Before there was Downton Abbey…

Dear ladies and gents,

it will be a long, looong wait until the new season of Downton Abbey. The third series is currently being filmed and as for this bit of news… well I’d rather ignore it. Because to contemplate Downton Abbey without Dame Maggie Smith… *shudder*

I wanted to offer you some similar options to tide you over. And it’s always good to have some options, no?


The Forsyte Saga


The Forsyte Saga is based on the novels written by John Galsworthy. There were two series – one that aired in 1967 and the second one that aired in 2002 (both proven to be very popular with the viewing public). The series stars Damian Lewis as Soames Forsyte, upper middle class lawyer who marries Irene (played by Gina McKee), a woman who is not so well off. Their marriage is not a happy one – Irene doesn’t love Soames and has an affair. Add a bunch of other family members, intrigue and scandal and it is easy to understand why the series was so popular.


The Grand


The Grand is a series about well off Bannerman family, owners of the Grand Hotel in Manchester. The Bannermans reopen the hotel just after World War I and are trying to do their best to restore it to its former glory. But one misbehaving accountant later it is soon obvious they do not have enough money and they are forced to reach out to a family member to ask for money to stay afloat. The series follows the Bannerman family, their employees and the hotel guests so plenty of room for scandal. Two things that might be of interest – the series was written by Russell T Davies and it stars Stephen Moyer (of True Blood).


Upstairs, Downstairs (the original)


The original that started it all. Upstairs, Downstairs is about the wealthy Bellamy family living in Belgravia and their servants during the period between 1903 and 1930. And you might want to know there are 68 episodes (so plenty to go through).


Upstairs, Downstairs (the new series)


The success of Downton Abbey obvs meant that BBC had to come up with something equally good, if not better to compete in the ratings war. So they decided to revive Upstairs, Downstairs. The series is set in 1936 and serves as continuation of the original show.


The Duchess of Duke Street


The Duchess of Duke Street is loosely based on the life of Rosa Lewis, the owner of Cavendish Hotel in London who has started her career as a cook. Some things have been changed – the titular character’s name is Louisa Trotter and her Bentinck Hotel is located at Marylebone but the premise is the same. The Duchess of Duke Street offers plenty of drama, scandal and intrigue even a royal affair.


Jeeves and Wooster


Duh another classic. It’s P.G. Wodehouse and it stars Hugh Laurie and Mr. Fry. I mean do we really need to discuss it? If you haven’t seen Jeeves and Wooster yet, what are you waiting for?

You Rang, M’Lord?


If you prefer to observe the class divide with some humour you should look no further than You Rang, M’Lord? Created by Jimmy Perry and David Croft (the writing team behind Dad’s Army and Hi-De-Hi) it is about Meldrum family who are all a bit… well the polite word would be eccentric and their servants just after World War I.

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