I came to play the role of Mr Pritchard by a curious turn of events.

I had worked on Cranford with both Heidi Thomas (the writer of this revival) and Eileen Atkins. They'd also seen me in a play at the National Theatre.

And the part kind of landed in my lap from that really.

It was totally unexpected and extremely flattering. I read the scripts and just fell in love with Mr Pritchard and I completely bought the whole idea of 165 Eaton Place being re-imagined.

So rather suddenly, but delightedly I was in Upstairs Downstairs.

I think being a downstairs character suits me as a person - I'm not good with airs and graces.

But the great thing about Mr Pritchard is that he spans both worlds - and very efficiently at that. It's called 'having your cake and eating it'.

One minute he can be opening the front door for Wallis Simpson and the next minute arranging flowers in a vase.

I love the frantic nature of downstairs where we are constantly on the go - preparing food, cleaning clothing - contrasted with the smoothness of upstairs, which has to look utterly effortless and calm.

Being in both worlds also means I get to spend time with everyone in the cast, which is a real treat.

The new version differs from the original as the characters (with the exception of Rose Buck) are all new to Eaton Place.

Heidi has used genuine historical events around 1936 to colour and chart the storylines.

Because of the way the original series had to be made, the camera shots were dictated by the settings. With the new series, a single camera crew made it possible to shoot the scenes any way the director wanted.

The detail of the sets and costumes are astonishing.

By the time I'd put my tail coat, wing collar, bow tie and watch chain on and walked onto the magnificent hall and stairs set, or the low-ceilinged warm and chintzy downstairs set, no acting was required - it all felt so real and convincing.

I have enormous admiration for what the art, costume and make-up departments all created. It was the perfect playground.

My favourite room was the kitchen pantry. There were shelves and shelves of provisions, boxes and jars from the period along with home-made preserves and chutneys, bottled beetroot and pickled onions.

You only catch little glimpses of it in the show, but the art and props departments worked tirelessly to make it historically accurate as well as beautifully evocative.

I loved the all cast but I simply adored Anne Reid who plays Mrs Thackeray, the cook.

I've admired her work for years. Let's face it, she's a national institution.

We hit it off the minute we met. She is something of a minx on set. She can make me laugh simply by raising an eyebrow.

Her anecdotes are comedy gold, and she's never afraid to take a difficult path in a scene.

We travelled back from Cardiff (where we shot the series) on the same train a couple of times. My sides ached from laughing by the time we reached Paddington.

She's also partial to a glass of red wine, like my good self, especially on trains, which endears her to me even more.

Eileen's character, Maud, has a pet monkey, which was remarkably professional on set.

There was one occasion however when I was serving coffee by the breakfast table and it wouldn't do what was required.

If I poured the coffee once I must have poured it a thousand times. Every time we went for another take we had to reset the cups, the milk, the coffee, the spills I'd made, the sugar tongs etc. By the end of the scene I wanted to swear at it.

Subsequently watching the scene, you can't really see me doing anything. The monkey steals it every time it's on screen.

I have had a terrific time working on Upstairs Downstairs. Not least because of Cardiff. I know the city pretty well because we filmed Gavin and Stacey there.

I love the shopping arcades and the warmth of the people. I'm desperate to see a rugby match at the Millennium Stadium though. Maybe next time around!

It's going to feel very strange not being around when the series starts.

I'm going on a road trip in the USA with my wife and kids, so I shall have to wait until I'm back to gauge the response and to see what my children think.

I'm always conscious that I have a lot of potential to embarrass them.

Gavin and Stacey gave me a cool quota mostly - I'm not certain of Mr Pritchard's cool leanings. Still, if my mum and her friends like it, that's all that matters.

Adrian Scarborough plays Mr Pritchard in Upstairs Downstairs.

Upstairs Downstairs starts on Sunday, 26 December at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD.

For further programme times, please visit the upcoming episodes page.

Adrian Scarborough also appears in Miranda. Watch Adrian's interview with Miranda Hart on the BBC Comedy website.

Comments made by writers on the TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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  • Comment number 37. Posted by AskME

    on 16 Jan 2011 23:18

    I WAS really looking forward to this series. It is a shame feedback cannot be done on a general titled blog for what we all think of BBC productions.

    It was beautifully filmed and the story did weave through the screenplay very well.
    But! to be honest my heart sank when the very over orchestrated music started up over a twirling chandelier. This emphasis seemed to be on an aspirational 'wealthy' lifestyle (perhaps to appeal to USA sales) and why or why all the terrible cheesy 'mood music' all through it? the original did not need this and it worked!

