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July 22, 2014

PbsMasterpiece

PBS Confirms Season Premiere Dates for 'Downton Abbey' and 'Sherlock'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 17th 2011 8:50AM
Restive 'Downton Abbey' fans need fret no more: PBS has confirmed that Season 2 will (finally!) premiere in the US on Sunday January 8, 2012. The AP reports Paula Kerger, PBS president, as saying that the abrupt ending to Season 1 and the paucity of episodes -- there were only four -- led to angry phone calls from fans, many of whom worried that PBS might not even air a second season.

PBS also has good news for 'Sherlock' fans. The 21st-century twist on Conan-Doyle's deerstalker-wearing detective will start its second season on PBS on Sunday May 6, 2012. Alas, it's only three episodes long, but fans can be assured that it should be a case of quality triumphing over quantity.

Other gems from the PBS spring lineup include a two-part examination of Bill Clinton's presidency, a look at some celebrity family trees by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and a series on American infrastructure, 'America Revealed,' hosted by winner of 'Survivor: Cook Islands,' Yul Kwon. More on these after the jump.

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'Downton Abbey' Criticized for Using Historically Incorrect Language

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 21st 2011 8:50AM
Who knew that PBS period drama 'Downton Abbey' could be so controversial? Viewers in the U.K. are halfway through Season 2 right now and there has been criticism that the storylines are moving along too fast. Now some viewers have complained that the use of anachronistic language is marring their enjoyment of the series.

Hot on the heels of a recent debate over a character saying "as if" (the horror), John Simpson, of the 'Oxford English Dictionary,' told 'The MailOnline' that some other expressions used, such as "get knotted," "logic pills" and "shafted" were not in use until much later than 'Downton Abbey's World War I time-frame.

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Check Out 'The Walking Dead' Star Andrew Lincoln in His First Big TV Role

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 14th 2011 8:00AM
Andrew LincolnBefore Andrew Lincoln hit the big time in the U.S. starring in 'The Walking Dead' as zombie apocalypse survivor and committed family guy Rick Grimes, he was famous to a generation of British fans who knew him simply as "Egg."

Lincoln played the sensitive and conflicted Edgar Cooke, a.k.a. Egg, in the critically acclaimed mid-'90s BBC drama, 'This Life.' Set in South London, the series followed the trials and tribulations of a houseful of 20-something college graduates as they embarked on their fledgling legal careers.

'This Life' became notorious for its portrayal of hard-working, hard-partying young professionals and its liberal heapings of sex, drugs and booze, all played out against a Portishead soundtrack.

After the jump, check out Lincoln in 'This Life.' (And yes, there is some Portishead.)

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Jason Isaacs Talks About His Star Turn in the Engaging Detective Drama 'Case Histories'

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 13th 2011 1:00PM
You could watch the excellent 'Case Histories' (Sunday, PBS Masterpiece, check local listings) just to see Jason Isaacs play an Edinburgh detective very well, but this mystery import offers a host of other pleasures.

The thing is, Masterpiece's 'Case Histories,' which adapts a trio of Kate Atkinson's popular Jackson Brodie novels over the course of three weeks, can't be neatly filed away in the "mystery" category. As is the case with Atkinson's bestselling novels, this thoughtful and well-paced program ranges from the subversive to the sad without losing focus on the emotions of the complex people at the center of the story. Its frequently light tone can turn on a dime to tragedy, and the fact that this version of 'Case Histories' pulls off those transitions so deftly is a minor miracle.

"There is a bit of magical misdirection going on," actor Jason Isaacs, star of Showtime's 'Brotherhood' and NBC's upcoming drama 'Awake,' says of 'Case Histories,' in which he plays the ex-cop Jackson Brodie. "It looks like a crime thriller and it's not that at all. It's a great, big, current anthropological satire. It's full of these rich, boldly etched characters that leap off the page and screen, and they are not from the rag-bag of clichés that a crime thriller is normally made of."

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'Upstairs Downstairs' Star Jean Marsh Suffers Stroke, Will Miss Filming

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 3rd 2011 8:00AM
Jean MarshMore drama offscreen at the rebooted PBS drama 'Upstairs Downstairs.' It's been announced that star and co-creator Jean Marsh will miss the first few episodes of Season 2 due to illness.

The BBC reports that Marsh has suffered a minor stroke and that scripts are being rewritten to accommodate her absence before filming starts next week.

Marsh, who plays maid Rose Buck, is the only cast member from the 1970s original series to appear in the rebooted version. She won Emmy nominations for her work in the role in 2011, 1974 and 1976, winning the award in 1975.

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Alex Kingston Joins 'Upstairs Downstairs'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 26th 2011 5:15AM
Alex KingstonThe runaway success of 'Downton Abbey' has led to big shakeups at rival PBS period drama, the rebooted 'Upstairs Downstairs.'

Following news that co-creator Eileen Atkins has quit the series, comes the announcement that 'ER' and 'Doctor Who' star Alex Kingston has signed on for a major role in the upcoming season.

The BBC announced that Kingston will play the younger sister of Atkins' character, Lady Holland, the racy-sounding archaeologist Blanche Mottershead.

"I simply couldn't resist the opportunity to get inside the iconic 165 Eaton Place," said Kingston, adding that Blanche is "a wonderfully, intriguing character ... who will over time reveal some secrets of her own."

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PBS Triumphs at the Emmys With 'Downton Abbey'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 19th 2011 7:00AM
'Gosford Park' Emmy winnersLast night PBS period drama 'Downton Abbey' bagged four Emmy Awards, making it one of the biggest winners of the night, and helping PBS land the coveted spot of top broadcast network at the awards.

Together with the Creative Arts Emmys, which were held last week, PBS scooped 14 Emmys in total, making it the most successful broadcast network. HBO was the top cable network, with 19.

'Downton Abbey' won the Emmy for Outstanding Made For Television Movie/Miniseries, in what creator Julian Fellowes called a David and Goliath story, "except in this case Goliath was wonderful, some wonderful shows that we were up against, and it seems perfectly extraordinary that we've won."

The Masterpiece drama was victorious in a strong field dominated by Emmy powerhouse HBO, which had three nominations -- 'Mildred Pierce,' 'Too Big to Fail' and 'Cinema Verité.'

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Confessions of a Masterpiece Theatre Addict

by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Jan 23rd 2010 12:00PM
Hi, my name is Sandie, and I'm a PBS MasterpieceTheatre addict -- especially when it comes to the Masterpiece Classic programs.

It's not really my fault. Blame my dearly departed aunt, a total Anglophile and 'Upstairs, Downstairs' devotee who couldn't wait to watch the original Alistair Cooke-hosted Masterpiece Theatre productions. When I was one year old, my aunt convinced my mother to watch the acclaimed 13-part miniseries 'I, Claudius,' starring Derek Jacobi, and then she was hooked too.

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