Covering a span of 27 years (1903-1930), Upstairs, Downstairs follows the lives of the wealthy Bellamy family residing upstairs at 165 Eaton Place, London, as well as the lives of those employed in their service living downstairs. Richard Bellamy, the son of a poor parson, is married to Lady Marjorie, the daughter of the wealthy Earl and Countess of Southwold, whose family money provides for the Bellamy's lavish lifestyle. As an influential member of the Conservative party, the Earl secures a seat in Parliament for Richard, with the expectation that he will support conservative policies. He tries his best to please his wife's family but, being a Liberal at heart, Richard finds it's not always that easy. These political and financial differences are a reoccurring source of contention for the Bellamys. On the surface, the lives of the family living upstairs couldn't seem more different than those of the servants living below but, strangely enough, through the years their lives often intersect, becoming increasingly entwined as time goes by. The addition of real-life events, like the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic and the horrors of World War I, incorporated into the storylines add a touch of authenticity and realism to the show.
While her parents are away, Elizabeth gets involved in the suffragette movement. Rose attempts to keep her out of trouble but the situation ends badly, requiring Elizabeth to seek help from Julius Karekin, an influential man she just met.Watch Now:Amazon
(Audio commentary available on some DVDs). The Wall Street crash hits Eaton Place. October, 1929. After making a killing on Wall Street, James returns to England with his spirits renewed. His homecoming is a joyous one for the Bellamys, despite Richard's doubts as to the soundness of his son's speculations. Indeed, his fears are prophetical; the stock-market crash wipes out James and Rose, who invested her savings on the strength of James' advice. Enraged, Richard berates James over this and past failures, opening old and still painful wounds.
(Audio commentary available on some DVDs). After nearly 30 years, the Bellamy saga ends with the sale of 165 Eaton Place and a fresh beginning for every member of the household.
Unable to communicate with the Belgian refugees they're expected to look after has left the staff feeling put out, frustrated, and angry. They want the refugees to leave but, after hearing their tragic stories, things change and they're sorry to see them go. Meanwhile, Edward is caught in the middle between those who love him and want him to be safe, and everyone else who make him feel guilty for not enlisting; but after hearing the refugees' stories, he decides to do what he thinks is right, and Daisy is not pleased.Watch Now:Amazon
Virginia Hamilton returns to Eaton Place, seeking Richard's advice for her son who is facing a court martial. Meanwhile, Edward is scheduled to go back to France, and James is wallowing in self-pity.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Hudson is back in his element when the Bellamys travel to Scotland for their summer holiday.
With Sarah expecting his baby, she and Thomas are planning to wed, but concerns that the news might not be well received causes Sarah to claim a stranger is the father. Unaware of the truth, Lady Marjorie thinks Thomas is making a huge mistake and threatens to sack him unless he changes his mind, which he refuses to do. Later, when Thomas informs her they'll be working for a neighbor, Lady Marjorie fears they'll divulge the family secrets and demands Richard do something to ensure that doesn't happen.Watch Now:Amazon
Rose receives excellent news, James is depressed about his slow recovery, Richard is courting Virginia, and the Great War is winding down to a victorious conclusion, but there's still one more casualty to be claimed.Watch Now:Amazon
Eaton Place is enveloped with uncertainty. Edward and Daisy have moved on and been replaced with Frederick Norton, James' servant from the war, and Lily. The newlyweds, Richard and Virginia, and her children, Alica and William, have plans to move into their own home. There's not enough work to keep everyone busy and the house is far too large for James to live there alone, so he decides it's time to sell the house and gives the servants a month's notice.Watch Now:Amazon
When James buys a small airplane, Virginia defies Richard, putting the entire household through quite an ordeal.
Grasping at straws, the Bellamy family continue to search for any information to indicate James is still alive, but when Trooper Frederick Norton, James' servant, arrives to deliver James' personal belongings, Hazel loses all hope.
After James' Letter to the Editor garners strong public approval. the conservative Tory party, hoping to cash in on his moment of popularity, invite him to run for Parliament as a Tory. James accepts but everyone soon realizes that his progressive views for moving the country forward are not aligned with the party views which want to go back to the way things were before the war. Meanwhile, Edward and Daisy are struggling financially but realize they have friends who love them at Eaton Place.Watch Now:Amazon
After her father dies, Lady Marjorie has her mother, Lady Southwold come to Eaton Place. When a valuable broach goes missing, finger pointing causes a disruption throughout the household. Meanwhile, Thomas' hopes for a career change are dashed when his potential employer tries to impose himself on Sarah.Watch Now:Amazon
When none of the family members are listed among the Titanic survivors, they must be presumed dead and the entire household goes into mourning. When routine household tasks begin to fall through the cracks, Hazel steps up to help whenever she sees a need. Her thoughtful effort is lost on the servants who feel like she's imposing herself into their lives and trying to take Lady Marjorie's place. It also causes concern for her parents who seem to think the Bellamys will soon have Hazel mopping floors. Everyone is stunned when an unexpected visitor arrives.Watch Now:Amazon
Hazel has a little fling with Lt. Jack Dyson, whom she met at the tea party for wounded officers, and is seen by one of her lady acquaintances. James and Georgina meet in France and share a moment of passion.
Spring 1922: When William goes off to Prep School, Rose gets Alice a new puppy so she won't be lonely, but when Richard and Virginia go on holiday and leave Miss Treadwell in charge, the entire staff lines up against her when she tries to dispose of the "filthy creature".Watch Now:Amazon
Acting on a tip from a friend, Richard quadruples his stock market investment in a matter of weeks. When it turns out that the company he invested in just landed a government contract, he's accused of insider trading. Richard denies learning about it in Parliament, but refuses to divulge the name of his friend, and when Hazel and Hudson go behind his back to determine his friend's identity, Richard is furious.Watch Now:Amazon
Sadly, perhaps inevitably, a double dose of tragic news arrives for those at Eaton Place.