Follow TV Tropes


Series / The House of Eliott

Go To
A period drama about two women running their own fashion house in 1920s England, created by the Upstairs Downstairs team of Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins that ran for three seasons from 1991-1994.

The middle-class Eliott sisters, 30 year old Beatrice (Stella Gonet) and 18 year old Evangeline (Louise Lombard) have been kept virtual prisoners by their father all their lives until he dies and leaves them penniless, but a chance encounter leads to new friends and a proper job for Beatrice. Before long, the sisters find work in the fashion industry and with a little financial help from their friends, decide to use their talent for dressmaking to start their own business.

The first season covered 1920-1923, the second covered 1924-1926 and the third covered 1927-1930, the fourth was supposed to follow the sisters into the next decade but the show was sadly cancelled.

Tropes Used:

  • Abusive Parents: The father, if he wasn't yelling at his daughters he was ignoring them and leaving them to fend for themselves, including abandoning Evie to the care of twelve year old Beatrice. He wouldn't even buy them clothes, just the fabric to make their own.
  • Anachronism Stew: The 1921 new year's costume party, featuring a Bela Lugosi Dracula and an Errol Flynn Robin Hood, 1931 and 1938 respectively.
    • Actually, these could be references to the Dracula play (which formed the Tuxedo and Cape look) and Douglas Fairbanks’ Robin Hood, 1924 and 1922 respectively.
  • Book Ends: Season 2 opened with Bea and Evie on a ferry to France and ended with them on an ocean liner to New York.
  • Costume Porn: The House of Eliott fashion shows in particular but also in general, goes with the territory in a 1920s-set drama about a fashion house. Covering the entire decade even allowed them to document changing fashions.
  • Dashed Plotline: Kind of necessary to fit the entire 1920s into three series.
  • Death by Childbirth: The sister's mother, who didn't survive giving birth to Evie.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The class system and a certain amount of sexism, such as the banks not wanting to lend money to a female-owned business and getting away with it.
  • Depending on the Writer: Beatrice was usually supposed to be good with figures but one writer had the business get into financial straits without her realising it. Whether or not Tilly wanted to be a workroom manager seemed to vary with the writers too.
  • Family Business: Obviously.
  • Grande Dame: Aunt Lydia.
  • How We Got Here: Season 2 opened with Bea and Evie on a ferry, then the episode flashed back to the lead-up to a trip to Paris.
  • Important Haircut: Evie swaps her long hair for a modern fashionable bob as part of her character development in gaining confidence.
  • I Never Got Any Letters: Beatrice never got any from her first boyfriend Phillip because father was intercepting them until Phillip gave up on her and married someone else.
  • Promoted to Parent: Bea for Evie, their mother didn't survive her birth and their father wasn't interested in her, that left Bea - who was twelve.
  • Put on the Bus: Penny went to work with the poor in Africa and never came back, Aunt Lydia emigrated to America.
  • The Roaring '20s: All of them.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: When the sisters met father's mistress and her son Sebastian, he and Evie took an interest in each other but had to worry about the possibility they were half siblings. Sebastian's mother eventually confirmed his father was someone else altogether, leaving him and Evie free to pursue a romantic relationship but before they could really get anywhere he crashed his plane and died.
  • The Voice: Father, he's heard yelling at Evie from behind a closed door in the first episode then collapses and dies offscreen.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Bea with Jack, Evie with several men.