The UP - DOWN Poll of Period Dramas

Casts of Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey
With the announcement of two similar upcoming period dramas that revolve around household servants, it made me think about other dramas that revolve around the 'hired help'.

Coming up this fall, there will be an update of Upstairs, Downstairs (this time it will move ahead to 1936) as well as a new drama of Downton Abbey (set in Edwardian country house in 1912, penned by Julian Fellowes).

As much as I abhor people being treated as servants and the division of class, I find that I'm fascinated by these films which give us a glimpse of what they must have gone through in their daily lives.

Here are other period dramas that feature the hired help:

There are various films that focus on the nanny or governess:
Nanny McPhee, Mary Poppins, The Sound Of Music, Berkeley Square, Firelight, Jane Eyre, The Turn of the Screw, The Lost Prince and Corrina, Corrina

As well as other dramas that focus on household servants:
Gosford Park, The Remains of the Day, Driving Miss Daisy, Jeeves and Wooster

And there's also the reality series that allowed individuals to see what it was like to live in "The Edwardian Country House".

So for the Up - Down Poll, how many of these dramas have you seen?
Which ones are your favourites?
[Vote or comment below]

Gosford Park

Berkeley Square | Firelight

The Edwardian Country House (reality series)

Emma Thompson in Remains of the Day and Nanny McPhee

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins

Jane Eyre | The Turn of the Screw | Corrina, Corrina

Jeeves and Wooster | The Lost Prince | Driving Miss Daisy

Here's one that I forgot to add...
The Grand starring Susan Hampshire


  1. Did see most but not quite all! Have to say Firelight would be my favorite as I so love Sophie Marceau. Jane Eyre has to be next of course.

  2. Such a hard choice... My favorite is Jane Eyre, but Upstairs, Downstairs is my top choice for the servant/family relationship.

  3. I just have realised how many of these period dramas I have not yet seen! I agree with the majority on Jane Eyre though and can't wait for the new adaptation of this story.

  4. I only clicked for Jane Eyre and Sound of Music. I don't remember ever seeing all of Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee or Gosford Park. I think I've seen a bit of Jeeves & Wooster aaaages ago when it was on Swedish TV (and recently, on ITV3 I caught most of an episode). The rest I've not seen at all.

  5. Я видела большинство фильмов. Предпочитаю "Джейн Эйр" и "Госфорд-парк".

  6. Sounds like Jane Eyre is a clear favourite, it's been neck and neck with Sound of Music for most seen.

    @Traxy, surprised that you've only partly seen Gosford Park. The ending scene with Helen Mirren and Eileen Atkins was so emotional!

  7. LOVED Edwardian Country House! I think the upstairs/downstairs relationships is what made the show so incredibly interesting, moreso than the contemporary people living in the past basis which had drawn me to the other historical reality series (Frontier House, Victorian House, etc).

  8. I agree. I recall how quickly the regular folk stepped into their roles as Master and Mistress of the House! I felt badly for the hard work required of those below stairs!

  9. I'm surprised that "The Grand" wasn't included. It is fascinating and definitely belongs in the "up-down" category.

  10. Thanks for mentioning The Grand! I forgot about that one! I've heard of it but not seen it myself.

  11. Perhaps the first, and still one of the best, was THE FORSYTHE SAGA from 1967 on for several years. It was based on the John Galsworthy novels. Redone in color with Rupert Graves and Damian Lewis in 2002.
    Both versions are worth seeking out on DVD.
    UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS would be my second choice.

  12. sunny, I loved the 2002 adaptation of The Forsyte Saga! I especially was impressed by Damian Lewis' riveting performance! I didn't include that series in this poll since the servants were only minor characters. I've heard the original series is excellent but I haven't seen it myself. Thanks for your recommendations!



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