The Edwardian Country House - Episodes

Episodes

Title Original airdate (UK) Running Time Episode
"Upstairs Downstairs" April 23, 2002 50mins 1x01
Day one at Manderston and 13 of the volunteers arrive. To help them through the three months ahead of life in the Edwardian Era, they have a rule book outlining their roles and positions in the rigid upstairs-downstairs hierarchy. A Hampshire family has been chosen to live as the masters of the house. The nine-year-old son is especially pleased to find he has people to order about. However not everyone is satisfied. A week in, there is already a situation vacant in the house.
"Getting up to Scratch" April 30, 2002 50mins 1x02
At a time when industrial and commercial wealth was only just being accepted into the ranks of high society, it was crucial for a nouveau riche family like the Olliff-Coopers to hold and improve their position at the top. In episode two Sir John and Lady Olliff-Cooper set about using their new assets, including their country house, their male servants and their French chef, to maximum affect in that most powerful social weapon - the dinner party. The family is settling in to their new luxurious lifestyle. Lady Olliff-Cooper feels like a child again. Mister Jonathan and Master Guy are learning to talk to people 50 years their senior while 'looking down their noses' and Sir John is wishing modern society was a little more like it is at Manderston. Downstairs there is some jostling for position going on. There is a new scullery maid - Kelly Squire and she is not enjoying the job much more than her predecessor.
"The Servants' Revolt" May 7, 2002 50mins 1x03
The atmosphere in the Edwardian Country House is tense as our 19 volunteers continue to come to terms with their new Edwardian lives. Upstairs plans are afoot to host a fund-raising fête in the gardens to help the local hospital. But the benevolent masters of Manderston may be missing hardships closer to home. Amongst the staff there are serious complaints about working hours and living conditions. Without time off, they feel they cannot go on. The chef takes matters into his own hands and, breaking all the rules, he takes the two ladies of the house on a tour of conditions downstairs. The mistress of the house takes immediate action. Two new maids are hired, but will it be enough to curb the swell of working class militancy below stairs?
"Cold Comfort" May 14, 2002 50mins 1x04
Hunting, shooting and fishing were the mainstay of country house life and the master has no desire to duck out of these Edwardian activities. While the men get back to nature, the women at home begin to question their roles in Edwardian society. Sexual restrictions particularly affect Avril, the unmarried sister of Lady Olliff-Cooper, who has to bear the discomforts of being single and dependent.

The new scullery maid looks like she will have no such problems - already she is the object of the hallboy's affection. But living as they do under the same roof, the relationship must be kept secret if they want to keep their jobs.

"Home and Empire" May 21, 2002 50mins 1x05
The British Empire is at its height and as a celebration of British achievement abroad, the family is to host a glorious fancy-dress Empire Ball. This means dancing practice, the creation of beautiful costumes and more work in the kitchen. For Guy the idea of having a role in the Empire is remote, but his Indian tutor, Mr Raj-Singh, caught between the worlds of upstairs and downstairs, is determined to bring the highs and lows of Imperial power back to life. So, before the Ball, Sir John agrees to allow Reji to organise a 'Raj' night as a celebration of the British in India.

In honour of the guests the hosts will serve a glorious curry supper. At least, that was the plan¿ Chef falls ill and upstairs cannot be asked to postpone. A substitute team of Antonia, Kenny and Ellen must prepare the dinner alone. Monsieur Dubiard gives instructions from his sick bed taking them through grinding the spices, cooking the breads and making the bhajis. Contemporary thinkers including Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Darcus Howe arrive at the house to challenge the jingoistic celebrations and to question the system of command, control and hierarchy within the house. As the glittering Ball gets under way, how long can power remain concentrated in the hands of the few?

"Winners and Losers" May 28, 2002 50mins 1x06
Emotions are running high in Manderston as the cast's Edwardian life is drawing to a close and everyone has to face up to going back to his or her normal life in the 21st century. After three months exposure to nothing but Edwardian culture the family and staff consider what their Edwardian future might have been. A servants' ball brings the family and the staff in direct contact on the staff's home ground. This proves an uncomfortable experience for Sir John who is beginning to realise that the apparent deference of his servants may only have been surface deep. As they leave the house, tears of joy and sadness flow and we get our first glimpse of the cast in modern dress. The hierarchy is no more and it is hard to see these confident young people allowing it to return. For upstairs as well as down, a way of life at Manderston is coming to an end.

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