The House of Eliott (again)

20 October 2011

I watched the last ever episode of The House of Eliott this afternoon and have to say that I have rarely felt so let down. Not by the actual content of the episode, of course but by all the loose ends that were left hanging without any sign of resolution. What will happen to Tilly and Norman now? Will Miss Evie go to Paris with the ever so tediously bohemian Daniel? Will Miss Bea become the perfect politician’s wife? Can Agnes really be a music hall star? Will Jack ever perfect his frowny concentrating face when people speak to him and will his sister ever come back from her missionary work? Has she been eaten?! Will Evil Betty EVER get her comeuppance? Will any of them stop taking themselves so damn seriously?!

Well, we’ll never know. Apparently the series came to an end because the sets and costumes were destroyed by a fire and were too expensive to replace. How sad is that? It’s testament to the abruptness of the series’ end though that programmers, faced with angry viewers wanting to know why The House of Eliott seems to have come to an abrupt halt, often seem to have to explain that the whole show ended at the end of series three and there literally are no more episodes to see.

In the meantime, desperate for a fix of House of Eliott goodness, I hastened to Amazon in search of a doubtless battered second hand copy of Jean Marsh’s novel of the series and instead found this upcoming reissue! Hurray! It’s not due out until the 2nd December, which I think is the same day as Deathly Hallows 2 comes out on DVD so that’s going to be an excellent day for post here at Guillotine Towers!

Two sisters fight to assert themselves after being plunged into devastating poverty following their father’s death. Luckily, their natural flair for design soon finds them in demand as dressmakers.

Beatrice is the elder and apparently wiser of the two, who considers herself plain and unmarriageable and whose relationship with society photographer, Jack Maddox, is seared with conflict and doubt. Her younger sister is Evangeline, ravishingly beautiful, the victim of chancers, philanderers and rogues – but most of all the victim of her own desires.

Throughout all their private turmoils, their professional goal is constant: to establish a fashion house in London to rival any in Paris. Based on the massively successful television series created by Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins, this is the full story of Beatrice and Evangeline, and of the strength and triumph, bitterly made decisions and anguishes that accompanied the rise of the House of Eliott.

Incidentally, I was really sad to hear about Jean Marsh’s stroke during the preparations to film the second series of Upstairs, Downstairs (scoff all you like – I LOVE it and can’t wait for the second series) and hope she makes a speedy recovery.

Crikey, I wonder if there’s any chance of a remake of House of Eliott? And if there is, can Aidan Turner be in it please, BBC?

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