Starring Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes) and Alex Kingston (Doctor Who), Upstairs Downstairs returns to BBC One this month for a second series.
Sunday 19th February 2012, 9.30pm
It is now September 1938. Sir Hallam is anxious about affairs in Germany and determines to persuade those in power that Hitler can’t be contained. But when he is met with short shrift from his superiors and sees his wife’s concern over what the possibility of another war might mean for their young family, Hallam is forced to consider whether his approach is the right one…and when he meets an unexpected face in Germany he begins to question more than his political beliefs.
Downstairs, with Rose taken ill with TB, the staff welcome spirited new maid Beryl, who catches Harry’s eye. But Beryl struggles to adjust to life in service and has greater ambitions.
Back at Eaton Place Sir Hallam’s wife Lady Agnes is extremely frail after giving birth to their second child, but returns to 165 to support her husband. After the death of Hallam’s mother, Lady Holland, the couple are playing host to Dr Blanche Mottershead, Hallam’s aunt, who continues to make herself comfortable at 165 some weeks after the funeral, much to Sir Hallam and Mr Amanjit’s dismay.
Lady Agnes, however, is grateful for the support Blanche lends in such uncertain times. But, despite Blanche’s support, Lady Agnes remains anxious about the safety of her family and her worries set off a chain of events which leads to a startling revelation about Mr Pritchard…
Sunday 26th February 2012
After being told she can have no more children, Lady Agnes distracts herself by throwing a dinner party for the Kennedys.
During the evening, she catches the eye of charismatic multimillionaire Caspar Landry, a guest at the party, who is instantly won over by her kindness. Sir Hallam and Lady Agnes are thrilled when he is offered a job in America but their reverie is short lived when the horrors of Kristallnacht hit 165.
Determined to help the Jewish children trapped in Germany, Hallam works with Mr Amanjit in beginning to coordinate a rescue effort, but the sheer administrative challenge of such a heartbreaking cause is overwhelming and Mr Amanjit is forced to consider his differences with Blanche in an attempt to save the children…
After a frantic call from Lady Persie, Lady Agnes also pleads with Hallam to help her sister return safely to London. Lady Agnes, too, strives to help the refugees, persuading Caspar Landry to donate to the cause. Charmed by Lady Agnes, he obliges, and Agnes is filled with a renewed sense of confidence in her abilities.
Downstairs, Mrs Thackeray is thrilled to re-establish contact with her only nephew and when she and Mr Pritchard continue to lock horns, resigns. But Mrs Thackeray finds it tough to settle into life away from Eaton Place. Mr Pritchard, meanwhile, struggles to run the house in her absence…
Sunday 4th March 2012
When a scandalous novel is published by the beautiful Lady Portia Alersford, Blanche’s unconventional lifestyle is exposed.
The reaction both upstairs and down inside 165 Eaton Place is mixed, although Blanche remains defiant amidst the controversy. Portia offers Blanche refuge from the storm – but as both happy and sad memories from their shared past stir within her, Blanche remains conflicted.
Downstairs, Beryl is perturbed when her household duties are swapped with Eunice’s. As the workload takes its toll on the younger maid she decides to take a stand – but her actions have far-reaching consequences that shake the very foundations of what being a servant means inside 165 Eaton Place. Luckily an old face is on hand to offer some welcome and wise words…
As Sir Hallam prepares for another round of negotiations in Germany, Lady Persie drops a bombshell of her own, swearing Sir Hallam to secrecy. But when his efforts to help his sister-in-law prove fruitless, Lady Persie takes matters into her own hands, with dangerous consequences for all concerned.
Sunday 11th March 2012
Determined to impress Beryl, Harry signs up to the local boxing championships and, when he is told he is too old, recruits Johnny to keep his dream of winning Beryl over alive. However, after seeing Johnny receive his call up letter, he grows to want to prepare Johnny for war by teaching him the skills he needs to survive.
Upstairs, as the distance between she and Sir Hallam grows, Lady Agnes finds herself drawn to Caspar Landry, with whom she finds she has a deep connection. Sir Hallam, meanwhile, is distracted by the looming war and his growing desire for another woman but when he gets a very public reminder of Agnes’ independence, an explosive, and very public, confrontation ensues… and Sir Hallam makes a decision that will change his life forever.
Meanwhile, when Mr Amanjit’s blossoming friendship with Mrs Fuller falls foul to racial discrimination, he calls into question, not only their relationship, but also his position inside 165 Eaton Place.
Sunday 18th March 2012
When Mr Pritchard receives an invitation to act as Servants’ Representative for the up and coming Servants’ Ball, he meets fellow representative Miss Whisset and a surprising courtship ensues. As the friendship deepens an engagement seems imminent…
Upstairs, the cracks in the Holland’s marriage deepen and Lady Agnes decides to take some time away from 165 Eaton Place. His wife’s absence throws Sir Hallam into turmoil and he becomes increasingly reckless, unaware that his misdemeanours are becoming more and more evident to those around him.
But when Sir Hallam is confronted with the reality of his behaviour he begins to question whether his actions have had more sinister consequences…
Meanwhile, Beryl and Harry’s relationship flourishes and the pair plan to start an exciting new life together until Harry’s past causes Beryl to reconsider their future…and causes Harry to resort to desperate measures.
Sunday 25th March 2012
Lady Agnes returns home determined to heal the rift in her marriage. Sir Hallam, too, is desperate to make amends and does all in his power to rectify his personal and professional mistakes. But a shocking revelation leaves the pair reeling – and a cataclysmic turn of events changes the landscape of 165 Eaton Place forever…
Downstairs, as war approaches, Harry and Beryl face a ticking clock to get their affairs in order.
Meanwhile, after his behaviour the previous evening, Mr Pritchard leaves 165 Eaton Place in shame and Johnny is left to run the household. But when Mr Prichard’s absence becomes more prolonged the house is thrown in to chaos and Johnny seeks counsel from a familiar face.
What do you think of Series 2 so far? Let us know below…