BBC Cancels British Period Drama

Apr 24, 2012  •  Post A Comment

British period drama is enjoying a renaissance on television, but it hasn’t translated to success for the series that some observers credit with starting it all.

The BBC has decided not to order another season of "Upstairs, Downstairs," which originally aired in the 1970s and returned with a new version in 2010, reports The New York Times’ ArtsBeat. The original series is credited with inspiring the popular drama "Downton Abbey," the story reports.

The BBC said that 2012 “has been a great year for Original British Drama on BBC1 but at this stage there are no plans for ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ to return," according to the story.

"Upstairs, Downstairs," which first aired in the U.S. from 1974 to 1977, followed the Bellamy family and their downstairs servants through early 20th century events such as the sinking of the Titanic and World War I.

The current popularity of "Downton Abbey," which tracks the Crawley family and their servants through roughly the same time period, led to a new "Upstairs, Downstairs" series that resumed its story in the 1930s.

But despite good reviews, the final episode of the new "Upstairs, Downstairs" drew 5.22 million viewers in the U.K., down from the 8.8 million people who tuned in for its 2010 debut, the story points out.

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