Manor House
"I don't know what I've let myself in for. At the moment I think I've walked into a bit of a nightmare."
Kenny, hallboy
Sir John Olliff-Cooper
Photograph of the family

The Olliff-Coopers

Photograph of the servants

The downstairs staff

Photograph of Manderston's marble hall

Manderston's marble hall

Sir John loves his afternoons fishing on the lake
The scullery maid spends her afternoons washing the pots and pans after lunch
"I miss my mum, and my sister. My skin's coming up in blotches, and I don't get on with the chef. I don't know if I can hack it. I need a bath, my hair feels all icky..."
Lucy, scullery maid
About the Series:
Episode Guide

Episode One: 'Upstairs Downstairs'

Our cast of volunteers is introduced. 7,800 people applied to take part in the program and our group is drawn from all ages and all walks of life.

In the kitchen Denis , our Maxim trained French Chef de Cuisine will work alongside Antonia, a police control room operator, and 18-year-old Lucy, a waitress at TGI Fridays.

Grandmother Jean Davies takes on the exacting role of housekeeper supervising Becky and Jess in their housemaid roles.

Hugh Edgar, a consultant architect - now our butler - will have his work cut out keeping footmen Charlie and Rob about their work.

While upstairs, Anna Olliff-Cooper will be taking a welcome break from her job as a casualty doctor to enjoy the life of a pampered Edwardian lady with her family John, a businessman, sister Avril, a microbiologist and marketing consultant, and sons 18-year-old Jonty and nine-year-old Guy.

John and Anna Olliff-Cooper have been bestowed with new titles and for the duration of the series will be known to all as Sir John and Lady Olliff-Cooper.

Edwardian Life Begins
The junior staff must rise early and work long hours. Their tasks are physically demanding and they are told to expect no time off. But to the young volunteers, this schedule is nothing compared to the awful formality and rigidity of Edwardian life. Meals are eaten in silence. They sit in order of precedence and speak only when spoken to by a superior. The servants are to have little access to their families and ‘followers' are not allowed.

Meeting their new masters and mistresses is a humbling experience for the staff. For the first time they see real Edwardian finery at first hand. They are quick to guess that these are people who will happily expand into their socially inflated new roles. The two staff who work most closely with the family have also arrived. They are Eva Morrison the ladies maid and Reji Raj-Singh the tutor to nine-year-old Guy.

Prospects are still looking bleak however for those downstairs. Lucy is missing her boyfriend and finding it impossible to take orders from the French chef. She packs her bag and leaves the rest of the staff to get on with the dishes. It is clear from her departure that there is a lot to learn both upstairs and downstairs over the coming few months. Managing the first dinner was hard enough. In the future they will have to manage a grand political dinner, a fete, a shooting party and a fancy-dress ball.

None the less, when a new hallboy turns up at the back door, he finds a house firmly rooted in 1905. For Kenny Skelton, as for all our volunteers this is certain to be an adventure taking them as near as it is possible to get to experience life in the past.

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