Upstairs Downstairs: The Complete Fifth Season
(Angela Baddeley, Pauline Collins, Hannah Gordon, Gordon Jackson, et al / 4-Disk DVD / Not Rated / (1975) 2002 / A&E)
Overview & DVD Review:Follow the ‘upstairs’ dwellers (the Bellamys) and their ‘downstairs’ servants through one of TVs most loved, and lauded series of all time. 165 Eaton place is where it all took place back between 1904 and 1930 in Edwardian England. All the characters are enduring here, not one of them overshadowed be any others performances, but it has to be said that the ‘downstairs’ crew did seem to possess the acting edge overall. Following the lives of this aristocratic family and their servants, Upstairs Downstairs was a seminal British hit that stood the test of time by effortlessly completing season after season on TV, earning itself 9 Emmys, 2 BAFTAs, a Golden Globe and a Peabody award along the way.
These final 16 episodes cover the swinging '20s to the stock market crash (1919-30). The episodes of the fifth season are more self-contained than other seasons' and every bit as entertaining. The household mood reflects the events of the day--jubilation at the armistice, a fancy-dress party amidst the gaiety of the early '20s, divided allegiances during the general strike of 1926, the fever of stock market wealth, and overnight ruin in October 1929. James, with too much time and money on his hands, is single again and up to his usual antics. Nor is life dull for the other members of the household--Hudson almost resigns his position after he's caught holding hands with Lily, the housemaid, and Georgina winds up in court after she hits and kills a man while taking a group of irresponsible socialites to Sussex in the Bellamys' Rolls. These are all Standard Versions and the only Special Features are Interactive Menus and Scene Selection.