Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Upstairs v Downton rivalry rages on

Jean Marsh says she's up for a huggle from Hugh Bonneville

Jean Marsh has said she's "up for" the "big huggle in the friendly chair" proposed to her by Hugh Bonneville.

The actress said previously that she didn't think it was a coincidence that period drama Downton Abbey was broadcast just before the remake of Upstairs Downstairs, in reply to which Hugh - who starred in Downton - wrote on Twitter: "I thought Jean Marsh was bigger than that... The consensus seems to be that Ms Marsh needs a big huggle in the friendly chair."

While promoting Upstairs Downstairs in America, Jean said the tweet had delighted her.

She said: "I loved it. I want to meet him and say 'Listen, if you're going to do the huggle and I'm going to sit on your lap in the friendly chair, I'm up for it'."

But Upstairs Downstairs co-creator Dame Eileen Atkins put her own cheeky spin on the issue.

She said: "In the music hall, you have a warm-up act and then you have a star turn. I feel that Downton has been a fantastic warm-up."

Upstairs Downstairs, which aired on BBC One in between Christmas and New Year was a sequel to the hit 1970s series about an Edwardian London house and its owners and servants. Downton Abbey, created by Julian Fellowes, was a four-part drama about life in an English country estate which aired in October, drawing a bigger audience.

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