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Literary Feline

I am not familiar with Upstairs Downstairs but I can understand the draw. My husband and I tried to watch the first episode of Downtown Abbey last spring but it was bad timing with a new baby in the house. We hope to try again one of these days. We enjoyed what little we saw.

I still have yet to read anything by Mary Stewart. At least as far as I can remember. My Brother Michael sounds good.

The weather here was overcast part of the weekend but now is sunny and warm again. I do hope autumn comes soon!

Have a great week!


I started rewatching Upstairs /Downstairs last year but got sidetracked after season 1. Now I'm inspired to resume it. I've been knitting whilst watching Larkrise to Candleford and like the combo myself;). Nice needlework!

I love Mary Stewart--I love her Mediterranean settings. Have you read This Rough Magic yet?


I watched the whole of Upstairs Downstairs several years ago and loved it. There was one storyline in particular (the one about Hazel in the 2nd or 3rd season) that made me cry particularly sloppy tears. There was a new series last year that I never got around to watching and don't know if it was any good.


I loved Upstairs downstairs when it was on the telly and My Brother Michael is a favourite Mary Stewart... Wildfire at midnight and this Rough Magic are fun too aren't they.


Literary Feline--The nice thing about DVDs is being able to watch whatever you like whenever you like! Downton Abbey was wonderful and well worth a watch (as is Upstairs Downstairs, too--though it's much longer) when you get a chance. I've only read one other Mary Stewart novel, which I felt so-so about, but I really liked My Brother Michael--and was sad to turn that last page. We've had slightly cooler weather than normal, which is nice, but I wouldn't mind plain 70 degree days for the duration! :)
JaneGS--Knitting would be great--it seems knitters can actually spend more time watching the TV than their needles when working, but with cross stitch you have to look closely at the threads--I could probably work faster if I wasn't watching something that kept my eyes glued to the TV most of the time! :) This is only my second Mary Stewart--I've not yet read This Rough Magic, but happily I own it!
Teresa--It's addictive, isn't it? I liked Hazel and felt so bad for her--she was a little in over her head with the Bellamys but could certainly hold her own. It was heartwrenching when she fell in love with that pilot during the war....I had a few weepy moments myself--the second to last episode, but I was happy it ended on a good note even though the house was closed down and they all parted. I watched the second series and it was okay. I don't think they had enough time to develop the storyline and then I guess it was decided not to film a new season?
Val--I can easily see why people must have been addicted to this when it was on TV. I wouldn't mind sometime owning the set, but it is pretty pricey. I've added Mary Stewart to my list of authors whose works I want to read all of their work...I'll check out the other two you mention. I do have This Rough Magic and a couple of others--must look Wildfire up.


If you like cozy mysteries, you should try PIE IN THE SKY, which stars Richard Griffiths ("Uncle Vernon") as Henry Crabbe, a police detective trying to retire so he can start his own restaurant. He does start the latter, but is blackmailed into staying on the force by his overbearing superior. Hubby and I enjoyed it so much we bought seasons 1-4; 5 just came out and is on Netflix.

A period drama you might enjoy is GARROW'S LAW, about the barrister who pretty much developed the idea of "innocent until proven guilty." MURDOCH MYSTERIES from Canada is enjoyable, too, set in Victorian times.


i was so sad when we finished upstairs downstairs.Try House of eliott &the Duchess of Duke Street netflix has them both.


How about the Sharpe series (since you think about Hornblower. Both are depicting the Napoleonic wars. One on the sea the other on land)? I personally prefer Sean Bean.
Desperate Romantics is great and so is Whitechapel but they are not as long, I guess, as Upstairs, Downstairs.
I've prepared a post on another UK series, Black Book. Not sure when I will post it though or if... It's soo funny.


I know my parents watched Upstairs Downstairs and loved it. I'll bet what it lacked in lush stage sets it made up for in good storylines! I'll just put a good word in for The Mentalist here, as a series you might want to try. Don't watch the pilot episode, it's not good (or at least know it's a cut below the others) but from first episode on, it's great. And your sampler is gorgeous, too!


Are you thinking of watching the three new Upstairs Downstairs episodes from last year (picks up at a later date, with Rose the housemaid from the original cast, but it got ratings beaten by Downton so its future may be in doubt now). Or I highly recommend trying Foyle's War if you haven't yet - quite a lot of episodes, mystery and war time period things.


I started watching the remake of Upstairs Downstairs earlier this year. I liked it but then forgot that it was on. Must check for DVDs. I haven't seen any of the old series.

