The House of Eliott

The backless dress has much to answer for!

β€”Lady Lydia Eliott, from The House of Eliott (Series 1 Episode 2)

The House of Eliott

I have to thank Danielle for reminding me about this wonderful series. I saw it a number of years ago and am no less captivated by it now than I was then. It’s the story of two genteel sisters who are left nearly penniless when their father dies and must support themselves with their dressmaking skills. It is set in 1920’s London, a time of great social change, especially for women. Mrs. Pankhurst and Marie Stopes are mentioned, along with coalminer’s strikes and unemployment. No less controversial are the fashions of the day, and the Eliott sisters are in the vanguard when they eventually open their own fashion house. Anyone with the slightest interest in clothes would be well entertained by the award-winning costumes alone, but the writing and acting are excellent as well. Shakespearean actress Barbara Jefford, who plays the arrogant Aunt Lydia, is particularly brilliant and reminds us what good acting is suppposed to be like. Sadly, my library doesn’t carry the second and third seasons, but they do have the companion book by Jean Marsh (of Upstairs Downstairs fame), co-creator of the series. I can’t get the theme song out of my head now, but the funny thing is that I don’t mind! Now if only I knew how to do the Charleston…

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5 comments on “The House of Eliott

  1. Danielle says:

    I just finished watching the third series (my library only had series one, so I ILL'd series two, and got series three from Netflix). I thought it was really well done! Too bad there were only three sesons. They wrapped it up fairly well, but it still seemed they might have continued on. A show like this would never make it in the US. Thank heavens for the BBC! πŸ™‚

  2. Sylvia says:

    I'll have to try the ILL route if I can't convince my library to buy series 2 & 3. Seems silly for them to have the first series only.
    Yes, what would we do without the BBC? The Jewel in the Crown, Upstairs Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street, Elizabeth R, Monty Python… Not to mention Fay Weldon's Pride and Prejudice. I suppose it helps that they have possibly the richest native literary tradition to draw upon.

  3. susan rose says:

    I recently rented the whole series & LOVED IT!!

  4. Carl V. says:

    That sounds very interesting…I'll have to check and see if it is available through Netflix.

  5. Michelle says:

    I third the “that sounds like a cool series, I'm Netflix-ing it!”
    Regarding the BBC: they *do* have a lot of great stuff, but soooooo much of it isn't yet available. Every time A. and I try to Netflix something from the BBC (frequently documentaries or Dr. Who), they haven't released it yet. Very frustrating.
    One cool thing though, there was an article in the Independent about how the BBC is going to try to start putting stuff from the archive onto the Web! And there's a LOT of stuff in those archives…

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