Manor House
"The monotony continues. No change there. All I do is clean knives and forks and glass all day and carry them upstairs and downstairs again" Robin, second footman
Monsieur Dubiard
Sir John and Lady Olliff-Cooper

Sir John and Lady Olliff-Cooper, in real life a businessman and a part-time casualty doctor

Kelly sleeping

Kelly the scullery maid catches 40 winks between washing-up stints

Monseiur Dubiard prepares meat

Monsieur Dubiard the chef prepares the meat for the dinner party

If by chance you meet a Lower Servant, you should walk past, leaving them un-noticed... you will spare them the shame of explaining their presence
Lower Servants: if you meet one of your betters in the house, endeavour to make yourself invisible – 'give room', turn your back, and avert your eyes
"I really don't have problem with having servants...if I'm not being served, they don't have a job. This is absolutely magnificent. I'm enjoying it."
Sir John Olliff-Cooper
About the Series:
Episode Guide

Episode Two: 'Up to Scratch'

At a time when industrial and commercial wealth was only just being accepted into the ranks of high society, it was crucial for a nouveau riche family like the Olliff-Coopers to hold and improve their position at the top. In episode two we will watch this happen, as Sir John and Lady Olliff-Cooper set about using their new assets including their country house, their male servants and their French chef to maximum affect in that most powerful social weapon - the dinner party

The family is settling in to their new luxurious lifestyle. Lady Olliff-Cooper feels like a child again. Her spinster sister Avril Anson is already tired of being treated like a child. Mr Jonathan and Master Guyare learning to talk to people 50 years their senior while 'looking down their noses' and Sir John is wishing modern society was a little more like it is at Manderston.

Problems Downstairs
Downstairs there is some jostling for position going on. There is a new scullery maid - Kelly Squire and she is not enjoying the job much more than her predecessor. Kenny the hallboy doesn't want to wash up her dishes as he has enough "grot" jobs already. Charlie the first footman rises to the challenge of unifying the downstairs team. For one day he becomes the scullery maid, Kelly the hallboy and Kenny the footman. Reporting back to the butler he declares that the job is more than workable - Kelly should soldier on.

But as Charlie himself is to discover, rules are there to be broken. After a night at the local pub - Kenny and Charlie are hungover and completely unfit for work. Charlie and Kenny are not the first servants to succumb to the temptation of alcohol and the local pub. Wage books of the period frequently record dismissal on grounds of excessive drinking. Mr Edgar the butler can't contain his sense of betrayal. But he does not dismiss his boys - instead he aims to pull together a stricter regime. Servants were not there to embarrass their masters in front of visitors. Their master's standing was after all a direct reflection on their own. For this reason he is determined to put on a good show for the dinner.

Etiquette Struggles
Upstairs the family is discovering the burden of observing etiquette. Their privacy and informality have been replaced by the need to keep up appearances in front of the servants and now in front of important guests. As plans are laid down for dinner the mechanics of the house will be demonstrated. What the master and mistress can't know is that every little order has huge implications for those slaving below.

The Dinner Party
As Lady Olliff-Cooper nervously dresses for dinner, there is activity of a more frenzied nature in the Manderston kitchen. The servants have long expressed doubts about the chef's ability and even his sanity. However, on the night of the dinner party he puts them all to shame. Upper and lower staff alike stand back in amazement as Monsieur Dubiard puts the finishing touches to a stunning seven-course banquet of soups and soufflés, oysters and quails worthy of his master and more importantly himself.

By 7 o'clock the guests have arrived including Lord & Lady Steel, Lord Deedes, David Mellor, Alan Beith MP and his wife Baroness Maddock. They form an ideal group to discuss the politics of the day. (Though only after the ladies have left the room, of course.) The Liberal party is in resurgence and seems determined to raise taxes from the wealthy to help pay for radical new policies aimed at alleviating the plight of society's worst off.

While the footmen drink from their master's glasses as they clear the dinner table, the second scullery maid decides she's had enough and packs her bags, leaving the remaining staff to reflect with pride on a job well done. For the guests that evening, the illusion was complete.

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