Liz F

I don't want to make you too jealous Danielle, but the second series of Downton started last night and looks as though it is going to be just as good as the first!
I'm not sure if it is out in the US on DVD yet, but I'm really enjoying The Borgias on TV at the moment. As lushly filmed as The Tudors but considerably more historically accurate - although I only made it through one episode of the latter before I couldn't take any more of the history-lite tone!
I loved Mary Stewart and was pleased to discover that I still find her books as readable now as I did in the 70's.
I loved her novels set in Greece but Wildfire at Midnight set on the Isle of Skye and The Gabriel Hounds set in Lebanon were favourites of mine. Actually, I loved almost all of them, including the Merlin trilogy - the only one I had reservations about was The Ivy Tree although I would be hard-pressed to explain why.


The Duchess of Duke Street is a classic and I think you would really enjoy it. I remember Upstairs Downstairs and the Forsythe Saga from the 70's. They were true originals and everyone stopped to watch them, kind of like Ed Sullivan. I think that having those shows on Sunday evenings at a fairly early time in my life has made me always want something to look forward to before the work week begins.


Such a wonderful way to spend some time; stitching and watching Upstairs Downstairs. I loved the series then, love the new one as well. Your sampler is coming along there, Danielle, and looking so fine. You make me want to pull out some pieces I started once upon a time.


Maybe you would like Brideshead Revisited - with a very young Jeremy Irons(10hours-55 min). As for mysteries I very much liked An Unsuitable Job For a Woman (I have 4 episodes on DVD don't know if more were made). Glad you liked My Brother Michael!


Let me add my recommendation for THIS ROUGH MAGIC and WILDFIRE AT MIDNIGHT - oh, and also AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND and THE GABRIEL HOUNDS. All Stewart novels that I loved in my younger years. She was quite a favorite of mine. Enjoy and I'm so glad these books are making a comeback!


Linda--I'm not familiar with any of those, but I will be looking them up in Netflix! I like having a longer series of shows to watch and particularly like detective stories (especially for winter).
Michealj145--I Loved the House of Elliott--I really wish they would have continued the series rather than ending it like they did--very open ended! I've not tried Duchess of Duke Street, though, so perhaps that would be a good fit, too.
Caroline--I hadn't thought of the Sharpe series, though I see it often enough as a recommendation--I'll add it to my list! I forgot about Desperate Romantics, which I DID want to see--thanks for the reminder. Whitechapel I can't get on Netflix, though strangely I can buy and stream it through Amazon, which I might have to try sometime. I have seen the first series of Black Book, though and agree it is hilarious! Crazy humor, but funny nonetheless.
Litlove--It was addicting even if the sets were nowhere near as lush the cinematography very, very different! I've not heard of the Mentalist, but I will go look it up. I seem to have a preference these days for British films and shows. And thanks for the compliment! :)
Jodie--I did watch the new series of Upstairs Downstairs--I enjoyed it but they needed more time to develop the story. I do hope they get to continue, but I assumed since I had heard nothing that was it for the show. Loved Downton Abbey--it was a bit unfair to show them so close together I think! I haven't seen Foyle's War, but someone else recommended it to me, and I think I would like it--detective show set during WWII, right?
Marg--The two series are different so no worries that you've not seen the original. It is well worth watching, however, if you're ever tempted by it!
Liz--Oh, you have made me SO jealous! :) For some reason I thought they were still filming and didn't realize it was airing now. Don't tell me details, but is it as good as the first season? It is listed on PBS now, and is due to air here in January, which is ages away, and I don't look forward to the cold and snow. Ugh. But can't wait to see Downton Abbey again. I'm not sure if the Borgias appeals to me, but the setting must be Italy, so maybe it is worth watching for scenery? I can't wait to read more Mary Stewart--I think I am hooked now, though I felt pretty lukewarm about The Ivy Tree, too. Otherwise, her books all sound good.
Cathy--I'll be adding it to my Netflix queue--I think I should have lots to choose from now with all the great suggestions. I've heard the original Forsyte Saga was good, and they filmed all the books--still want to read them! I wonder if the original is even available now--I saw part of the remake, which I liked. I like PBS's Masterpiece Theater on Sunday nights, too. A nice way to end the weekend.
Penny--I didn't accomplish the things I wanted to, but I enjoyed myself anyway. I wish I had more free time to work on my sampler, but here it is late and I am trying to finish things and then off to bed and work tomorrow!
Catharina--How funny you mention Brideshead! One of the actors in the last few episodes of Upstairs is Anthony Andrews, who I discovered played in the original Brideshead. I of course went and pulled my book off the shelf. I'd like to read it before watching the film! And I need a good classic to read. I also want to read Unsuitable Job for a Woman and hadn't realized it had been filmed, too. Another one to add to my list! After reading My Brother Michael I can see why you are reading through Mary Stewart's work again!
Kay--She seems like a much loved author and I can see why now. I just bought Airs Above the Ground and I'll be looking for the others mentioned as well--thanks! I've only read the Merlin books, which I really enjoyed.

