Reviews & Ratings for
"Upstairs, Downstairs" A Suitable Marriage (1971)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The first of a batch of shocking episodes to feature in the very first season!

Author: (arrival)
7 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'A Suitable Marriage' was 'Upstairs, Downstairs'' first of several 'skirmishes' with homosexuality. Here, Elizabeth after breaking a previous engagement with the rather 'tame' Angus McAllister, becomes attached to 'Baron Von Rimmer' - a gay German. The infamous lines of Lady Marjorie: 'To think - a pervert in our house' would have quite upset telly viewers of today! A visiting Baron looks up Elizabeth Bellamy whilst in London. From then on, he develops what from all outward appearances appears to be a mutual love affair. However; behind the scenes, he is not what he seems - on several levels; one of which is a gay man more interested in the sinister footman from Eaton Place 'Alfred'! We see the last of Alfred in this for nearly ten years, when he re-emerges almost a decade later on the run for murder! Strangely; our next encounter with homosexuality would also involve Elizabeth yet again, when she meets, falls in love, and marries a gay Poet four years later.

This episode introduces the Bellamy's long-standing and closest friend: 'Lady Prudence Fairfax' - marvellously played by the actress Joan Benham. She is one of only a handful of characters to be featured regularly in the series throughout its run (outside of the family) up to its end in 1930.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Methinks the Reviewers Protest Too much

Author: Joe Day from USA
30 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just watched this episode again after several years and it is just as potent as ever. I am not surprised, however, that the current reviews are upset over the treatment of homosexuality. I suppose such reviewers think it is perfectly all right that servants have sex with guests. I'll remember that the next time I stay at a Holiday Inn. In any event it was quite daring and could only have been a product of Great Britain. I might add that much of the same complaint is being made of Downton Abbey in that the gay character, Thomas, hasn't been given more screen time or story line. I find the criticism vexing. Role models should not be had based on their sexual orientation but on their character. All that said, I still don't know why the baron took Alfred with him. The baron was obviously sadistic so I'd imagine he'd leave the chap to face the music.

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A non pc story

Author: jon_a
8 May 2017

This episode starts with Elizabeth rejecting the advances of one man to fall into the arms of another, but she fails to realise the darker side to the man. I am totally un pc and agree with Lady Majorie and her statements on the man and what happens. In the bible it says what happens in this episode is wrong. Upstairs Downstairs was written in a time when PC did not exist or if it did it was seen as a joke. Today we are told to accept these things even if we find them abhorrent and disgusting or we are seen as racist, sexist or homophobic. If this is the price we pay for not been forced to live in a PC world then so be it. Many people writing reviews see this episode and what lady majorie said as wrong. I, as a non PC person sees it as a great episode with a message, we should not be forced to embrace political correctness.

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Vilifying homosexuality in a historical atmosphere...

Author: lyskabot from United States
2 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just read a review of this episode, in which the writer concurs with the portrayal of homosexuality as being deviant. Being gay is often viewed as perversion, especially in period pieces, but that doesn't make it an appropriate adopted opinion... or valid.

Inside this environment even inappropriate day-wear is considered an atrocity, and certainly non heterosexuality is bewildering at best. However, there were progressive people in this era, and the pulpy viewpoint of gay lust is a ridiculous farce. It reads as a farce, and is as modernly relevant as the curtsy.

This show is amazing, and just like all dramatic fiction, is more about weaving a story than providing a doctrine.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Alfred, The Homosexual...

Author: Coletha Albert ( from United States
27 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think that Upstairs Downstairs was very innovative for their time in addressing certain issues of the upper class (money, trusts and living arrangements) and the homosexual. Alfred, shows up and accepts Rose's kindnesses knowing full well that he's gay and that he has murdered his gay lover/employer.

It really shows all the deception tied up in the homosexual lifestyle. Doing whatever you like in order to satisfy your own needs. It's horrible. Therefore, I commend those in the homosexual community who are over a more honorable nature and trying to remove the secrecy and deception associated with their lot.

Alfred with all of his tomfoolery, dancing and caterwauling in the kitchen getting the rest of the staff in trouble with Hudson! It just wasn't appropriate! The character Alfred, got his comeuppance though - hanged by the neck until he was dead. Fabulous!!

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4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A German Baron tries to trick Richard in international espionage

Author: sjm887 from United States
14 June 2006

A homosexual or bisexual German baron gains entry to the Bellamy household, endears himself to Elizabeth, and finally makes off with Alfred. His goal: to gain access to British naval secrets.Richard and a colleague were astute, however, and perceived the plot in time. Richard was overheard speaking to Hudson by Alfred giving the Baron and Alfred time to make an escape before being arrested. There is a good deal of intrigue and interest in the main plot and various sub-plots. My major objection to this story is that, though it reflected attitudes towards homosexuals at the time, it is rather caustic and insulting. Nevertheless, it is a period piece, and portrays genuine feelings held in those days. This must be taken with a grain of salt by modern viewers, who are or should be, more tolerant. The same is true in other episodes when there are rather nasty comments about Jews.

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