This bawdy look at life above and below stairs of the sex-crazed inhabitants at the bankrupt Cockshute Towers in 1904 had a script written by Hazel Adair (the creator of the long-running television series Crossroads).
The rotter Snotty Shuttleworth (William Rushton) – a local villager who has ventured to Australia and made his fortune in trade – arrives to take possession of the Towers, but the Earl (Mark Singleton) is determined to hang on to the stately home.
With no heirlooms left to sell, he and Lady Cockshute (Sue Longhurst) turn to the old aristocratic trick of a convenient marriage. Young Lady Kitty (Olivia Munday) recalls that a school friend, Betsy Ann Dureneck (Seretta Wilson), is an obscenely wealthy American oil heiress and would be a perfect match for Master Peregrine (Jack Wild).
He, however, is far more interested in his scientific laboratory in the basement.
The Durenecks visit for a weekend and things go quickly awry. The butler, Hampton (Neil Hallett), recognises Betsy Ann’s mother, Daisy (Diana Dors) as a dancing girl he was once engaged to.
Shuttleworth meanwhile declares his love for Lady Kitty, and Betsy Ann seems as buttoned-up and uninterested in love or sex as Peregrine.
A staged jewellery theft may be the only answer left to ensure Cockshute Towers is retained.
The film – released in some markets as My Favorite Butler and Can You Keep It Up Downstairs? – was shot at Elstree Studios and on location at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire. It’s cut above the usual 1970s British sex comedy, largely thanks to the period costumes and the impressive cast.
Hudson and Mrs Bridges would not have approved.
Randy, Earl of Cockshute
Lady Kitty Cockshute
Betsy Ann Dureneck
PC Harbottle/Old Harbottle
Christabelle St. Clair
Count Von Schilling
Archie the Bishop