Upstairs, Downstairs Series 3

  • Series Title:  Upstairs Downstairs
  • Season: Series 3 (Season 3)
  • Episodes:  13
  • Discs:  4
  • Cast:  Gordon Jackson, Jean Marsh, Angela Baddeley, David Langton, Simon Williams, Christopher Beeny, Jenny Tomasin, Lesley-Anne Down, Meg Wynn Owen
  • Network:  ITV (UK) – Granada

The third season of Upstairs Downstairs moves very quickly, despite storylines which most would consider depressing. The first episode features Lady Marjorie planning a trip to New York to join her daughter, Elizabeth before they all travel to Canada. At the very end of the episode, we see the name of the steamship she will travel on – the Titanic. In the next episode, the family has heard of the sinking of the Titanic. Everyone assumes that Mrs. Bellamy and her maid, Roberts, have drowned. Richard even receives official notice of their deaths. Roberts arrives in the middle of the night, tells them she was separated from “her ladyship”, but she was able to get into a lifeboat. She, however, has also “gone mad” from the trauma. Meanwhile, Richard is working on a political biography and has employed a secretary to type his manuscript. Hazel becomes invaluable to the household.

With Lady Marjorie gone, and Elizabeth mentioned as “living in America” but never shown, Upstairs Downstairs changes focus to those who are left. Richard, is suddenly without money because with his wife dead he no longer has access to her money. It even looks like he may have to leave the family’s beloved Eaton Place. James, as Marjorie’s son, however, inherits £50,000 as does his sister in the U.S. He makes an arrangement to buy out the lease and Richard, essentially lives as his boarder. James also falls for Hazel, and they marry despite some difficulties.

Rose, meanwhile, shows her sensitive side – when the former footman, Alfred, shows up at the door, soaked to the skin, cold, and starving, she takes him in and hides him in a storage room off the kitchen, passing him off as a “pigeon” when Hudson inquires about the noise. Unfortunately, the story he’s told her about “losing his job”, isn’t quite the truth. He’s wanted by the police for murdering his master. At first, he claims to be innocent, then he takes Edward hostage, and admits he did the crime in a fit of passion. Rose talks him down and he’s arrested.

Rose also gets to fall in love – meeting an Australian by chance and engaging in a whirlwind romance – the kind she’d often criticized other maids for having. When the Australian, whom she’s only known for a matter of days proposes, she accepts him. However, when she gets to the docks to join him on his ship to Australia, she balks and literally can’t go through with it. Rose returns to Eaton Place.

Meanwhile, Richard Bellamy takes in Georgina as his ward. She’s the step-daughter of “Uncle Hugo”, Richard’s brother, who also died on the Titanic. James becomes smitten with his “step-cousin”, as his own marriage to Hazel begins to fall apart after her miscarriage.

In the final episode of the season, Britain enters World War I – and it sets up what will probably be the focus of the following season.

So, this one season actually covers the same historical period as the first couple of seasons of Downton Abbey, which starts its first episode with the sinking of the Titanic and its second season which focuses on World War I.

Read my Review of Upstairs Downstairs Series 1.

Read my Review of Upstairs Downstairs Series 2.