Ed Stoppard: Upstairs Downstairs cast aren’t worried about Downton Abbey

"I don't understand the logic that the jungle can only support one beast," says BBC drama's star

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Upstairs Downstairs star Ed Stoppard has said that neither he nor the rest of the BBC1 costume drama’s cast are “peering over their shoulders and wringing their hands” with worry about rival series Downton Abbey’s success.

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Speaking to Radio Times magazine, the 37-year-old actor also claimed that he hadn’t seen the second series of ITV1’s hugely popular period drama, saying: “I was doing something else, or maybe I missed an episode and didn’t want to play catch-up.”

But he revealed that he doesn’t harbour any resentment about the two similar costume dramas having to co-exist. When asked about the perceived competition between Upstairs and Downton, Stoppard said: “I don’t understand the logic that the jungle can only support one beast. Even if it’s a big beast. 

“It’s as if EastEnders and Corrie and Emmerdale have never managed to subsist in the same environment.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Stoppard revealed that many of the nation’s favourite actors, including Hugh Grant and Ralph Fiennes, failed auditions for parts in his father Tom Stoppard’s plays.

“I think that if they had got [those parts] they wouldn’t have gone on to do either Schindler’s List or Four Weddings. So they both owe my dad.”

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Read full interviews with Stoppard and his Upstairs Downstairs co-star, Jean Marsh, in
this week’s issue of Radio Times, on sale now.