Belfast Telegraph

Upstairs Downstairs axed by BBC

Costume drama Upstairs Downstairs has been axed, the BBC has confirmed.

The revival of the hit 1970s series, starring Keeley Hawes and Alex Kingston, has seen ratings slump from 8.8 million viewers when it relaunched in 2010 to 5.22 million for the last episode of the second series, which aired last month.

A BBC spokesperson said: "From Call the Midwife to Bird Song and The Syndicate, 2012 has been a great year for Original British Drama on BBC1 but at this stage there are no plans for Upstairs Downstairs to return".

Neil Jackson who played chauffeur Harry Spargo confirmed reports the show had been axed on Twitter.

He said: "Such a shame. I have just heard that the BBC will not be making any more Upstairs Downstairs. I loved the show and will miss... greatly"

The original series, co-created by Dame Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh and starring Marsh as servant Rose, aired on ITV from 1971 to 1975.

Marsh returned as Rose in the new series and Dame Eileen played Lady Maud Holland. But Dame Eileen chose not to take part in the second series and Marsh's character was confined to a sanatorium, only making two brief appearances.

The show was criticised for lacking a "convincing script".

A petition has been set up on Twitter and Facebook campaigning for BBC bosses to change their minds and commission a third series.

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