Jean Marsh will be absence from the start of the next series of Upstairs Downstairs as the actress recovers from a minor stroke.
The actress plays Rose in the BBC’s revival of the hugely popular 1970s LWT series – she is the only actor to reprise her role, so far, from the original. The new series of Upstairs Downstairs, revived over Christmas for three special episodes, is set in the mid 1930s several years after the finale of the original and concentrates on the count-down to World War Two. The BBC has ordered a six-part second season with stars of the revival Keeley Hawes, Claire Foy, Ed Stoppard, Anne Reid and Adrian Scarborough all returning.
Scripts for the new series will now be written to explain the absence of Marsh’s character as the actress recovers from a minor stroke. The actress is quoted by BBC News as saying;
‘Unfortunately I won’t be returning to Eaton Place quite as quickly as I had hoped, I am looking forward to spending time with Rose again when I’m match-fit and I miss the cast and crew tremendously.”
Filming on the second season is due to begin next week in the BBC’s new studios in Cardiff, Roath Lock where Doctor Who and Casualty are also based.
It will be the second time that scripts have had to undergo a re-write for the second series in recent months. Over the Summer it was revealed that Dame Eileen Atkins had decided not to reprise her role of Lady Holland after reportedly being unhappy with the scripts. Instead actress Alex Kingston will join the cast as Holland’s sister. Atkins and Marsh created the original series of Upstairs Downstairs in the 1970s and Atkins was intended to play the role of Sarah, a servant at 165 Eaton Place. However, she was ultimately unavailable for the role and it went instead to Pauline Collins.
Marsh and Atkins also crated the 1990s BBC drama series The House of Eliott which shared many themes with Upstairs Downstairs and was set in the 1920s.