Britain’s most influential newspaper, The Guardian, recently wrote about the Hungarian obsession with the British TV-series ‘You Rang, M’Lord?’. In order to find out about the reasons why this TV-series is still a success in Hungary when it has been long forgotten in Britain, one of their reporters attended an anniversary celebration in Budapest, organised by Hungarian fans.
Fans of all ages gathered at the 30th-anniversary celebration at a restaurant in Budapest, where some members of the main cast made an appearance, including Michael Knowles (Teddy) and Jeffrey Holland (James).
Even the restaurant’s chef is a fan of ‘You Rang, M’Lord?’, recalls the article, highlighting the Hungarian love for the series.
The Guardian attributes the show’s success to the fall of the Communist regime: with Hungary’s turn to democracy, new horizons were opened, and the dubbing of films and TV-series from the West began. The first such series was a Brazilian romantic comedy, followed by the American ‘Dallas’, and then came ‘You Rang, M’Lord?’.
Three decades later, the series is still on air on several Hungarian TV channels,
and the fan club of 23 thousand members goes to show that its popularity will last for another couple of decades. Some of these members decided to organise a celebratory event for the shows’ 30th anniversary, however, they did not stop at a Hungarian fan get-together: they tracked down some of the still living members of the cast.
A crowdfunding page was set up to cover the expenses of flying the cast to Budapest. The idea’s popularity grew with each day, eventually reaching a point where the page had to be shut down (after only a month), as over 800 people put in a request for an audience with the cast members, even though the ticket prices varied from 5000 to 20000 forints (EUR 15-60). The fans raised millions of forints to pay for their favourites’ plane tickets and hotel rooms.
The Guardian interviewed fans to get a deeper understanding of this love for ‘You Rang, M’Lord?’. One of them, a young radio journalist, Adrienn Csepelyi, said the following:
‘From the 50s, we were taught that aristocracy is something we should forget, that good Hungarians work hard all through their lives to build our great socialist country.
After the change of regime, most Hungarian people just didn’t have any connection with an aristocracy. As we have to work hard to earn a living, we are longing to have such English traditions as having five o’clock tea from beautiful china in beautiful houses. But since we just don’t have the chance, we can relate to the humour of Mabel [the elderly charlady, played by Barbara New] and Mr Stokes [Paul Shane’s crooked butler). So we really like both sides but for different reasons I guess.’
As most fans do when they meet their idols and favourites, the Hungarian lovers of the British TV-show prepared personal gifts with deep symbolic meaning for the cast. For example, Poppy, who is usually remembered for an instrumental duet full of romantic and sexual references with another character, James, was given a pink plastic ukulele. Cissy was presented with a red-star brooch, as to commemorate her progressive views.
For those who have not heard about ‘You Rang, M’Lord?’, the series is a spoof of another British TV-show focusing on the everyday life of aristocratic ladies and lords, ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’. The comedy show was directed and written by David Croft and Jimmy Perry. The series ran from 1990 to 1993, though it never reached as high levels of popularity and success as the duo’s other works. Except in Hungary.
featured image: https://www.facebook.com/You-Rang-MLord-38683895660/