WITH the important name of Sir Hallam Holland, it’s only right that Ed Stoppard is the hero in the renovated Upstairs Downstairs. Holland’s Foreign Office job is all about keeping 1930s Britain uncontaminated by fascists.
Did the BBC seriously axe your show because there weren’t enough viewers?
You know what? My pay grade is so far below the level where I’m involved in that conversation, I have absolutely no idea. As you may or may not be aware, the BBC is in a reasonable amount of crap at the moment over one or two issues you may have caught up with in Australia, so, you know, the BBC are more aware than ever, I imagine, of where their money comes from and of having to fulfil their public service remit.
Did you not think it was going to a third season though?
I hadn’t really thought that far down the line, to be honest. The turnaround was so fast, so fast, on the second series — I think we finished filming in the second week of February and the first episode was aired three weeks later or something. It was really, really quick. I was in the theatre — I immediately went and started doing a play. By the time the first episode aired I was in my technical week and I had bigger fish to fry.
Did you like it though?
I loved working with that cast. I miss being with those people.
And the clothes. The suits, and the dresses . . .
That’s true. Yes. Although stifffronted shirts and stiff collars, they’re no picnic, to be perfectly honest. I don’t really miss having to get dressed in a dinner jacket four times a week.
You’re right in the middle of it all (action). Not like
where nothing happens.
Downton Abbey, I have to admit, and I don’t think I have an ulterior motive, I watched the first three or four shows of their first series, and since then I haven’t actually watched it.
Oh, it’s really just anxiety about the wrong tea tray going up.
Evidently millions of Britons want to watch people fretting over putting out the fish knife with the meat course.
Well, to stay with the
zeitgeist, Hitler was also popular, Ed.
He was. Are you comparing ( Downton Abbey creator) Julian Fellowes to Hitler? A friend of mine is on that show and they’ve quoted to me the phrase the ‘Curse of Downton’.
You’re in trouble if you stay on that
show too long.
There’s an argument to be made that says you’re in trouble as soon as it becomes a big hit, and you’re tied in for two if not three series. You’re already in trouble. You’re no longer your name on your passport, you’re the posh bloke from whatever or the scullery maid, and it’s a real issue. Upstairs Downstairs, ABC1, Sunday, 8.30pm
Choice to watch is yours
Mate, give viewers chance