Keeley Hawes talks new series of Upstairs Downstairs and new characters

by Lynn Connolly

As fans of period drama Upstairs Downstairs will know, it’s back on our screens next Sunday, and today, What’s On TV have an interview with one of the show’s star, Keeley Hawes, about what lies ahead in the new series.

Keeley, who plays Lady Agnes Holland, also discussed some of the new characters who we’ll meet when we return to 165 Eaton Place.

However, Keeley began by saying that filming without Dame Eileen Atkins – who co-created the original ‘70s show – had been “odd.”

She said, “It was very odd at first. One of the first scenes this series is of Lady Maud Holland’s ashes going up onto the fireplace so it was embedded quite early on that she wasn’t going to appear.

“But that’s the nature of this job; people move on and new people come in.”

Keeley – who’s also starred in Spooks and Ashes to Ashes – was then asked about Alex Kingston’s character, Dr Blanche Mottershead, who is a newcomer this series.

She said, “Blanche is very forward-thinking and a real free spirit, who shows Lady Agnes a more modern way of doing things…

“As Agnes hasn’t got anyone else to turn to, she and Blanche become very good friends.”

Of what’s coming up for her own character, Agnes, Keeley said, “Well, she meets an American businessman, Casper Landry, and has a lovely friendship…

“But she’s a very good girl and doesn’t do anything she shouldn’t. As for Sir Hallam… well, let’s put it this way, everyone will be cheering for Agnes!”

And finally, Keeley was asked if she thinks Upstairs Downstairs is comparable to Downton Abbey.

She said, “I always get asked about Downton. Because our three-parter in 2010 was aired so quickly after Downton, inevitably, comparisons were made and things were blown out of proportion.

“But you can’t really compare. Obviously, I know Downton exists, but I haven’t seen any of it; it’s probably best because anything I say in black and white will just look really ‘off’.”

Upstairs Downstairs returns on Sunday February 19 at 9pm on BBC1.

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.