"Upstairs Downstairs" A Perfect Specimen of Womanhood (TV Episode 2012) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Blanche is discomforted when married authoress Portia Alresford publishes a spicy best seller, 'The Golden Blaze', a thinly disguised account of their lesbian affair. Their true identities are exposed in the press, angering Sir Hallam and dividing staff opinion. And, whilst Portia wants the affair to resume, Blanche knows that this can never be. Lady Agnes, keen to assume more child care duties, annoys Beryl by switching her job to housemaid, giving both her and kitchen maid Eunice more work to do. Beryl goes to a staff agency, the Girls' Friendly Society, whose Miss Poulson forces Lady Agnes to improve staff working conditions, making her see the folly of her ways. Lady Persie tells Hallam that she is pregnant, but all these events are over-shadowed by the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, making war a far more realistic possibility than before.

  • Tongues are set wagging when newspaper gossip columns are filled with stories that the lesbian lovers in a popular book, The Golden Blaze, are based on the author Portia Alresford's love affair with Blanche Mottershead, Sir Hallam's aunt. Portia would like to resume their affair and while Blanche is also interested, she's not sure she can accept what Portia is proposing. Lady Agnes meanwhile has re-assigned Beryl and Eunice's duties leading them to have far more work and less time off for the same pay. Beryl decides to do something about it. Persie tells Hallam she is pregnant and when he refuses to help her get an abortion sets off on her own to take care of the matter.


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