Synopsis by Hal Erickson
From the same production team responsible for the TV reality series Frontier House and 1900 House, the six-part Manor House was filmed at Manderston, a 109-room mansion in Scotland. For a period of three months, 20 people from various walks in life went "back in time," assuming the roles of the masters and servants of Manderston, their behavior rigidly controlled by a rule book articulating the manners and mores of the Edwardian Era (specifically, the year 1905). Thus, the lord of the manor, Sir John (played by John Olliff-Cooper, in real life the owner of a successful flooring business) ran his household with a firm hand, secure in the knowledge that no one -- not his family, not his servants -- could make a move or even express an opinion without his permission. Similarly, the "downstairs" people -- maids, footmen, kitchen help, etc. -- were subject to the orders of the stern and sour-faced head butler, Mr. Edgar (Hugh Edgar, an architect in real life). Not surprisingly, Sir John's privileged family (played by the actual members of Olliff-Cooper's family) were more amenable to the conditions set down by Edwardian tradition than were the people pretending to be the servants, many of whom possessed a more independent and rebellious streak than their early 20th century counterparts. Originally produced for Britain's Channel 4, Manor House was seen in the U.S. in three two-hour dollops from April 28 to 30, 2003, courtesy of PBS.
estate, servant, upper-class, aristocracy, British, experiment, social-classes, hierarchy, butler, housekeeper, pre-war