Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Upstairs Downstairs 1903-2011


I've just watched the second episode of the new Masterpiece Theatre Upstairs Downstairs, as well as the first four episodes of the original.

I bought the first series of the classic series off Amazon.ca, and it takes place in 1903-08, the beginning of the Tighsolas era.

Right away, I was pleased to see a dressing scene in the maid's quarters. In Flo in the City, I describe Flo getting dressed. Now I can see it for myself.

I don't recall seeing Upstairs Downstairs, but it's hard to tell. It is so iconic that you don't have to see it to 'have seen it.'

I recall the Forsythe Saga, (I recall this scene if the baby Fleur) and Duchess of Duke Street...and I Claudius.

Upstairs Downstairs started in 1971. I was in 10th grade. The other years I was in college and university.

Still, it's very likely I watched the show. And I am pretty certain Flo and Edie did, from Tighsolas. (If they could get PBS...hmm.) And then they probably thought back to their lives in 1905 and 1908 (perhaps remembering that upstairs in the attic was a trunk full of era letters). And they probably joked about having no servants..how they were their own servants. Well, we all know where they were and what they were doing in the Edwardian Era before the war.

As they watched the maid, played by Pauine Collins secure her stockings with garters, perhaps they discussed when they changed over to garter belts (which were just going out of style thanks to pantyhose). I doubt that at 88 Edith had changed to pantyhose. Pantyhose is still problematic for very old women.

When they heard about the coal stoves, they probably thought back to the wood stove, that was in Tighsolas for a long long time. They might have discussed how in 1910, the more modern stoves where both coal and wood.

The cool thing about the old Upstairs Downstairs is that it makes reference to technological changes happening. The cinema, the auto. Incidently.

Anyway, I will purchase the next series, 1908 and beyond to further study the era. I realize the show's real strength is its acting. Still stand out after all these years.

I also watched an HBO programme about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire on the anniversary of the history-changing evcnt. I was taken by how beautiful all the victims were, even their descendants.

Jewish and Italian.

In Montreal, French Canadians also worked in the factories.