All right Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up

08 January 2011

A Masterpiece of an Escape-40 Years of Special Sundays

                                                                                                                                     Downton Abbey
Sundays in January...what do you do with them?? The festive season is over, there are bits and bobs of holiday littered throughout the is cold and snowy, The Pats are on bi-week and it seems like everything needs my attention...too bad!  Sundays in January mean the return of an old friend and this year is very exciting as that old friend is celebrating 40 years of  special Sundays.
 I grew up watching Masterpiece Theatre every Sunday night in the winter and spring... In many ways I actually credit my love of great books not to any specific literature professor but to Masterpiece Theatre!  Stories filled with unforgettable characters, handsome brooding men on horseback, women in elegant dress complete with hats and gloves...all with secrets!!  Proper tea, perfectly manicured gardens ...drama, humour, intrigue,English country houses, gorgeous landscapes...sublime soap opera dressed to the nines!

 It is fun to revisit the original Masterpiece Theatre episodes, classics such as Poldark, The Golden Bowl, The Six Wives of Henry the VIII, I Claudius, Pride and Prejudice, A Town Like Alice, Elizabeth R,The Jewel in the Crown... many appear grainy and a bit over staged in comparison to recent productions but beautifully scripted with memorable performances by extraordinary actors and all still a joy to watch.

The original and new Upstairs Downstairs

                                                                                                                                Downton Abbey
Upstairs Downstairs  of course remains the signature piece for Masterpiece Theatre, now known as Masterpiece Classic, and this season's schedule sparkles with not only the premier of the much anticipated Downton Abbey, from Gosford Park's Julian Fellowes with a grand cast including Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith, but also a return to 165 Eaton Place! featuring original series creators Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh. Phone on mute, laptop shut off...Sunday nights are Classic!

A Masterpiece of a Season :

Downton Abbey January 9, 16, 23 & 30  A delicious family drama chronicling the lives both upstairs and downstairs in the early 20th century  as The Crawley family fights to hold to their aristocratic way of life that has endured for generations in the face of change and upheaval.

The Unseen Alistair Cooke   February 6 -Reprise

Masterpiece Theatre's beloved host chronicled is years as a correspondent in America with an 8mm camera and this piece highlights the discovered footage as it celebrates Cooke's life and work.

Any Human Heart  February 13, 20 , 27

Based on William Boyd's novel three actors portray Logan Montstuart at three stages of his life -Sam Claflin, the delicious Matthew MacFadyen, and the brilliant Jim Broadbent portray the ups and downs of the character's life filled with romance and adventure as lover, a writer, art dealer and spy.

The 39 Steps March 27-Reprise

A wonderful stylish remake of the classic made famous by Alfred Hitchcock starring Rupert Penry- Jones , The 39 Steps is a fabulous romantic thriller filled with surprises.

Upstairs Downstairs  April 10, 17 24

A new family moves into 165 Eaton is 1936 and a whole new world for this famous abode--if those walls could talk! It has been 30 years since Rose closed that door and how wonderful that it has been reopened for new drama and romance...scripted by Cranford writer Heidi Thomas and featuring original series creators Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh.

-South Riding May 1, 8, 15

Andrew Davies has brought some of the most lush productions to Masterpiece including Bleak House and Little Dorritt.  This 3 part series is based on Winifred Holtby's  novel of a young headmistress at a girl's school set in Yorkshire in the 1930s.