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BBC-PBS’ ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ axed

Audience for costume saga dwindled

LONDON — The BBC reboot of costume saga “Upstairs Downstairs,” which was co-produced with PBS’ ‘Masterpiece’ in the U.S., has been axed following two seasons.

The revival suffered by being compared with “Downton Abbey,” made by Carnival and commissioned in the U.K. by rival network ITV.

Upstairs Downstairs” bowed in 2010 in the U.K., where the first episode drew 8.8 million viewers, but the final episode of the second season only managed 5.22 million.

Reviewers did not respond well to the show. Writing in the Daily Telegraph of the second season Sarah Crompton said: ” ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ still lacks a convincing script. Watching it dressed in all its fine pre-war glory (men digging trenches, crowds queuing for gas masks), you feel you have got all the trimmings of a great meal but no meat.”

The original series was broadcast on ITV from 1971 to 1975 with five series comprising 68 episodes.

BBC Worldwide sold the first season of the reboot to several countries, including Australia (ABC), Denmark (DR), Finland (YLE), Israel (IBA), New Zealand (Sky), Spain (Antena) 3 and Sweden (TV4).

Show starred Keeley Hawes, Anne Reid and original cast members Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins.

Marsh, who won the 1975 lead actress Emmy for the original series, was the show’s co-creator with Atkins. Both were nommed for an Emmy last year.

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