Can Alex Kingston’s lesbian archaeologist on “Upstairs Downstairs” ease the pain of losing River Song on “Doctor Who”?

 
 

This weekend promises bittersweet tears for Doctor Who fans as the fall finale features Weeping Angels saying hello to Manhattan and the Ponds saying goodbye to the Doctor. Amy, Rory, and their — spoilers! — daughter River Song will have one last hurrah in the Big Apple, and if the thought of Alex Kingston‘s departure makes you want to blink and let the angels get you, I implore you to stand strong. Next weekend, PBS will finally air the second season of Upstairs Downstairs, in which Kingston plays a lesbian archaeologist called Dr. Blanche Mottershead.

Blanche is introduced to the show as a spinster. Spinster, spinster, spinster. They say it a billion times. She’s married to her career, and after driving an ambulance in Belgium during the Great War, she took part in some of the most famous excavations in history. But Blanche is only a spinster because gay marriage isn’t legal. because Blanche is in love with Lady Portia Alresford, who just happens to write a thinly veiled memoir about their lesbian exploits together. The repercussions, they are sexy as hell.

Kingston chatted to The Daily Beast earlier this week about her role. If the sound of River Song crooning “spoilers” makes you swoon, wait’ll you get a load of Kingston dropping the word “patriarchy” in everyday conversation.

On why she took on the role of Dr. Blanche Mottershead:

[Her sexuality] more than anything hooked me because I thought it would be quite interesting to play. In a curious way, it was almost easier for women to be physical with other women then, because men and society didn’t take it seriously … It was thought of as a little dalliance that didn’t mean anything. It wasn’t exactly a threat to the patriarchy and to the world that men had created … or as much as a societal threat that it became later, actually.

On what make Blanche different than the other women of her day:

The Second World War radically changed how society live, what family meant, and what women’s roles were. Blanche is right on the cusp of all of that. She had created a career for herself, as an archaeologist sought out by the British Museum for her expertise … in comparison to Lady Agnes [Keeley Hawes], who really didn’t know who she was or what her function was, other than looking rather beautiful in the house and producing babies for her husband. Blanche is not prepared to be that woman.

Instead, Blanche is prepared to be this woman:

And this woman:

Will you clutch these pictures close to your heart when you’re sobbing your eyes out over “The Angels Take Manhattan”?

 
 

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