Nostalgic television period drama flowed naturally from the pen of Rosemary Anne Sisson, who has died aged 93. She stamped her mark on it with Upstairs Downstairs, which intertwined the lives of the Bellamy family and its servants, and The Irish Rm, the 19th-century tale of an English magistrate in rural Ireland, before going on to co-create the theatrical saga The Bretts.
Upstairs Downstairs was ITV’s first hugely successful period drama. It was dreamed up by two actors, Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins, as the story of two maids “below stairs” in the household at 165 Eaton Place, London. John Hawkesworth produced the serial, set during a momentous time in British history, between 1903 and 1930, and gave it authenticity by researching House of Commons debates, store and fashion catalogues, songbooks and theatre programmes. For 11 of the 68 episodes screened between