BFS Video // 2010 // 600 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 26th, 2011
A glimpse into the world of stately homes and castles.
To grandmothers the world over: your crack cocaine has arrived.
Fine, I may be over-generalizing the demographic a bit here, as I'm sure there are plenty of non-AARP members out there who would greatly enjoy Royal Upstairs Downstairs. But allow me to be blunt: if you enjoy shows where excitable Brits wander through gorgeous old English homes, this series will threaten to explode your heart.
What we have here are 20 episodes of unadulterated British historical eye candy. Your guides are Tim Wonnacott, pumped-up antiques expert who can barely contain his priapism at the sight of a dope chandelier, and Rosemary Shrager, expert chef. Wonnacott tackles the "upstairs" portion of the show, touring the rooms and décor of the houses, and Shrager the "downstairs," whipping up period-specific delicacies.
The hook for all this is actually fairly clever. Utilizing young Queen Victoria's actual journal, where the she documented her tour of Britain's big-time houses, the hosts devote each episode to the locales they visit, relaying bundles of historic trivia and anecdotes.
Here's the iternary: Shugborough Hall, Harewood House, Holkham Hall, the Brighton Pavilion, Scone Palace, Walmer Castle, Wimpole Hall, Belvoir Castle, Blair Castle, Burghley House, Hatfield House, Castle Howard, Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwick Castle, Penrhyn Castle, Floors Castle, Hughenden, and Waddesdon Manor. The last episode is a compilation. Each episode runs 30 minutes.
All in all, a fun show, jammed with everything fans of the genre would want. The tours of these immaculate homes and castles reveal an age of delirious ostentation and sometimes insane decorating tastes. Give it a whirl.
The set: five DVDs, each episode presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with 2.0 stereo. No extras.
Lots of cool stuff to look at, and perhaps cook with outdated kitchen
implements. Not Guilty.
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 600 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site