Liz F

The countryside in the Borgias is very pretty but I think it is in Hungary not Italy because it is a lot cheaper to film there!

The new series of Downton looks every bit as good as the last so it will give you something to look forward to in the cold of the post-Christmas slump!

Airs Above the Ground was the first Stewart I read and got me well and truly hooked and as you know Vienna, it will be even more enjoyable I'm sure.


Yep Foyle's War is war time crime stuff. And I forgot to mention that the last ever series of MI5/Spooks started here this week, so you'll soon be able to cath up on that.


Liz--Interesting about the Borgias, but I suppose that far back in time maybe it didn't matter as they might only have been worried about countryside shots--still a pity. I don't look forward to winter At All, but Downton Abbey will definitely be a bright spot! I recently bought Airs Above Ground and can't wait to read it--It's been ages since I've read anything set in Vienna--I suspect it will be very comforting really.
Jodie--Foyle's War sounds promising so maybe I'll go there next--thanks. Oh no, last season of MI-5! I think we are still lagging behind over here--I've not yet seen season 8 I think--last I saw the Russians had stuffed Harry into the trunk of a car! I suppose there are only so many end of the world/or at least end of London scenarios they can come up with. Totally dramatic, but I have been hooked on that show. Something else to look forward to, though, if indeed I'll still get to see two more seasons (unless of course I have figured wrong...).

Thomas at My Porch

The brilliance of Upstairs Downstairs is in the fact that they had time to spin stories that were as deep as they were wide. There was no rush. A whole episode (my favorite) could be about the King coming to dinner--well and Sarah having her baby. Unlike the original 68, the new(and enjoyable) UpDown episodes tried to cram way too much into about three hours. Same for Downtown Abbey. I loved it, but I wished they could have given more breathing room to the plot(s).

House of Elliott is enjoyable but kind of weak compared to UpDown. The 12-part TV version of Brideshead combines the space of UpDown with the lushness of Downton and is perhaps the most brilliant mini-series ever made.

There certainly are other British serials made for TV but I think the bittersweet truth is that nothing compares in scope and achievement to Upstairs Downstairs.

Thomas at My Porch

You might also try The Flame Trees of Thika, All Creatures Great and Small, and for something modern and funny Clatterford (known in England as Jam and Jerusalem).


I've been casting around looking for something to watch until Downton Abbey is back. I had thought about this one and now I see I will have to give it a go. Your stitching is coming along and looking lovely as usual!


Thomas--You're right--each episode was a complete story in and of itself and they built on each other. It was really enjoyable and I can see how people must have been glued to their TV sets to watch it! It really was quite special! The new series had potential, but they did try and squeeze too much in all at once and there was no time to develop a good storyline. I wonder if they thought it was a one off sort of thing and just went for broke. Maybe the new season of Downton Abbey will take more time with the story? I'm very curious to see it and can't wait until it airs here. I Loved House of Elliot--why did they cancel it? I think I already have Clatterford in my queue--will take a closer look at the others you mention as well--thanks! And I've always been curious about the book Flame Trees of Thika by the way...
Stefanie--If you're looking for a nice long series that covers lots of ground, you're in for a treat with Upstairs Downstairs. I raced through that last season! Thanks for the kind words on my stitching! :)

Thomas at My Porch

Another series that is so worth finding (Netflix has it) is Mapp and Lucia. Prunella Scales, Geraldine McEwan, and Nigel Hawthorne. The series is fun, funny, and such a brilliant adaptation of the EF Benson books.

Karen K.

I just saw your post, I've been so behind -- and I posted something nearly identical today !! I just finished UpDown (though I haven't seen the DVD extras yet) and I don't know what to watch next! I also loved Duchess of Duke Street -- my mother let me watch the original series with her when it first aired. It was the one night a week I was allowed to stay up late and watch it with her, since we didn't have a VCR back then.

I also loved House of Eliot. The Cazalets was a great series also.


Thomas--I have always wanted to read the Mapp and Lucia books--I have heard the show is also good. Maybe I shouldn't wait and just add them to my Netflix queue. I have heard they have fun reads so I imagine the show is equally entertaining!


Karen--I'll be over to read your post! I've been watching the extras that came with series five. I'm a little sad that now I am done with it all. And I'm not quite sure where to go next as I have received so many great suggestions. I sort of like having a series to watch--connected stories. The House of Eliott was great--I only wish they would have made more episodes. That is one I wouldn't mind owning. I DO own the Cazelets and want to watch it but I want to reread the books first--how's that for weird logic! :)


Foyle's War is an absolute gem so I do hope you get to see it!


Sakura--It is in my Netflix queue! I realized that I had not seen the latest season of MI5 so I will watch that first. It makes me a little apprehensive knowing how they like killing off their popular agents, but I can't wait to watch the first disc.

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