    It would have been lovely just as a fond nod of appreciation, for all the fans of the original to make some solid reference to the characters from the original...even if it was a post card from Mr Hudson and Mrs Bridges in Hastings!

    Great writers like Fay Weldon got accurate gritty working class details from first hand sources...and that really showed. Not so in this version plus a lot of the staff had very dodgy London accents. Christopher Beeny, Jaquiline Tong, Gareth Hunt,
    added authentic LONDON accents, truly vital for a very London storytelling drama.

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  • Comment number 36. Posted by Dancing_Bare

    on 11 Jan 2011 14:24

    I watched the programmes with interest. It had been heralded as a new sumptious BBC Production. Jean March must have decided that it could only be put on if she could be in it! Part of her contract! What a shame her contribution along with the poor script which had echoes of Downton Abbey was very disappointing. What a waste of license payers money! Dame Eileen Atkins was outstanding but if she had to just stand there in a black bin bag she would still be outstanding! The BBC were obviously out to score a few points against Downton Abbey ( a wonderful production) sadly nil points from me.........

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  • Comment number 35. Posted by sir greville de kentonville

    on 11 Jan 2011 11:49

    I watched all 3 episodes and to be honest I think it was rather boring and the characters were too predictable such as the stuffy mr pritchard...and the mosley bit was most unconvincing.
    I cannot see it coming back as a series again somehow.

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  • Comment number 34. Posted by retroblogger

    on 7 Jan 2011 12:48

    What happened to the closing music? In the original series the opening music perfectly reflected the grace of the "Upstairs" life, and the closing music the very different life "Downstairs". This point was completely missed and in my opinion a serious error. I also agree that the background music was inappropriate and unnecessary.

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  • Comment number 33. Posted by Mambit

    on 6 Jan 2011 20:16

    That's five or six bloggers here annoyed by the music but no one asking for more music. Please take note producers. People complain about too much loud background music. Especially older folk who are left unable to discern some of the dialogue due to the intrusive corny music. No one here's asking for more or louder music are they.
    So unless I'm mistaken that's a no brainer for less music please.
    After all, it's supposed to be us licence fee subscribers that you serve.
    Not your desire to make period dramas in the style of over produced Hollywood melodramas.

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  • Comment number 32. Posted by minniemooch

    on 5 Jan 2011 14:03

    Absolutely brilliant every bit as good as the old series. Very well done with excellent actors, sets and storyline. Can't wait for the new series.

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  • Comment number 31. Posted by gm

    on 5 Jan 2011 12:21

    I watched the original Upstairs Downstairs when it was screened in Australia, and every week my family would be glued to the screen. I have since purchased the complete series on DVD and watched it again and had wished it was still being made. I recently heard that there was a remake of Upstairs Downstairs and I have to say that I was concerned that it would fall short of the original. However, I was delighted with this new series even though only three episodes. The costumes, the sets, the cast were all wonderful. With Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins still involved, the new series has lived up to the reputation of original Upstairs Downstairs. Congratulations to all involved.
    I can only hope that this was a small taste of what should become a wonderful new series for BBC.

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  • Comment number 30. Posted by BernardA

    on 1 Jan 2010 16:26

    I don't usually watch period dramas these days but as I have been on holiday over Christmas I did watch the first episode of Upstairs Downstairs and ended up watching all three as I felt that they were so good.

    The twist in the final episode with the long dead sister being found alive and well in an institution was particularly poignant. Possibly, Pamela's character could be developed further as this is an opportunity for some really innovative drama around how Pamela's family interact with her now that she has been restored to them.

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  • Comment number 29. Posted by topboat

    on 31 Dec 2010 02:05

    Excellent! Please, please extend to full series - and more. Storyline of the three Christmas episodes could well have been extended to at least eight.

    Background music is atrocious and unnecessary. Intrusion over the abdication speech was totally unacceptable. Please reduce it to a bare minimum in any future series.

    Please spread the events of the next three years leading up to WW2 over at least one series of eight episodes.

    Well done! Beat Downton Abbey into a cocked hat!

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  • Comment number 28. Posted by Mambit

    on 30 Dec 2010 22:57

    Here here to the annoying background music comment. The programme just like Garrow's law & most other programmes & films is severely spoiled by being drenched with the irritating contrived twee background music.
    As bad as canned laughter except instead of telling people when to laugh, it's to tell people when to feel sad or happy. Frankly it's patronising & sanitises the programme of any chance of having a natural feel.
    Producers are prone to feeling they haven't completed their craft unless hours of time & lots of money have been spent on music. Well they're wrong.
    No music would be good please Just like the 5pm Sunday BBC Dickens serialisations broadcast 30 or 40 years ago that had no background music & were much the better & more realistic for it.

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