Upstairs, Downstairs

Season 1 Episode 2

The Ladybird

Aired Unknown Dec 27, 2010 on BBC

Episode Recap

Rachel Perlmutter arrives from Germany to be the new house parlour maid. The rest of the staff discover she's Jewish when she refuses some sandwiches that aren't kosher. Upstairs, Lady Agnes is preparing her sister for her introduction to society. She buys Persie new jewellery and arranges for some training by alady from a charm school. Agnes gets nauseous while watching Persie being taught how to curtsey. When she recovers after a little rest, she finds that her tiara is missing. It turns out Lady Holland has taken it to be woven into her hair. After all, Lady Holland presumed Agnes wouldn't be ready for the ball and so she offered to go in Agnes's place. Once again Agnes has to stand by as Lady Holland takes over her life. The only consolation is that she might be pregnant ...

While smoking a cigarette in the garage Persie discovers that the chauffeur, Harry Spargo, is interested in Oswald Mosley and his British fascists. Rachel falls ill when helping Lady Maud in the library. It's an asthma attack and while she's recovering over a kettle of steam, she tells Rose that she was once a university lecturer in Germany. Lady Agnes receives confirmation that she's pregnant, which is extremely good news but also a bit scary as she lost a baby once in the States.

Sir Hallam is ordered to pick up the deposed emperor Hailie Selassie at Waterloo Station. His utter helplessness in improving the former emperor's situation depresses him and makes him wonder whether his role as a diplomat is worth anything. Persie finds a newspaper of Harry's with the announcement of an Oswald Mosley speech. She intends to follow him there.

Rachel wonders why Mr Amanjit always eats alone in the study and rarely fraternises with the rest of the staff. Mr Amanjit explains that he's only following Lady Hollan's orders, but he'd like to be around the others more. That night he sits with the rest to listen to the wireless.

Lady Persie has Harry take her to the opera, but she then follows him to the speech. Both Harry and Persie are impressed by Mosley's ideas.

Rachel teaches Ivy a German song about ladybirds. Mr Amanjit invites Rachel to tea and in the conversation they learn more about each other. Rachel takes him to a family that's looking after her daughter Lotte. Her husband is in prison in Germany, accused of a political crime.

Harry Spargo arrives at dinner in the servants quarters wearing the uniform of the British fascists. Rachel is shocked and refuses to sit with him. Lady Persie and Harry then go to a fascist rally, where they discover that there are more people protesting the rally than actual fascists. Rachel and Mr Amanjit happen to witness too and join in the protests. The rally turns into a riot and Lady Persie flees into an abandoned shop. Rachel wants to put a slogan on the doors of that shop when she sees Lady Persie in her fascist uniform. Persie runs to the car and drives off, despite the protests of Harry. There's nothing else Harry can do than report the car stolen and Persie winds up in jail where an irate Sir Hallam has to bail her out. Harry explains that he only reported her to protect her, as she has no driving license.

That night Ivy finds Rachel dead in their bedroom after a fatal asthma attack. The Hollands arrange for a funeral and Sir Hallam decides that the household will look after little Lotte. When they go to bed, Ivy sings the German song to Lotte.