LOS ANGELES (AP) — As PBS’ “Masterpiece” marks its 50th anniversary Sunday, the drama and mystery showcase could rest on its reputation built with acclaimed programs including “I, Claudius” and “Elizabeth R” and polished anew by surprising pop-culture hits “Sherlock” and “Downton Abbey.”. While PBS may be viewed primarily as a traditional broadcaster, its programs (and educational initiatives) are available online. While PBS may be viewed primarily as a traditional broadcaster, its programs (and educational initiatives) are available online. "Masterpiece" streams on PBS.org and the PBS Video app to an audience that skews younger than its broadcast viewership, with nearly 40 percent under the age of 55, according to PBS. "Masterpiece" streams on PBS.org and the PBS Video app to an audience that skews younger than its broadcast viewership, with nearly 40 per cent under the age of 55, according to PBS. But “Masterpiece” executive producer Susanne Simpson says it’s positioned to thrive as it addresses the challenges posed by a changing media industry and increased calls for diversity. It’s hard to imagine “Bridgerton,” or “The Crown,” two current period hits on Netflix, without “Masterpiece” as a precedent, just as it’s hard to name many news magazines that weren’t somehow shaped by “60 Minutes.”. You've just tried to add this show to My List. On Jan. 10, 1971, the anthology series premiered with “The First Churchills,” a 12-episode drama about Winston Churchill’s 17th-century ancestors. While celebrating five decades of award-winning television, Masterpiece unveils its slate of the next unforgettable dramas … 784.3k Followers, 299 Following, 4,075 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from PBS (@pbs) David Oyelowo, the English-born Black actor who starred as the obsessed police inspector Javert, felt comfortable taking the role after he looked into 19th-century French history and found that there were Black police officers, Simpson recounted. While PBS may be viewed primarily as a traditional broadcaster, its programs (and educational initiatives) are available online. PBS has had a long-standing relationship with Amazon for distribution of Masterpiece titles, The Collection is the first Masterpiece co-production with Amazon Studios and Lookout Point. “I’m so proud of ‘The Long Song’ and being in a cast of people like that, of amazing older Black actors that I grew up watching,” Lawrance said. She joined the series nearly 14 years ago and became its executive producer in 2019, only the fourth since “Masterpiece” debuted Jan. 10, 1971, with the miniseries “The First Churchills.”, “We are investing earlier and we’re co-producing earlier on projects, so we’re in a position to be able to put development money into scripts,” Simpson said. “Masterpiece” is doing its own work, Simpson said. website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area. “I have probably 15 projects sitting in my inbox, and I’m going to have to make a decision quickly on one of those because there is so much competition for those projects.”. The goal going forward: to regularly curate and import good British series, many of them starring some of the best up-and-coming British actors — in recent years, for example, Damian Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Carey Mulligan, Tom Hardy, and Keira Knightley — as well as the stalwarts. 156.8k Followers, 269 Following, 2,324 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from MASTERPIECE | PBS (@masterpiecepbs) While PBS may be viewed primarily as a traditional broadcaster, its programs (and educational initiatives) are available online. That includes taking an active role in fostering diversity in projects as they’re being developed, she said, and discovering authentic ways to reflect inclusivity in period dramas, among them 2019’s “Les Miserables” miniseries. December 29, 2020 Alyssa Beno Leave a Comment. The revival of “All Creatures Great and Small” on “Masterpiece” (8 p.m., PBS) has been generally well received and Curating and importing — they’re now de rigueur on TV. Worse yet, they thought it sounded too high-brow for Americans. While that hasn’t changed, there are ways that you can watch their best series on demand, even without cable. That would seem daunting when it comes to ethnic diversity, given that the series’ period dramas traditionally skew white, but she said it can and is being done. “What I learned from him is that it’s really our obligation as the writers and the producers to look more deeply at history in terms of what people of color were authentically, and to take more effort to find those stories,” she said. “I’ve had some terrific, serious conversations in which it’s clear to me that our U.K. producers are as committed as we are” to adding diversity across the board, including in writing, directing and acting, Simpson said. Tamara Lawrance, who stars as the main character, said every generation believes “things are changing, things are different,” but sees a welcome energy in the British creative community that is building on the past. It’s quietly in league with the other influential institutions of the medium — “60 Minutes” (53 years), “Monday Night Football” (50), “Saturday Night Live” (46) — as the first of its kind, a pioneer of sorts, and an endurance runner. For every unexpected treat (“Any Human Heart” in 2011), there is, say, an unnecessary remake of a Jane Austen or Charles Dickens novel or a thriller such as “Flesh and Blood,” which ended on a cliffhanger with no sign of a second season in sight. Already familiar with the late Levy’s work because “Masterpiece” had aired an adaptation of her “Small Island” novel in 2010, Simpson said she found “The Long Song” to be “powerful and moving.”. Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber@ap.org and is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber. “Masterpiece” had aired “Elizabeth R,” the 1972 miniseries with Glenda Jackson as the monarch, a perceived stake that HBO blithely ignored. Inspector Lewis is the former working-class foil to the erudite Detective Inspector Morse. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed. Masterpiece at shop.pbs.org. Yes, PBS has given us many treasures … The showcase also is responding to the growing call for inclusivity in Hollywood screen projects, Simpson said. View the broadcast schedule, watch full episodes, clips and more from the acclaimed drama series. LOS ANGELES (AP) — As PBS’ “Masterpiece” marks its 50th anniversary Sunday, the drama and mystery showcase could rest on…. “The Long Song,” a three-part drama debuting Jan. 31 on “Masterpiece,” exemplifies what is hiding in plain sight. Going, Going Gone! Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you. Based on Andrea Levy’s historical novel of the same name, a finalist for the prestigious Booker literary prize, it tells of a young Black woman’s life in the final years of slavery in Jamaica and its aftermath. But she said it makes the most of its relationships with producers such as Colin Callender, whose “All Creatures Great and Small” reboot kicks off the new “Masterpiece” season Sunday. But it must fight behemoths such as Netflix and Amazon, these days, to acquire the best. Copyright © 2021 by WTOP. As unlikely as it seems in the age of Netflix’s celebrated “The Crown” and its new multiethnic sensation “Bridgerton,” U.S. networks used to avoid British drama “because the general feeling was nobody could understand the accent,” Eaton recalled. One of the most popular drama series in TV history -- Bringing you the best in classic adaptations, mysteries filled with eclectic characters, and provocative contemporary works. WTOP.com | Alexa | Google Home | WTOP App | 103.5 FM, ESPN doubles down by expanding MegaCasts to NFL playoffs, ‘The Office’ unveils never-seen footage to celebrate move to Peacock, Dr. Fauci: ‘I vaccinated Santa Claus, he’s good to go’, Maryland state, county lawmakers target ghost guns, Presidential Inaugural Committee ‘very confident’ about security measures, Hogan makes education, pandemic relief a priority in next Md. Yes, only one. PBS’s “Masterpiece” will be 50 years old Sunday, and that’s a most excellent thing. Watch Masterpiece videos on demand. When most of us think of PBS series, our minds go to what is actually under the Masterpiece banner. It’s strange to think of “Masterpiece” as cutting edge, isn’t it? All rights reserved. ". AD The same can be said for Cumberbatch’s hugely popular “Sherlock” series that premiered in 2010. Starting today, instead of housing all of Masterpiece's titles under the "Masterpiece" banner, we're giving each show its own digital home. “Masterpiece” can’t compete with Netflix- or HBO-sized budgets, Simpson said, relying on corporate sponsors Viking and Raymond James and big and small viewer donations (specific figures were not provided). The Unseen Alistair Cooke presents a revealing portrait of the longtime Masterpiece Theatre host, one of the most celebrated broadcasters of the 20th century. Alas, the shoulders of giants do sometimes get trampled upon. On air and online, MASTERPIECE delivers a signature brand of sophisticated drama that delights and captivates large and loyal audiences. All rights reserved. Whether you made your way here to watch your regular programming, or you're looking for something new, we've got you covered. Even before the pandemic left TV outlets desperately seeking already-made product from other countries, streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix had been feverishly bringing British and foreign-language series to America in the manner of “Masterpiece.” They’ve found particular success with the kinds of British mysteries, including “Broadchurch,” “The Fall,” and “Happy Valley,” that have been airing for decades on “Mystery!,” PBS’s 1980 “Masterpiece” spinoff (which was folded into “Masterpiece” in 2008). This budget, Army is working on Frankenbots with living tissue to better robot capabilities, Census Bureau director to resign amid criticism over data, Biden proposes $9B for Tech Modernization Fund, New House bill would block Schedule F, and anything else like it. With more streaming services and other outlets gobbling up programs, including the British-made dramas that are a “Masterpiece” staple, the public TV program is becoming more aggressive in the marketplace, Simpson said. When “Masterpiece” was under executive producer Rebecca Eaton in the mid-1980s, she “used to be able to sit back” and mull her choice of U.K.