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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Major new BBC Two Daytime series follows in footsteps of Queen Victoria

BBC Two Daytime announces the commission of Royal Upstairs Downstairs, a brand-new factual series which follows in the footsteps of Queen Victoria to the grand houses, castles and intimate family homes across Great Britain that she visited throughout her 63-year reign.

Royal Upstairs Downstairs unites the presenting talents of Tim Wonnacott (Bargain Hunt) and Rosemary Shrager (School For Cooks) as they bring to life the details of each individual visit, during a time steeped in tradition but led by invention and unparalleled industrial, political and social change.

The series delves into the age of Queen Victoria from the immense banquets and celebrations held in her honor to the incredible preparations which went on behind the scenes.

Liam Keelan, Controller of Daytime, who commissioned the series, says: "I'm delighted to bring daytime viewers a unique insight into one of most remarkable periods in British history and the Queen who reigned over it.

"This new series reflects the ambition of BBC Daytime to bring our audiences even more quality factual content and follows on from the success of programmes such as Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys."

Queen Victoria's progress, era by era, will be explored through her visits to some of the most stunning stately homes of Britain, including Chatsworth House, Holkham Hall, Woburn Abbey and Blair Castle in Scotland.

It will reveal stories of tables which, according to sources, "almost literally groaned" underneath the weight of food at a lavish banquet at Harewood House; charades and illumination as evening entertainment at Chatsworth House and how 16,000 coloured tea-lights were used to light Stoneleigh Abbey in Coventry to mark the Queen's visit.

Using house records and hearing from Queen Victoria's own journals, Tim will explore what happened on each visit, how she was entertained, why she came to each house and her legacy on the surrounding area which survives today.

Rosemary will be downstairs, learning about the vast preparations that went in to each visit, and recreating one of the dishes Victoria would have eaten during her stay, such as ice cream, savoury custards which went into soups and beef à la Provençale.

Royal Upstairs Downstairs (20x45') is being made by Lion Television for BBC Two Daytime. The BBC executive producer is Jacqueline Hewer and the executive producer for Lion is Jeremy Mills. It will transmit in Winter 2010.

EB

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