The latest edition of PBS’ time-travel reality series drops ordinary modern people into the rigid class structure of a grand British mansion circa 1905. Upstairs, ”Sir John,” heady with Edwardian-era entitlement, acts the complete boob (as did the bossy fathers of previous outings The 1900 House and Frontier House), while the experiences of his suddenly decorative wife and sister-in-law wonderfully illustrate why the suffragette movement had to happen. But the real story is below stairs: Romance blossoms between the hall boy and scullery maid, the hunky footman gets drunk and passes out by the pond, and all the while, the French chef grumbles and grimaces in a near parody of himself. (Unfortunately, the DVD’s extras fail to mine what must be scads of unused footage for even more goodies.) At the heart of the show – and household – is architect-turned-butler Mr. Edgar, whose deeply felt sense of responsibility to the project, his position, and, most of all, his ”kiddos” proves him to be the show’s true gentleman.
Posted July 18 2003 — 12:00 AM EDT
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