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Dame Eileen Atkins exits Upstairs Downstairs

Aileen Atkins

Story by Jack Foley

DAME Eileen Atkins will not be returning to the next series of BBC costume drama Upstairs Downstairs, it has been announced.

The actress is reportedly unhappy with the direction the new scripts are taking on the show she helped to create.

A statement released by the BBC said: “It’s with much sadness that we say goodbye to her wonderful character, the straight speaking mother-in-law Lady Holland.

“However, we respect her decision and we will be announcing new star casting soon.”

Dame Eileen conceived the idea for the original series, which ran from 1971-75, with fellow actress Jean Marsh (who has been Emmy nominated for last year’s revival) but did not appear in the original.

She did, however, appear in the BBC revival last year as the sharp tongued Lady Holland.

The show follows the intertwined fortunes of a diplomat’s family and their servants in a grand London townhouse and the next six episodes will start filming in October with a view to being broadcast next year (2012).

Not much is known about the plot developments, but when announcing a second series of the revived drama, writer Heidi Thomas said: “The Holland family and their servants are set for an extraordinary year and I am thrilled to be their guardian.”

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