- Upstairs Downstairs Home
- Cast and Credits
- Video Interview: Eileen Atkins & Jean Marsh
- Video Interview: Keeley Hawes & Ed Stoppard
- Q&A: Production Designer Eve Stewart
- Solomon the Monkey
- Across the Stairs: A Charticle
- Original Series Tribute
- Cooke Commentaries
From the masters to the maids, meet the main characters from Upstairs Downstairs and get brief biographies on the actors who portray them. Also, download a PDF characters guide to use as you watch.
Maud, Lady Holland
Maud, Lady Holland is Sir Hallam's mother, and one of the women who helped to build the Raj. Newly widowed, she returns to England to write her memoirs, and secretly hopes to build a new relationship with her grown-up son.
Dame Eileen Atkins
Dame Eileen Atkins began entertaining people at the age of seven when her parents sent her out to sing and tap dance in clubs. Since then, she has performed on stage all over London, and her 1989 off-Broadway one-woman presentation of A Room of One's Own, in which she portrayed Virginia Woolf, won her many accolades. Yet she is perhaps best known as co-creator, with Jean Marsh, of the original, long-running series Upstairs Downstairs. A veteran of screens, both large and small, Atkins has been in many Masterpiece productions through the years, including Cranford, Sons and Lovers, Madame Bovary and Bertie and Elizabeth. Her film credits include Gosford Park, Cold Mountain and The Hours to name a few, and she wrote the screenplay for the 1997 film Mrs. Dalloway. Named a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1990, Atkins was named a Dame of the British Empire in 2001.
A devotee of sweet tea and thick-cut marmalade, Solomon the monkey dislikes formal dining and is far more comfortable on the breakfast table, or on the shoulder of his beloved companion Maud.
The Monkeys of Upstairs Downstairs
Rosie, a Rhesus Macaque, earned praise from her Upstairs Downstairs costars for her work as Solomon, Maud's pet monkey from India. Eileen Atkins (Lady Maud) calls her "the star of the show," and Ed Stoppard (Sir Hallam) describes her as "incredibly professional," while nevertheless cautioning, "No sudden movements." Adds Keeley Hawes (Lady Agnes), "You're not allowed to look it directly in the eye."
Rosie has appeared in television commercials and print advertising, and on stage alongside Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic's 2009 production of Inherit the Wind.
Poppy, also a Rhesus Macaque, was stunt double and understudy for Rosie. She portrays Solomon in our first introduction to the monkey, running down a long passage and jumping on Ivy's shoulder. With her bolder character, she is confident about jumping up on people (which she enjoys doing to get a better view). For Mr. Amanjit's removal of Solomon from Ivy's shoulder, Poppy was replaced by Rosie, who is more comfortable with strangers, and therefore less likely to bite.
Sir Hallam Holland
In his mid-30s, diplomat Sir Hallam Holland has rapidly risen through the ranks of the Foreign Office. With his father's death, he recently inherited 165 Eaton Place and a considerable fortune, and has returned to his native England.
Ed Stoppard, son of the playwright Tom Stoppard, trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and has performed onstage in The Seagull, Hamlet and his father's own Arcadia. For Masterpiece, he portrayed the older version of the character Ben Leeping in Any Human Heart alongside Matthew Macfadyen (Little Dorrit). His film credits include Roman Polanski's The Pianist and the 2008 version of Brideshead Revisited.
Lady Agnes Holland
Despite her aristocratic upbringing in a damp castle in Wales, the beautiful Lady Agnes has never been well off. She arrives at 165 Eaton Place determined to put her husband, Sir Hallam, and her home, at the heart of London high society, and to settle her excitement-craving younger sister, Persie.
Born in London, where her father was a cabbie, Keeley Hawes began modeling at age 15. A few years later, while she was working at Cosmopolitan and considering applying to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, a casting agent asked her to come in for an audition. Her career — and life — then changed direction.
The self-proclaimed "regular Londoner and homebody" is the mother of three and is married to actor Matthew Macfadyen (Any Human Heart, Little Dorrit) with whom she starred in the spy series MI-5. Hawes's other film and television roles have included Masterpiece's Othello, Wives and Daughters, Our Mutual Friend, Lucky Jim and Me and Mrs. Jones.
Lady Persephone Towyn
Lady Agnes' 20-year-old sister, Lady Persephone "Persie" Towyn, has joined the Hallams to make her debut in London society. But she bitterly resents her aristocratic family's lack of funds, and with her rash and rebellious nature, Persie's lack of education and the stimulation of the London scene make for a highly combustible mix.
Claire Foy worked her way through university with jobs such as catering. But she won the lead in Masterpiece's Little Dorrit over the course of four auditions, shortly after finishing training at England's Oxford School of Drama. Since then, she has starred in the 2011 feature film Season of the Witch alongside Nicholas Cage and the British TV miniseries, The Promise.
