The Duchess of Duke Street is a BBC series from the mid 1970s. Masterpiece Theatre aired this British miniseries, which is set in Victorian and Edwardian England… the late 1800s and early 1900s. The series follows Louisa Trotter, a young woman from England’s lower class society – during a time when the possibility of bettering your social standing was pretty much nil to nothing.
Louisa (played magnificently by Gemma Jones) works as a scullery maid (the lowest servants’ position possible for women) but has three very strong traits: ambition, the inability to “hold her tongue,” and intelligence. We watch Louisa go from a very young, almost abrasive girl to a self-assured woman of high society.
Gemma Jones’ portrayal of Louisa Trotter, as she goes up the ladder of British society, is absolutely superb. This period BBC (and Masterpiece Theatre) production will stay with you way after you watch the two-season miniseries.
As you watch the episodes in The Duchess of Duke Street, try to keep in mind that the plot is based on the true life story of Rosa Lewis and The Duchess of Duke Street‘s Bentinck Hotel is based on London’s Cavendish Hotel.
The Duchess of Duke Street miniseries takes us along as Louisa goes from being a scullery maid to a great chef, to eventually the owner of a London hotel. Quite a feat for those times!
This period piece production is (to me) delightful. I enjoyed the costumes, make up, acting, sets, and plot line. Fans of Upstairs, Downstairs will no doubt become fans of The duchess of Duke Street.
Watching it is addictive, but beware – it is not for young children. (Also, it is not a mystery…)
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