The Edwardian Country House

The Edwardian Country House was an acclaimed British mini-series in the reality television genre, produced by Channel 4. It was first aired in the UK in April, 2002 and was later broadcast in the U.S. on various PBS stations in 2003 as Manor House, where extra footage was added. It is third in a series of historical reality shows produced by Channel 4, preceded by The 1900 House and The 1940s House.

In the series the Olliff-Cooper family are given the identities of turn-of-the-century aristocrats and housed in Manderston, an opulent Scottish country house, where they live for three months in the Edwardian style. Mr. and Mrs. Olliff-Cooper become Sir John Olliff-Cooper and Lady Olliff-Cooper.

Interest and conflict is provided by the 14 servants, portrayed by individuals from several paths of life. Chief among these was Hugh Edgar, an architect from Surrey, who was cast in the role of the butler.

Participants received instruction and a set of rules by which they were expected to abide for the duration of the experiment. Most of the "upstairs" participants enjoy their time in the house, which is meant to represent the years 1905–1914. Those "below stairs" have a different experience; for those in the lowest ranks, particularly the successive scullery maids, life appears to be intolerable.

The mini-series is available for purchase on both DVD and VHS. Manderston is open to the public during the summer, and also offers accommodation to paying guests.

Read more about The Edwardian Country House:  Episodes

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