Tag Archives: Adrian Scarborough

Upstairs Downstairs

On returning to 165 Eaton Place I felt awfully confused. It was a mere year since we were last there. How could I have forgotten? And how come that woman looked so familiar, while still leaving me wondering who on earth she might be?

Upstairs Downstairs

So, encountering River Song back in 1938 was perfectly normal. They do time travel in Cardiff, after all. It’s thanks to nerdy Daughter that I now know they weren’t in London at all, but in Cardiff. It would explain the Resident IT Consultant’s concern over the hill in the park. No such hills in central London.

But what had happened to the old woman? And did they already have a child? I had no recollection of him at all. Not to mention the lack of a housekeeper. But, I slowly found my footing again and it was fun.

Not as fun as Downton Abbey, which of course is the thing that has come between us and messed with my brain and my memories. But you just don’t kill off the dowagers! And why bring out the ‘shameful’ sister only when she can be a nuisance, rather than a member of the family like everyone else?

Upstairs Downstairs

Where Downton is soapy, Upstairs Downstairs is probably more ‘realistic.’ Fewer servants seems more normal. Having the butler cook dinner in a tight spot makes sense. And then there is the war. The Kindertransport brought tears to our eyes, with Kristallnacht bringing reality home.

Upstairs Downstairs

At the risk of sounding too fluffy, there is also the gorgeous Art Deco interiors and the dresses to be considered. Not to mention J F Kennedy being sick. Was it the oysters?

King Colin

The King’s Speech is the kind of film you want to watch again as soon as the credits roll. It’s not often that happens to me.

What I want to know is if King George VI was as interesting in real life as he seemed in the film, or if it was Colin Firth? I’ve gone from having no particular interest in the good King to thinking he really was quite fun, and can’t help but compare him to his descendants.

In fact, I’ve been surrounded by royals for a week or two. Just finished reading about Richard III and all the people surrounding him, including iffy bishops. I thought the George VI bishop was pretty iffy too. And the abdication was covered as recently as last week in Upstairs Downstairs, so I’ve had two Wallis Simpsons to contend with. The film one was better.

It’s one thing to know the King stammered and suffered in public. It’s another to witness how it actually was to be him. Trying every cure or doctor you can think of is familiar to many of us, whatever the problem. The Duchess of York seems to have been determined to help him, although I wonder if much of what was in the film was true.

Fun, though, and it makes you like both of them. The Duchess sitting on the Duke (to help with the breathing?) was amusing. Watching both of them doing things they’d never done before, like using a lift, is illuminating. Having to borrow a shilling to bet.

Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

Seeing Lionel Logue and how he worked was wonderful. It may have come as a shock that he was no doctor, but it goes to prove that neither titles nor official qualifications mean that someone is any good at what they do.

The swearing was priceless, and so was the singing. I’ll never hear that tune again without thinking of George VI.

Seeing the reactions of the Duke and Duchess to Lionel’s ‘common’ ways of treating them as people was lovely. Royals need some resistance, I believe.

Finding out what might well have caused the stammering was heart rending and the cruelty to children shocking. It looked as if our current Queen had a slightly better start in life.

The plot is so simple that you can barely write about it: King stammers. King eventually receives decent treatment. King can speak in public. But there’s so much more to this film.

Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth in The King's Speech

I will have to see it again, soon. Annoyed it’s not even out yet, but grateful we were able to catch a preview at the weekend. It’s definitely a ‘buy the DVD immediately’ kind of film. The more immediate the better.

Upstairs Downstairs

I was never a regular viewer of the old Upstairs Downstairs. Not sure why. I think I was of an age when it sounded boring. But you still knew a lot about it, even in distant and foreign lands like mine. And it’s not every servant who makes it onto Sesame Street. (Put down the ducky?)

We enjoyed the new mini series over Christmas. The Resident IT Consultant cried at all the right times, while the Grandmother fell asleep.

I like Art Malik, but you wonder at the apparent shortage of Asian actors. Was quite taken with him without the turban, flowing beard and all. I often wonder about those things.

Not too keen on Keeley Hawes, but thought Ed Stoppard did a passable job. And we got a history lesson, having to sort out the order of princes available for becoming King, but I do wonder about the gravelly street. In fact, when I start wondering about authenticity I know I need to stop before I get grumpy.

The Guardian had a piece about people enjoying the idea of having servants rather too much, forgetting that most likely we would all be the servants. I’m sure we can rise above that notion and learn something from both Upstairs and Downstairs. I’d have hated being a servant, but I really wouldn’t have liked having servants around at all times, either.

But a nice 1930s dress would be welcome, as would the china. And the radios and the car.