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PBS climbs ‘Upstairs’ with BBC

Deal will bring remake of Emmy-winner to 'Masterpiece'

Upstairs Downstairs” is getting a remake as part of a co-production deal struck between PBS and BBC Worldwide.

The three-part remake will air Stateside in 2011 on PBS’ “Masterpiece,” which also scored BBC’s updated “Sherlock” as part of the deal, along with a three-part adaptation of author Michael Dibdin’s Aurelio Zen mysteries that will star Rufus Sewell.

Upstairs Downstairs,” revolving around the lives of a wealthy London family and their servants from 1903 to 1930, won seven Emmy awards, including drama series kudos in 1974, 1975 and 1977. Jean Marsh, who won the 1975 lead actress Emmy, will reprise her role as maid Rose 35 years later.

Marsh co-created the series with fellow actress-writer Eileen Atkins. Atkins will appear in the new version, which will be set in 1936, six years after the end of the original. Heidi Thomas (“Cranford”) will script the series.

The new “Sherlock” is set in present-day London and stars Benedict Cumberbatch (“Atonement”) in the lead role with Martin Freeman, who played Tim in the original version of “The Office,” as Dr. Watson. Rupert Graves co-stars in the production co-created by Steven Moffat (“Doctor Who”) and Mark Gatiss; Hartswood Films is co-producing.

The Aurelio Zen series is being shot on location in Italy by Left Bank Pictures (“Wallander”). RTI, ZDF, Ingenious and LipSync are participating in the production with PBS and BBC Worldwide.

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