Books and magazines
The backstory books
Another range of books (again from Sphere) related the histories of the series' principal characters prior to the first TV show, On Trial. The husband-and-wife Hardwick team were peripherally involved with the original TV series and these books can therefore be considered reasonably canonical.
Rose's Story by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham (1972).
Sarah's Story by Mollie Hardwick (1973).
Mr Hudson's Diaries by Michael Hardwick (1973).
Mr Bellamy's Story by Michael Hardwick (1974).
Mrs Bridges' Story by Mollie Hardwick (1975).
The Upstairs, Downstairs Omnibus abridged by Michael and Mollie Hardwick (1975) – An edited compilation of the above volumes.
The Bellamys Of Eaton Place (US: The Bellamy Saga) by John Pearson (1976) – This book is not part of Sphere's "... Story" range, but is of the same ilk. It relates the history of the "upstairs" Bellamy family both prior to, and during, the period covered by the TV series.
A nice photographic cover heralded this first book in Sphere's new range. This was, in fact, the second ever UpDown book and followed Upstairs, Downstairs (Or The Secrets Of An Edwardian Household) – the novelisation of TV Season One – onto the shelves.
The volume follows Rose from her time as a child on the Southwold estate through to her early days at 165.
A very shocking pink cover greeted the buyer of the second version of Rose's Story! The photograph is slightly different from that used on the original release, above.
Early 1973 saw the publication of the second book in the range, which covers the years 1879 (a couple of years before Sarah was born) to 1903 (when she knocked on the door of Eaton Place in On Trial).
Although essential for the diehard fan of the show, this range of novels can be a bit slow at times, though the change of writers from Brady and Bingham to the Hardwicks was a step in the right direction.
The third entry in the series covers Angus Hudson's backstory from 1866, when he turned 10 years old, through to 1883 when he moved as butler to 165.
This book differs from most of the others as it tells Hudson's story as entries from his diary, rather than as a narrative in the third person.
A rather strange photo adorned the Sphere paperback (see left) – is Hudson offering Lady Marjorie a kiss?
This was the last of the "... Story" books to be published in America. This and the previous two (Rose's Story and Sarah's Story) had been released there by Pocket Books.
Mr Bellamy's Story was published in 1974. It covers Richard's history from his birth in 1853 until his election as an MP in 1883.
The cover features this absolutely cracking photo of Richard outside the Houses of Parliament.
Mrs Bridges Story covers the period from the cook's earliest memory (her father's sweetshop) through till when she started work at 165. The book is written in the first person, and is presumably supposed to represent some sort of autobiography.
This is, by far, the most difficult of the "... Story" books to find nowadays. The reasons for this are not clear, as it was still in publication until at least 1979 (by that time in a "squiggle" cover).
This book covers the Bellamy family (not the servants) from 1884 through till the end of the series in 1930. It tends to "write around" the TV episodes, so we learn about events we missed on TV like Lady Marjorie's funeral service and the marriage of James and Hazel.
Whilst the author obviously knows his stuff, he does tend to take liberties with the established characterisations. For example, here Richard has a mistress; Lady Marjorie has a interest in the Kama Sutra; and Richard and Sir Geoffrey positively hate each other! Georgina is described as a "somewhat spotty schoolgirl with plaits" who stammers when she speaks. Despite these sort of bizarre flaws, this is an entertaining read, and a little less dry than the Sphere books, above.
In the UK, this book was titled The Bellamys Of Eaton Place. In the US, I imagine the publishers presumed nobody would know where Eaton Place was, so instead the title was a play on the The Forsyte Saga (see left).
The book was very widely published having both softcover editions (Futura in the UK; Avon in the US) and hardcover (Weidenfield and Nicolson in the UK; Praeger in the US).