After receiving more critical acclaim for her modern day follow up projects to ‘Little Dorrit‘ – ‘Pulse‘ for BBC3 and ‘Going Postal‘ for Sky One – Claire Foy is returning to the past as well as to BBC One in her new role as Lady Persie in ‘Upstairs, Downstairs‘ set in 1936. However, Lady Persie and Amy Dorrit are nothing alike. Lady Persie “The Temptress” is the sister of Lady Agnes Holland played by Keeley Hawes – who is married to Matthew Macfadyen who played Arthur Clennam in ‘Little Dorrit‘.
Lady Persie, played by Claire Foy, the star of BBC1’s Little Dorrit, is the sister of Lady Agnes and is described as ‘walking dark and dangerous path’. She will break hearts like her predecessor, the glamorous Lady Georgina Stockbridge, a hedonistic party girl played by Lesley-Anne Down who eventually saw the error of her ways after accidentally killing a cowherd in a road traffic accident. Ms Down, now 56, went on to find fame in America and is currently starring in the long-running daytime soap opera The Bold And The Beautiful.
The new project is actually a revival of ITV’s Seventies hit ‘Upstairs, Downstairs‘. The show originally ran on ITV from 1971 to 1975, spanning the fictional life of the Bellamy family from 1903 to 1930, and was the brainchild of actresses Dame Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh. The new version will be set in 1936. In the new series, which takes up the story six years after the original left off in 1930, Rose makes an emotional comeback to the London townhouse to serve the new family, under the steely Lady Agnes Holland.
Interestingly, co-creator and star of the show Jean Marsh is reprising her role as Rose Buck, originally a lowly parlour maid but now elevated to housekeeper. The other mastermind behind the show, Dame Eileen Atkins, didn’t act in the original series but now plays the formidable matriarch of the aristocratic family who move in ‘upstairs’ at 165 Eaton Place.
Art Malik, Anne Reid, Ed Stoppard, Adrian Scarborough, Ellie Kendrick and Nico Mirallegro are also part of the cast. A full-scale replica of Eaton Place has been built at studios in Cardiff and filming begins next month. BBC is planning to screen the drama as early as autumn and it will be broadcast on Masterpiece in the US shortly after it makes its British debut. They hope to find similar success to the original, which was broadcast in more than 70 countries to an audience of more than a billion.
Writer Heidi Thomas, who also scripted the successful BBC’s drama Cranford, said: ‘The series will be shot through with sensuality. This is a drama very much about warm-blooded human beings.
‘In a house like Eaton Place, there is a limit to what you can keep behind closed doors. The place is a pressure cooker and the tensions continue to rise and rise until they boil over.
‘Whether the characters are upstairs or downstairs they are living in close proximity to each other and these are the dramas that will engage viewers.’
Piers Wenger, head of drama at BBC Wales where the series is being made, said: ‘We are delighted to have secured the rights to Upstairs, Downstairs with the full blessing and support of the original co-creators.
‘This is not a remake but a completely new version, set in a different era with a whole new cast of characters.’
Source: Daily Mail
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– Magazine Scans > Scans from 2010 > Mail on Sunday – July 25, 2010