Alfred Shaughnessy (Alfred James Shaughnessy)
BiographyWestminster, London, England, UK
Alfred Shaughnessy was the chief writer and script editor of Upstairs Downstairs, the ITV drama series about the lives of an Edwardian London family and their loyal servants. Much praised and fondly remembered, the series which ran from 1971-5 was widely acclaimed for its shrewd social comment. The brainchild of one of the stars of the series Jean Marsh and fellow actress Eileen Atkins, Shaughnessy wrote a third of the scripts. Alfred Shaughnessy was born in London in 1916. The family house in Norfolk Square consisted of a butler, cook, footman and several housemaids. Read more... credit for the historical accuracy of Upstairs Downstairs. Educated at Summerfields and Eton, he went on to attend the Royal Military College, Sandhurst with the intention of joining the Grenadier Guards. He later resigned on grounds of conscience. He wrote sketches for West End revues and then worked as a script editor with Michael Balcon at Ealing Studios. He also wrote numerous television dramas including The Cedar Tree. One of his earliest offerings was a musical biography of the music hall star Marie Lloyd, Our Marie (written with Christopher Barry) which was shown in 1953. Upstairs Downstairs was his greatest success, although LWT originally only screened six episodes in a late night slot. The series was later sold worldwide and led to a spin off, Thomas and Sarah. An American version set in twenties Boston, Beacon Hill, was also produced. Shaughnessy also wrote episodes of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Jeremy Brett, and the pilot for Ladies in Charge. He wrote an autobiography Both Ends of the Candle (1975) and two novels.