The House of Eliott


Does anyone else remember the BBC series, The House of Eliott, that screened in the early 1990s? I was hooked by the story of the two genteel sisters, Beatrice and Evangeline, who set up a dressmaking business in 1920s London. There were meaty class issues, strong feminist storylines, delicious romance, and of course, sumptuous clothes. I loved it so much that I even named partly one of my daughters after the glamorous bobbed younger sister.

This novelisation was written by one of the series' co-creators, Jean Marsh, of Upstairs, Downstairs fame, and it's a lot of fun. Although the beautiful, original clothes can only be described, not seen, there is more room in a novel to tease out the historical detail, the various feisty and diffident characters, and the subtle class distinctions that become blurred when the posh sisters work alongside, and rely upon, their working-class employees. It was also surprisingly racy! I didn't remember there being quite so many sex scenes in the BBC version. Rack my brains as I might, I can't recall the male leads at all -- just the sisters, the seamstresses, and the fabulous 1920s clothes.


  1. Oooh I loved The House Of Eliott! The first series was exceptionally good; the second two less so, because having done the slow set up and character development in the first series, they started frantically over-plotting in the next one and made it more soap-opera-ish. I remember the good looking male lead who ended up with the older sister I think the actor was called Aden something but can't remember the character's name, and I remember the younger sister having a shocking affair with an older man - who might have been an MP? Also, French and Saunders did a brilliant skit on it , for Comic Relief I think, which might be worth hunting down if it's around on Youtube.

  2. I've looked up the actor who played Jack Maddox, his name is Aden Gillet and he had a role in The Crown recently! How funny. I really didn't remember anything at all about the plot, or the rotten father, but those two gorgeous, ingenious sisters made a very strong impression :)