Masterpiece Theatre


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tabs

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

Rebecca Eaton

View Interview
Rebecca Eaton on how she came to work for Masterpiece Theatre
Rebecca Eaton on the relationship between PBS, British broadcasters, and sponsors on Masterpiece Theatre
Rebecca Eaton on how she approached finding British shows to air on Masterpiece Theatre when she first began working there, and more recently on Masterpiece
Rebecca Eaton on how she has tried to push the boundaries at Masterpiece Theatre, particularly when it came to Mobil, which was the sponsor when she started working at PBS in the early 1970s
Rebecca Eaton on Masterpiece Mystery airing Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren
Rebecca Eaton on how production decisions are divided between PBS and their British partners on Masterpiece, and on the production process
Rebecca Eaton on the publicity that is done for Masterpiece, and working with the actors, who are often movie stars
Rebecca Eaton on her role as executive producer of Masterpiece, in particular negotiating rights for the shows they acquire
Rebecca Eaton on dealing with competition for acquiring British shows for Masterpiece, which has increased over time with outlets like HBO and Netflix
Rebecca Eaton on how the funding for Masterpiece has changed over time
Rebecca Eaton on the difference between the funding Masterpiece received from its original sponsor, Mobil, and its then-current underwriter, Viking Cruises
Rebecca Eaton on working with Alistair Cooke when he was host of Masterpiece Theatre
Rebecca Eaton on Russell Baker replacing Alistair Cooke as host of Masterpiece Theatre, and on how Cooke came to be the host of the series
Rebecca Eaton on working with Russell Baker when he was host of Masterpiece Theatre
Rebecca Eaton on the Masterpiece Theatre program "Portrait of a Marriage"
Rebecca Eaton on the Masterpiece Theatre program "David Copperfield", which was the onscreen debut of Daniel Radcliffe
Rebecca Eaton Masterpiece Theatre's "The American Collection"
Rebecca Eaton on 2008's "The Complete Jane Austen", which was part of Masterpiece Theatre's rebrand to Masterpiece Classic
Rebecca Eaton on Masterpiece Theatre's 1980s iteration of "Sherlock Holmes"
Rebecca Eaton on Sherlock on Masterpiece Mystery, created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and starring Benedict Cumberbatch
Rebecca Eaton on issues of piracy and leaks in the delay between shows airing in Britain and airing in the United States on Masterpiece
Rebecca Eaton on Masterpiece Mystery's Sherlock winning Emmy Awards
Rebecca Eaton on how WGBH and their British co-producers work together in the process of Emmy nominations
Rebecca Eaton on "Wallander" on Masterpiece Mystery, and on the appeal of Masterpiece shows
Rebecca Eaton on how Downton Abbey came to be and how it came to Masterpiece
Rebecca Eaton on going to the set of Downton Abbey in its first season, and on how the series went from being under the radar to incredibly popular
Rebecca Eaton on the success and popularity of Downton Abbey
Rebecca Eaton on various characters' deaths on Downton Abbey
Rebecca Eaton on the social media response to Downton Abbey
Rebecca Eaton on the legacy of Downton Abbey
Rebecca Eaton on Masterpiece's longevity
Rebecca Eaton on the eventual legacy of Masterpiece
Rebecca Eaton on the longevity of Masterpiece being her proudest career achievement, and on having created the Masterpiece Trust to help fund Masterpiece
Rebecca Eaton on how Masterpiece is preparing for the future

Earl Hamner, Jr.

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

James L. Loper

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

Marian Rees

View Interview
Marian Rees on programming Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection 
Marian Rees on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection and public reaction to the series
Marian Rees on becoming involved with Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  and selling the show
Marian Rees on gaining full creative control over Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection
Marian Rees on Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "Cora Unashamed"
Marian Rees on Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "A Death in the Family" and "Almost a Woman"
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"

All Shows

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
J
L
M
P
R
S
T
W