BIGASK

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch - BY DIANNE BUT­LER

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

Up­stairs Down­stairs

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

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