Mr. Pritchard (Butler)
Mr. Pritchard is a highly-strung teetotaler, yet he conceals deep kindness, real integrity, and a few surprises up his sleeve behind his exacting façade.
Adrian Scarborough, a prolific stage actor, trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Upstairs Downstairs reunites him with Eileen Atkins and Heidi Thomas (screenwriter), both of whom he worked with on Cranford, in which he portrayed mayor/shop-owner Mr. Johnson. His many film credits include The King's Speech, Notes on a Scandal, Vera Drake, The History Boys and Gosford Park.
Rose Buck (Housekeeper)
Rose Buck was the upper house parlormaid at 165 Eaton Place for almost forty years. Since 1932 she has eked out a living running a domestic employment agency, but a twist of fate brings Lady Agnes to her door. Initially engaged purely to recruit the servants for the Holland household, Rose soon proves herself indispensable to the running of the house.
Emmy Award-winning actress Jean Marsh is best known for co-creating (with Eileen Atkins) and starring in the original long-running series Upstairs Downstairs. She and Atkins also created the British television series The House of Eliott. She has appeared in several films, including Return to Oz, The Changeling, and Willow, and has worked extensively on television, also appearing in Sense & Sensibility for Masterpiece.
Mrs. Thackeray (Cook)
Mrs. Thackeray is a widow. Passionate about her work, she expects the highest standards of herself and others. She follows the workings of high society through the pages of the Tatler. Romantic and affectionate by nature, she is also nosey, judgmental and a monumental snob.
Anne Reid trained at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made her name in the 1970s British soap Coronation Street. In 2004 she won acclaim for her performance in the film The Mother, alongside Daniel Craig (of James Bond fame). In 2010, she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). She has appeared in Masterpiece's Jane Eyre, Lost for Words and as Mrs. Rouncewell in Bleak House. Additionally, she is widely known in Britain for her comedic forays in a number of British television series.
Amanjit Singh (Secretary)
Educated, gentle, and imposing, Amanjit Singh comes to 165 Eaton Place as secretary to Maud, Lady Holland. Having been in her service in India for many years, he is devoted to her welfare.
Art Malik rose to international fame as Hari Kumar in Masterpiece's The Jewel in the Crown. He has been featured in many films, including The Living Daylights and A Passage to India. More recently he appeared in the feature films The Wolfman and Sex and the City 2. He was born in Pakistan.
Ivy Morris (Housemaid)
Just 15-years-old, orphaned Ivy Morris is spirited, willful, and likes red nail polish and singing in the bath.
Ellie Kendrick began acting professionally at age 12 and was a member of Britain's National Youth Theatre. Despite a lack of formal acting training, she went on to land the iconic role of Anne Frank in Masterpiece's 2010 production The Diary of Anne Frank, for which she has received critical acclaim. Kendrick then took on another iconic youth as Juliet in London's Globe Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet.
Harry Spargo (Chauffeur)
Good-looking and cocksure, Harry Spargo enjoys his position with the Hollands, but resents the social system that keeps him there. He enjoys a cautious camaraderie with Sir Hallam, but this is put to the test by the events of 1936.
Neil Jackson, an English writer and actor, earned titles as a competitive boxer before he began his acting career. In fact, it was a musical he'd penned in 2002 and entered into a competition that won him attention and initially led him to study drama. His first leading role, as Jean in Swedish playwright August Strindberg's Miss Julie, earned him critical praise. But it was his role as Perdiccas in Oliver Stone's Alexander (2004) that led not just to an appearance in the feature film Quantum of Solace, but to the production of The Passage (2007), which he wrote and starred in alongside Stephen Dorf.
Johnny Proude (Footman)
Age 16, Johnny Proude launches a career in domestic service in an effort to escape a miner's life spent down in the pit in his northern hometown. Charming and hardworking, he is popular with the other servants — especially Ivy — but comes to 165 Eaton Place with a secret.
Manchester, England native Nico Mirallegro made his name as Newt, a teenager in the British soap opera Hollyoaks, and has had a reoccurring guest appearance on Doctors, a BBC daytime soap.
Rachel Perlmutter (Parlormaid)
Rachel Perlmutter is a German-Jewish refugee who comes to 165 Eaton Place as the new parlormaid in May, 1936. Reserved and sophisticated, Rachel knows little about basic household chores, but is determined to make the best of her circumstances.
A graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Helen Bradbury has performed in numerous productions on the British stage and appeared in the British sitcom, Phone Shop. She appeared in the 2010 Masterpiece John Lennon biopic, Lennon Naked.
Funding for the series is provided by Viking River Cruises and Ralph Lauren Corporation, with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The Masterpiece Trust, created to help ensure the series' future.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.