Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Upstairs, downstairs

Anybody else find all this period drama stuff makes them want to wage violent & bloody class war?

Upstairs bloody downstairs - if there is anything that sums up the times, it's the phrase upstairs downstairs. This is the way it's going - the gulf between the haves and the have-nots growing vast.

But to add insult to injury, not only do we have to live with Victorian values (the rhetoric of the undeserving vs the deserving poor being recycled unashamedly by the politicians) but we are meant to coo over their posh houses on the telly too. And pay for it with the license fee. And accept the utter bias of their news reportage. Bah. It makes me sick.

Down with the BBC.


  1. I know it's not set in Victorian times. It doesn't matter.

    (on iPlayer website "iconic period drama" - see, they don't care either. It's Olden Times. Days of Yore. When gels were well turned out and men had moustaches and the peasants knew their places.

  2. The funny thing is, at the height of Thatcherism we got things like Brideshead and The Remains of the Day, where we saw the pretty houses, but also saw the gentry losing control of them. Which was nice.

    And iconic means nothing beyond "you've probably heard of this".

  3. Jean Marsh, however, rocks:

    She also gave an interview complaining bitterly about class bias within the show – the promotional plugs all featured the "upstairs" contingent, and the cast members wore more make-up, the posher they were.

  4. Tim, right, so we could revel in the wealth and privilege without feeling guilty...

    B, she does seem nice. I think it's interesting she and Eileen Atkins dreamed it up because they were coming from that background, but it wouldn't have got made if it had just been about the servants. Then when it was made it was they had to fight to get the story of the working class characters across... it makes me cross that the same old stories get told and retold... it's propaganda!

    Why are the British still so stuck on master-and-servant dramas like Upstairs Downstairs? “... we like it because the past is not as worrying as the news.”

    But it's interesting that the focus of the drama has changed. So that it makes a more rigid class structure seem comforting and appealing? Look where we get with all this violence and protest... we'd all be happier if we accepted that some of us live upstairs and some of us lived downstairs?(I don't know, I haven't actually watched it.)

  5. On the other hand, did you see the polar bears?

    If I were king, they'd only be allowed to make nature documentaries.

  6. English people are mostly pathetic forelock-tugging peasants who find it comforting to be kept in their place by their betters. As far as they're concerned, shows like this reflect the natural order of things.

  7. In my experience those upstairs haven't got much, y'know, upstairs.

  8. Telly. It's 'this sort of thing' or people going to the homes of others to be offered food so they can be rude about it sort of thing. The former keeps costumiers and writers in work and that's the only positive thing i can think of to say about the batch of period drama seen since coming back. The rituals of the stuff they have the nerve to pass off as documentary: people with personality disorders (and that includes the politicians) singing, dancing, skating, swapping, shopping, hoarding....being mocked, envied, sneered at and emulated - makes me feel like vomming and crying at the same time.
    Er...So I guess I don't find much to like about the telly right now. Apart from polar cubs and Baby Jack.

  9. LC, nonono! That's what they want you to think my friend, by force-feeding you this televisual soma. We have a proud tradition of dissent and revolution... The Diggers! The Luddites! The Chartists! The suffragettes! UKUncut! There is apathy I know but there's also resistance, it's just we tend to hear the main story spun by the powers that be...

    Geoff, I know. They clearly have low cunning though if they can hang onto their money & their privilege over centuries. Still, "When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich..."

    Oh Arabella, I know. That's interesting, I bet you didn't see all this upstairs downstairs nonsense in the States. When I got back from living in Spain I was shocked at how nasty this new English reality TV was.

    Here is one to cheer you up - the only reality TV show I liked, I don't know if you saw it, but it was the most heart-warming telly ever. The opposite premise to most shows, it seemed to say that people are capable of incredible things & have amazing potential, given enough support, ncouragement and expertise...


  11. Here's the reality: The people upstairs are only up there because the people downstairs not only keep them there but protect them from the people outside.