Some Joe You Don't Know: An American Biographical Guide to 100 British Television Personalities

By Anthony Slide | Go to book overview

B

ANGELA BADDELEY

If Gordon Jackson in the character of Mr. Hudson is in control of the upper reaches of 165 Eaton Place in , Downstairs, the nether regions of the house were strictly the domain of cook-housekeeper Mrs. Bridges, played by Angela Baddeley. Of all the staff in the Bellamy household, Mrs. Bridges is perhaps the most difficult to comprehend fully. She is relatively kind yet all too often a tartar; her temper tantrums often seem unjust, particularly when directed at scullery maid Ruby (played by Jenny Tomasin). She is portrayed as overworked but is often seen relaxing in an easy chair with an ever-present cup of tea. On the surface, her foremost concern might appear to be ensuring that the Bellamy family has only the finest of foods, prepared to the best standards, and yet, as the series made plain, it is the Downstairs staff upon whom Mrs. Bridges lavishes the quality food.

One reason why American viewers might have had difficulty in understanding Mrs. Bridges and, in particular, her relationship to Mr. Hudson is that two crucial early episodes in the series were never aired when Upstairs, Downstairs was first seen on PBS. These two programs, "I Die for Love" and "Why Is the Door Locked," were taped in black and white, owing to a strike by technicians at the BBC, and PBS felt it inappropriate to air them as part of a series shot in color.

In the first of these episodes, Emily, the scullery maid before Ruby, commits suicide, a tragedy whose emotional impact on Mrs. Bridges is long lasting. In the second episode, Mrs. Bridges is charged with taking a baby from its pram outside of a shop, and Mr. Hudson offers to marry her in an effort to help clear her name. The shock of Emily's death is obviously the cause of Mrs. Bridges's overbearing attitude toward Ruby and her insistence on treating the scullery maid as if she were a wayward daughter

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Some Joe You Don't Know: An American Biographical Guide to 100 British Television Personalities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • A 1
  • B 13
  • C 39
  • D 55
  • E 59
  • F 67
  • G 75
  • H 85
  • Bibliography 117
  • I 121
  • J 123
  • K 141
  • L 147
  • M 161
  • Bibliography 181
  • O 191
  • P 193
  • R 203
  • Bibliography 232
  • T 235
  • W 243
  • General Bibliography 257
  • Index 259
  • About the Author 273
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