Friday, 16 March 2012

The World According to Mrs Bridges! Remembering Upstairs, Downstairs (1971 - 1975)


I have just been viewing the excellent 1970s period drama Upstairs, Downstairs on freeview this morning and it has reminded me just what a truly excellent series this was. I vaguely remember the original broadcasts from the 1970s when I was knee high to a grasshopper and watching them again has just brought those memories flooding back, so much so, I thought it would be good to pay homage to this wonderful series with a series of posts. The first post pays tribute to the wonderful cook, Mrs Bridges payed by the late Angela Baddeley.

Kate Bridges (1858–?) was the cook at 165, Eaton Place throughout the whole series. She was portrayed by Angela Baddeley, who was nominated twice for an Emmy (Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress). Information given on-screen about the marital status of Mrs Bridges is contradictory.

In the first series episode "Why is her door locked?", Mrs Bridges mentions a husband who died fifteen years previously; and in the episode featuring a visit to the house by King Edward VII, Lady Marjorie states their cook is not a French chef but "a temperamental widow from Bristol."

However in the third series finale "The Sudden Storm", Mr Hudson states that there was never a "Mr Bridges", but that the "Mrs" is a courtesy title customarily applied to a cook in a gentleman's household. In the final episode, she and Hudson are married and move to open a seaside boarding house. Kate was still alive and well in 1931 (Rose wrote to 'Mrs Hudson' that year according to the second TV Times UD special).
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