Upstairs Downstairs

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Richard Coplen

Hey all,
has anyone ever seen the "Upstairs, Downstairs" episode where Lady Marjorie Bellamy travels aboard and goes down with the Titanic. Can those of you who have seen it tell me whether the episode was actually set on the ship or was it set in Eaton Place when the devastating news reached the family??? Can ye decribe what exactly happens???

Tom Pappas

Read all about it!

There were no shipboard scenes - the news arrived in a letter or telegram, and Lord Bellamy read it aloud. It occurred to me at the time that as a First Class female, she must have been a total doofus to have died.

[Roll Mobil spot]
No scenes aboard Titanic in either the series or the tie-in book: all is second hand, or the account of Maude Roberts, Lady Marjorie's maid.

Once I knew more about Titanic than I did when I first saw that particular episode, I agreed with Tom. Lady Marjorie = statistical anomaly.
However, to give Lady Marjorie her due, she gave her life trying to save a child. Roberts only survived by being forced into a lifeboat.

I remember the deeply distraught Roberts returning to Eaton Place, still clutching her Lady's salt water stained jewellery case. I also remember that there was trouble getting Roberts to give up the case (a bit of a row with Rose?), or get much sense out of her - although my memory of the actual scenes in the series is probably coloured by overlaying memories of the tie-in book. Apart from their grief, Lady Marjorie's death had a huge impact on the Bellamy family as it was her inherited income that provided most of their financial support.

If you're interested, the book that covers that particular part of the series is The Years of Change by Mollie Hardwick (1974). The Titanic content is brief, and over near the beginning of the book, although it does herald all the shifts in the family's fortunes in the prelude to WWI.

Gosh, I'd forgotten how much I used to enjoy that show. Thanks for the links, Tom and Shelley.
Another thing: we all know that Lady Marjorie died on the Titanic, which was the perfect way for the late Rachel Gurney to be able to leave the series.

The show, however, made it a wonderful serial plot: at the end of Rachel Gurney's last episode, everyone wishes her a wonderful trip to New York, and we hear the motor car drive off, whether to Waterloo Station or all the way to Southampton is not mentioned.
The next scene has Richard Bellamy dictating a telegram for Lady Marjorie: her cabin is mentioned (I believe it was on C-Deck), followed by "RMS Titanic", as the episode ends (one of two episodes where Megg Wynn Owen's character, Hazel, is seen staring at Lady Marjorie's desk portrait). Imagine how everyone must have felt when they first heard the Titanic mentioned.
The next episode then begins with the news of the tragedy. After that, it was revealed that the family income was under James' and Elizabeth's control, with James receiving the majority of it.

My family started watching the show during the World War I episodes, but we remember all our neighbors and friends mentioning how unbelievable it was that there was no more Lady Marjorie.

We also remember in the second to last episode of the series (James lost his, and Rose's money, in the stock market crash) when James and Georgina, James' cousin, mentioned how they remembered the tragedy, during separate trips to and from New York (it was also revealed that Georgina lost her mother on the Titanic, as well), with James stating, as he looked at the water, "knowing she was down there", a truly poignant moment.

John Clifford
Alas! I grew up in a home where "The Beverly Hillbillies" was a documentary of my mother's heritage, and missed seeing any PBS shows until I was old enough to buy my own TV. (Sigh!) Perhaps Blockbusters can get the films for me?

I believe Upstairs Downstairs is being re-run on one of the UK Gold channels, I think on Saturday mornings. I saw a couple over Christmas so I'm not sure about the times or days. I saw a couple of episodes chronicling the return-from-honeymoon-and-subsequent-break-up of the short-lived marriage of the Kirbridge's(?) due to their having absolutely nothing in common and her getting pregnant by someone else. The last episode I saw was when the King had gone to Eaton Place for dinner whilst the Kirbridge girl (Lady Marjorie's daughter) was having her stillborn baby upstairs. Or have I got it totally wrong again?


Actually, Iain, it was the character of Sarah, who was pregnant by James (why his character was sent off to India).

Later, Sarah married one of the servants, Tom, and they went off to start a new life. They came by to wish Lady Marjorie a happy birthday, and it was there that the news of King Edward VII's death was announced. At that time, Elizabeth (Lady Marjorie's daughter) was forced to acknowledge the end of her marriage, and that she, too, was pregnant (why she was sent off to New York).

John Clifford
Was Lady Marjorie on her way to New York to visit her daughter Elizabeth Kirbridge and her grand-child?

I believe one of the episodes featured the sinking of the Lusitania too. What happened in that episode?


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