Masterpiece Theatre


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About

From Wikipedia:

Masterpiece (formerly known as Masterpiece Theatre) is a drama anthology television series produced by WGBH Boston. It premiered on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on January 10, 1971, making it America's longest-running weekly prime time drama series. The series has presented numerous acclaimed British productions. Many of these are produced by the BBC, but the line-up has also included programs shown on the commercial services ITV and Channel 4.

Masterpiece is best known for presenting adaptations of novels and biographies, but it also shows original television dramas. The first title to air was The First Churchills, starring Susan Hampshire as Sarah Churchill. Other programs presented on the series include The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Elizabeth R; I, Claudius; Upstairs, Downstairs; The Duchess of Duke Street; The Citadel; The Jewel in the Crown; Reckless, House of Cards; Traffik; and Jeeves and Wooster. More recent popular titles include Prime Suspect; The Forsyte Saga; Sherlock; and Downton Abbey.

The theme music played during the opening credits is the Fanfare-Rondeau from "Symphonies and Fanfares for the King's Supper" by French composer Jean-Joseph Mouret. The theme was performed by Collegium Musicum de Paris. Roland Douatte was the conductor. It was recorded in 1954 by Vogue Records in Paris, France, and was later remastered in stereo and re-released by Nonesuch records in the 1960s.

During the first seasons in the 1970s, the theme music accompanied varying closeup shots of a waving British flag, which panned out into a still image of a British flag on a staff serving as the P in "Masterpiece." In the late 1970s the opening video switched to views of antique books and other literary artifacts.

In 1980, Masterpiece gained a sister series, Mystery!, featuring a mix of contemporary and classic British detective and crime series, such as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, and Touching Evil. In 2000, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the show, it presented Masterpiece: The American Collection, nine works by American writers, including Thornton Wilder's Our Town, starring Paul Newman.

Highlights
Marian Rees on programming Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection 
06:03
Earl Hamner on producing an episode of Masterpiece Theater for PBS
03:35
James L. Loper on Masterpiece Theater and other PBS programming
02:51
Marian Rees on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection and public reaction to the series
10:43
Who talked about this show

Earl Hamner, Jr.

View Interview
Earl Hamner on producing an episode of Masterpiece Theater for PBS
03:35

James L. Loper

View Interview
James L. Loper on Masterpiece Theater and other PBS programming
02:51

Marian Rees

View Interview
Marian Rees on programming Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection 
06:03
Marian Rees on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection and public reaction to the series
10:43
Marian Rees on becoming involved with Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  and selling the show
09:26
Marian Rees on gaining full creative control over Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection
05:19
Marian Rees on Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "Cora Unashamed"
10:15
Marian Rees on Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "A Death in the Family" and "Almost a Woman"
02:51
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"
14:48

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