-produced shows, Simpson said. It’s seen as bait for Anglophiles. Celebrate With These New Programs Airing in January. PBS' 'Masterpiece' revels in the old and the new TV Roundup: PBS' 'Masterpiece,' ‘Dickinson,' 'American Gods,' 'Circus' By Gary Graff ggraff@medianewsgroup.com; @GraffonMusic on Twitter Our viewers expect us to keep finding the best” in TV, Simpson said, even as competition from commercial platforms increases. Stream full episodes online. Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. The show has been on the receiving end of countless parodies over the years, from “Sesame Street” (see: “Monsterpiece Theatre”) to “Saturday Night Live” and “In Living Color.” Parodies of “Downton Abbey” — the “Sesame Street” one is called “Upside Downton Abbey” — practically form a genre of their own. And yet, “Downton Abbey.” The Julian Fellowes series, which premiered here in 2011, became the highest-rated “Masterpiece,” and the most-nominated non-US series in Emmy history. “Masterpiece” streams on PBS.org and the PBS Video app to an audience that skews younger than its broadcast viewership, with nearly 40 percent under the age of 55, according to PBS. “The thrust of diversity meant several things,” Callender said, including making the female characters fully dimensional, casting actors with physical challenges and creating a character inspired by the family history of Black actor Clea Sylvestre, who plays the role. Fellowes’s follow-ups to “Downton,” for example, have not ended up on “Masterpiece.” “Belgravia” is on Epix, “The English Game” is on Netflix, “Doctor Thorne” is on Amazon, and the forthcoming “Gilded Age” will be on HBO. But first, we need you to sign in to PBS using one of the services below. Pandemic uncertainty brought it to “Masterpiece,” when taping on some of its U.K. shows paused last March and Simpson sought available programs as a safeguard. Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by Viking and Raymond James with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust, created to help ensure the series’ future. But in 1985, there was suddenly “somebody else in the game” besides PBS and the A&E channel, said Eaton, now executive producer at large for “Masterpiece.”. One of the most popular drama series in TV history -- Bringing you the best in classic adaptations, mysteries filled with eclectic characters, and provocative contemporary works. The official site for MASTERPIECE on PBS. Phrases such as “the ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ set” are often used as shorthand for older, stodgier TV viewers, the ones who aren’t of great value to advertisers, even if they’re willing to donate to PBS. “HBO pounced on doing ‘Elizabeth I’ with Helen Mirren, which was a very rude shock because we considered rather comfortably that we owned Elizabeth I,” she said. Damian Lewis as King Henry VIII in the "Masterpiece" series "Wolf Hall. Naturally, massive hits don’t come the way of “Masterpiece” often, but they do arrive; in between, there are shows — both adaptations and, like “Downton,” originals — that range from masterful (“Bleak House”) and transporting (“Victoria”) to riveting (the recent “Elizabeth Is Missing” starring Glenda Jackson) and sunnily escapist (“The Durrells in Corfu” and the new “All Creatures Great and Small” premiering Sunday). The show was dubbed “Masterpiece Theatre,” the British spelling of “theater” a critical flourish symbolizing the show’s roots; it was rebranded down to simply “Masterpiece” in 2008 when the British became implicit. PBS Hawai‘i is a top-rated 4 out of 4 star non-profit. If “Masterpiece” had seemed to some like an antique, the “Downton” phenomenon quickly shut them down. PBS’s “Masterpiece” will be 50 years old Sunday, and that’s a most excellent thing. Series that seem as though they absolutely belong on “Masterpiece” — I’m thinking of “War & Peace” in 2016, which was on A&E, Lifetime, and History, or “Parade’s End” of 2013 and “Gentleman Jack” of 2019, both of which were on HBO. Together with his cool, cerebral partner Hathaway, Lewis tackles murder and mayhem in the seemingly-perfect academic haven of Oxford. Use one of the services below to sign in to PBS: You've just tried to add this video to My List. Last year, we discussed why you can’t watch PBS live offerings on streaming services. Still, the overall average is good enough to keep me watching and hoping. That requires the cooperation of British TV producers, whose industry has faced its own sharp criticism for long minimizing people of color as actors and creators. Watch Masterpiece videos on demand. “Masterpiece" streams on PBS.org and the PBS Video app to an audience that skews younger than its broadcast viewership, with nearly 40 per cent under the age of 55, according to PBS. Like most anthology series, the “Masterpiece” output is uneven. “Masterpiece” streams on PBS.org and the PBS Video app to an audience that skews younger than its broadcast viewership, with nearly 40 percent under the age of 55, according to PBS. This month marks the 50th anniversary of Masterpiece, the iconic PBS drama series that sparked America’s infatuation with British television.. 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