Classic show remakes; what would you like to see?

by Lynn Connolly

upstairs downstairs

It’s been reported recently that both A Bouquet of Barbed Wire and Upstairs Downstairs are to be remade, and both are due to air next year. I was delighted to hear that they’re being brought back to our screens, but will they be as good as the originals?

And it also made me wonder what shows you’d like to see reprised, or even just revisited in a one-off special?

As to Upstairs Downstairs, it used to be compulsive viewing in our house when I was a kid, and the many, many repeats of it have also counted me in their viewership because watching the show always brought back such happy memories…

The original show was the brainchild of Jean Marsh – who of course played maid Rose – and Dame Eileen Atkins, and according to an article in The Telegraph, Eileen may well take a role herself in this remake. Jean is set to reprise her role as Rose, but she’s now been promoted to head housekeeper at 165 Eaton Place.

Speaking of her role, Jean said, “Rose will have much more help in this one. There’ll be sweeping machines and washing powders and things.

“I can see disasters when it doesn’t work – when the Hoover explodes instead of sucking it in.”

Deborah Jenkyns, Cranford, played by Dame Eileen AtkinsAnd apparently, Marsh and Atkins want to retain as much of the ambience of the original series as possible, including keeping the signature tune that’s so well known.

They are however joined by Heidi Thomas who’s to write the script, and given she’s the writer behind Cranford, I’m sure she’s going to add that ‘magic’ touch to the show to bring history warmly to life.

It’s not the first time that Thomas and Atkins will have worked together on a project because of course Dame Atkins played the role of Miss Deborah Jenkyns in Cranford.

The new series of Upstairs Downstairs will be set in 1936 and Heidi told the paper, “In the original series, Mr Bellamy was quite an influential MP and King Edward VII came to dinner.

“This house remains in Belgravia, it remains at the hub of the empire – we’re going to have politicians and royalty passing through.”

I can’t wait to see that one, and as I mentioned earlier, A Bouquet of Barbed Wire is being remade with filming scheduled to start next month. Trevor Eve will take the lead role of Peter Manson who was played by Frank Finlay back in the ‘70s.

The story is based on the books by Andrea Newman, and the original screen adaptation caused quite a lot of controversy back in the ‘70s, dealing as it does with adultery, incest and general debauchery for much of the time.frank finlay_susan penhaligon bouquet of barbed wire

And while some of the storylines won’t seem quite as shocking these days, they’re apparently still going to pack some punches in.

In an ITV press release about the show’s remake, it reads, “Adapted by Guy Andrews, whose credits include Lost In Austen and Prime Suspect, the three-part series will explore the consequences of a father’s obsessive love for his daughter and how secrets once buried in the past return to haunt their lives.”

ITV’s controller of drama commissioning, Sally Haynes, added, “It’s a timeless, multilayered tale of a family torn apart by secrets from the past.

“It created a stir during the 1970s when first produced for television, and 30 years on we’re convinced a modern day audience will be just as intrigued by its themes of paternal jealousy and incestuous relationships.”

Executive Producer for Mammoth Screen, Damien Timmer said, “The original TV version of A Bouquet of Barbed Wire was one of the most controversial dramas of its era, busting taboos which still have the power to shock decades later.

“Guy will bring a thrilling, modern sensibility to the story.”

Susan Penhaligon played the part of Peter’s daughter Prue in the ‘70s but there’s no news as yet on who’s going to play her role this time around.

So which shows would you like to see remade and brought back to our screens? And do you think these shows are going to be as good as the timeless originals? Please do let us know using the comment box below.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.