face the loss and hardships of World War I bravely. Several important themes, such as duty, honor, love and loss are explored through the lives of several characters. War comes home, literally, when a Zeppelin drops a bomb on Eaton Place. James, Edward, Georgina, and most tragically Rose and Hazel are all victims of the war's bloodlust. There are some extremely fine moments, such as when Georgina sees some wounded soldiers and realizes her playgirl life has to stop, and some extremely funny ones, as in the episode when the Bellamy's drawingroom is commandeered for a dreary charity event. With this series the writers and artists reached their height!"
The War Years at 165 Eaton Place...
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 09/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The acclaimed fourth season of UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS focuses on the turbulent years of World War One, with the Bellamy's fighting to keep control of an ever-changing world, shattered asunder..."A Patriotic Offering" - Lady Prudence (Joan Benham) convinces Hazel (Meg Wynn Owen) to take in a family of Belgian refugees, resulting in a major upset for the servants."News From the Front" - Whilst on leave, James (Simon Williams) finds himself drawn into a political situation which might affect his future in the army."The Beastly Hun" - An anti-German feeling sweeps through Eaton Place following the sinking of the Lusitania, with Hudson (Gordon Jackson) spreading scare stories about the local baker and his family, who are discovered to be of German origin. "Women Shall Not Weep" - Edward (Christopher Beeny) and Daisy (Jacqueline Tong) decide to get married before Edward leaves for the draft. Georgina (Lesley-Anne Down) vows to become an army nurse after witnessing the dead and injured soldiers returning to London; while Ruby (Jenny Tomasin) surprises everyone when she announces she is to leave her position to go and work in a munitions factory."Tug of War" - Georgina discovers that nursing isn't all she thought it would be, while James becomes frustrated with his staff-army job."Home Fires" - Rose (Jean Marsh) once again bumps into her former fiance, Australian sheep farmer Gregory Wilmot (Keith Barron) who has joined the army. They decide to get married again, but will Hudson ruin it all?..."If You Were the Only Girl in the World" - At a tea-party for wounded officers, bored Hazel meets a charming young airman, Jack Dyson (Andrew Ray). Slowly, a gentle courtship begins and Hazel experiences her first true romance."The Glorious Dead" - A time of personal tragedy at Eaton Place. Rose receives word about Gregory, whilst Hazel discovers the fate of Jack."Another Year" - A shellshocked Edward returns to Eaton Place, a shadow of his former self. Hazel meets the aquaintance of Mrs Virgina Hamilton (Hannah Gordon), the charming widow of a naval officer. Following an explosion at the munitions factory, Ruby returns to Eaton Place."The Hero's Farewell" - Lady Prudence and her society friends decide to stage a 'historic tableaux' at Eaton Place. The situation turns deadly when a zeppelin raid begins and bombs start falling nearby..."Missing Believed Killed" - James is still missing at the front, and the entire household is thrown into shock. "Facing Fearful Odds" - Virginia once again seeks the help of Richard (David Langton) when her oldest son is about to be court-martialled."Peace Out of Pain" - Richard proposes to Virginia, with whom he has fallen in love, whilst Hazel becomes seriously ill with a deadly strain of the flu virus...Highly-recommended. Most people single out the fourth season of UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS as the strongest out of the entire series. Excellent writing, expert direction as well as top-notch performances from Gordon Jackson, Meg Wynn Owen, Christopher Beeny, Angela Baddeley and Simon Williams.Also featuring Mel Churcher, Raymond Huntley, Barrie Cookson, Christopher Good, Joyce Heron, Celia Imrie, Patricia Macrae, Elma Soiron, Karen Glaser, Cyril Cross, Lala Lloyd, Ian Hoare, Lisa Moss, Edward Underdown, Miles Bennett, Ena Baga, Timothy Peters, Gertan Klauber, Freda Dowie, Robert Swann, Giles Watling, Keith Jayne, Neville Barber, Dennis Blatch, James Woolley, Edward Hammond, Barbara Atkinson, Kevin Moran, Mike Fields, Valerie Lush, Betty England, Betty Romaine, Polly Williams, Richenda Carey, Auriol Smith, John Lyons, Julia Sutton, Robert McBain, Audrey Joyce, Neville Hughes, Richard Owens, Venetia Maxwell, Sarah Twist, Brian Nolan, Kenneth MacDonald, William Ashley, Eileen Way, Helena McCarthy, Graham Leaman, Robin Bailey, Phyllida Law, Fanny Rowe, Alfred Maron, Gareth Hunt, Brian Badcoe, Ann Martin, Richard Reeves, Hilary Minster, Laurence Harrington, Anthony Nash, Peter Whitaker and Anthony Woodruff.4 single-sided, dual-layer discs."
It Just Gets Better
Dr. Rita Bigel-Casher | New York, New York United States | 02/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When television was reaching for the stars this series which lasted 5 years was like a rocketship in the anals of entertainment. Thirty years later it is still totally absorbing, sophisticated, and fun to watch. It is a classic that my husband and I re-visited recently over a period of several months. If you missed Upstairs Downstairs in the '70's don't miss it now if you can help it. A combination of a British soap opera, classical drama and comedy, we got totally involved in the family upstairs, and the second family of servants, downstairs. It's a hoot."
Great Story - Mediocre Production Values
Byron Kolln | 08/19/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As usual I will not spend much time on the plot. The story line is one of PBS's best presentations of life in London from 1900 - 1930's. The story is about the below stairs staff who serve a very class conscious family called the Bellamys. The production values on this DVD set are about the same as in the first three series (which are none too good). The problem it seems is that there aren't any good masters from which to make the DVDs. I thank A & E for giving us this series. Every diehard USDS fan will want to add this DVD to their library. The VHS tapes will only continue to deteriorate. Let's hope that more recent Masterpiece Theatre series make it to DVD before the deterioration sets in. Upstairs Downstairs is worth a buy in spite of reproduction weaknesses."
The Best Season of Upstairs Downstairs So Far
SereneNight | California, USA | 05/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am new to the world of Upstairs Downstairs, but this (the fourth) season is the best season I've watched so far. For those of you who are new to the world of Upstairs Downstairs, this series is a character driven drama which focuses on the disparate (but yet entwined) lives of the rich Bellamy's and their servants.Character growth, loss, tragedy and triumph are the themes of this season, as the characters are greatly affected by the trials of world war I. I highly recommend this for fans of this time period, or fans of BBC drama. I particularly liked the character arc involving Edward the footman, and the arc involving Hazel Bellamy. This is truly an excellent series, I am sorry that it was ended after the fifth season."