Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Monday, 12 October 2009 18:01 UK

BBC remakes Upstairs, Downstairs

Dame Eileen Atkins
A new role will be created for Cranford star Dame Eileen Atkins.

Classic ITV drama Upstairs, Downstairs is being brought back by the BBC.

The drama, about a London family and their servants, was a worldwide hit in the 1970s. It was reportedly seen by an audience of more than one billion.

The series was created by actresses Jean Marsh and Dame Eileen Atkins. Both will have roles in the new version, which will be set in 1936.

It will be relaunched with two 90-minute films next year. Heidi Thomas who wrote Cranford, will pen the drama.

Times have changed

Jean Marsh will return in her previous role as Rose, the parlourmaid. She will now be housekeeper to the new residents of 165 Eaton Place, the wealthy Holland family.

The BBC say it will be set in the years running up to the Second World War, with Rose discovering times have changed, as servants are no longer cheap and obedient.

Jean Marsh
Jean Marsh will again play Rose

Jean Marsh said: "I am hugely looking forward to spending time with Rose. I have missed her enormously.

Dame Eileen Atkins will appear in a new role: "I am delighted to have the chance to star in the new version for the BBC," she said.

The veteran actress previously starred in Cranford, which was also written by Thomas.

"Heidi Thomas is an extraordinarily talented writer and it is always a complete joy to work with her," the star added.

The full cast will be announced next year and filming will begin in the spring.



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