Upstairs Downstairs series 2 on BBC1

One of the highlights of my television viewing for Christmas 2010 was the new iteration of Upstairs Downstairs which was aired on BBC1 over three consecutive nights. Series 2 was promised and it’s finally here. Almost.

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I found the first series a refreshing antidote to the just-completed first series of Downton Abbey. For one thing the 1930s setting for Upstairs Downstairs seemed a little bit edgier then it’s ITV rival. I recall one episode dealt with a fascist march in London and the riots it provoked. Also you’ve got the whole Edward and Mrs Simpson thing going on in the background and the likes of von Ribbentrop coming to dinner.

And then they make the younger sister Percie, played by Claire Foy, a bit of a trouble maker. She’s sleeping with the fascist chauffeur because she’s looking for a bit of excitement and he’s obviously a bad boy.

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(And oddly enough, what did Downton Abbey do in its second series? They got lady Sybil to hook up with the chauffeur, although that romance was as convincing as, well, a big unconvincing thing.)

So, series two airs this month and we have six whole episodes to look forward to instead of just three. As well as Keely Hawes’ Lady Agnes and Claire Foy’s Percie there appear to be a bunch of new characters including Blanche Mottershead played by Alex Kingston and Portia Alresford played by Emelia Fox to mention just two well-known telly folk will will be sporting unlikely yet probably authentic 1930s names.

Upstairs Downstairs starts on Sunday 19 February 2012.