Upstairs Downstairs return ’emotional’, says Jean

Actress Jean Marsh has admitted that it was “emotional” returning to the Upstairs Downstairs house for the new version of the classic show.

The period drama, which follows the lives of the Bellamys of Belgravia and their servants below stairs, has returned for a new three-part series, with the first episode screened on Boxing Day on BBC1.

And Jean, who reprises her role as housemaid Rose, begins the series with her character wandering through the town house which has been derelict for six years.

“I can’t think about coming back without feeling tearful, not bad tearful but just emotional,” the actress said.

“The past is there, exquisitely recreated, and it’s startlingly upsetting to see the house where I lived for five years, and was Rose for 35 years, looking a mess.”

The new series picks up in 1935 when new owners Sir Hallam Holland (Ed Stoppard) and his wife Lady Agnes, played by actress Keeley Hawes, make a fresh start in the house.

Jean, 76, also urged viewers to “gloss over” the fact that for her character only six years have passed, despite the fact she is 35 years older

“I didn’t age in the original series,” she said. “We just jogged along and somehow 25 years passed.”