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Encyclopedia > Masterpiece Theatre

Masterpiece Theatre is a long-running anthology television series produced by WGBH which premiered on PBS on January 10, 1971. The show has presented to American audiences a large number of award-winning British productions, primarily BBC television dramas, but also programs shown on the commercial ITV network and Channel 4. front dust jacket of ISBN 0-394-51907-8 This image is a book cover. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into articles entitled WGBH-TV and WGBH (FM), accessible from a disambiguation page. ... The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is a non-profit public broadcasting television service with 354 member TV stations in the United States, with some member stations available by cable in Canada. ... January 10 is the 10th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday. ... Cathy Come Home, a 1966 entry into The Wednesday Play anthology series, voted the best drama and second highest programme overall in the British Film Institutes 2000 survey of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century. ... It has been suggested that Channel 3 (UK) be merged into this article or section. ... It has been suggested that Channel Four Television Corporation be merged into this article or section. ...

The show was hosted by Alistair Cooke until 1992; Russell Baker hosted from 1992 to 2004. Since 2004 it has been broadcast without a host. Alistair Cooke KBE (November 20, 1908 – March 30, 2004) was a legendary British-American journalist and broadcaster. ... Russell Wayne Baker (born August 14, 1925) is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer known for his satirical commentary and self-critical prose. ...



Masterpiece Theatre is best known for presenting adaptations of famous novels and biographies into episodic TV miniseries, but it also shows original television dramas. The first series to air was The First Churchills and Susan Hampshire received an Emmy (the first of many that various series and performers broadcast under this banner would garner) for her performance as Sarah Churchill. Other programs presented on the show include Elizabeth R; House of Cards; The Citadel; I, Claudius; Jeeves and Wooster; The Jewel in the Crown; The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Traffik; Upstairs, Downstairs; and many others, including adaptations of Anna Karenina; Cakes and Ale; Cold Comfort Farm; Jude the Obscure; Madame Bovary; Moll Flanders; and Northanger Abbey. A biological adaptation is an anatomical structure, physiological process or behavioral trait of an organism that has evolved over a period of time by the process of natural selection such that it increases the expected long-term reproductive success of the organism. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... This article is about biographies. ... A miniseries (sometimes mini-series), in a serial storytelling medium, is a production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. ... The First Churchills was a BBC miniseries from 1969 about the life of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and his wife, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. ... Susan Hampshire OBE (born on May 12, 1937 in London, England) is an English actress best known for her many film and television roles. ... An Emmy Award. ... Sarah Churchill, née Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough (May 29, 1660 - October 18, 1744), rose to be one of the most influential women in British history, largely as a result of her close friendship with Queen Anne. ... Background - Elizabeth R was a BBC TV drama serial broadcast in six parts on terrestrial channel BBC Two during February to March 1971. ... House of Cards was a political thriller novel written by Michael Dobbs, a former Chief of Staff at Conservative Party headquarters, which was set at the end of Margaret Thatchers tenure as British Prime Minister. ... The Citadel is a novel by A. J. Cronin, first published in 1937, turned into a 1938 film, with two 1960 US and another 1983 BBC television adaptations. ... I, Claudius, 1976 was a BBC Television adaptation of Robert Gravess I Claudius and Claudius the God. ... Hugh Laurie (left) and Stephen Fry portray Bertie Wooster and his valet, Jeeves Jeeves and Wooster was a television series adapted by Clive Exton from P.G. Wodehouses Jeeves stories, and produced by Granada Television for the UKs ITV network from 1990 to 1993. ... The Jewel in the Crown is a British television drama series produced by Granada Television for ITV and based on the Raj Quartet novels by Paul Scott. ... The Six Wives of Henry VIII was a series of six teleplays produced by the BBC and first transmitted between 1 January and 5 February 1970. ... Traffik is a 1989 television miniseries which tells the story of illegal drug trade. ... Upstairs, Downstairs was a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning British drama set in a large Edwardian townhouse in London that depicted the lives of the servants downstairs and their masters upstairs. It ran on ITV for five series from 1971 to 1975. ... Anna Karenina (Анна Каренина) is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy first published in periodical installments from 1875 to 1877. ... Cakes and Ale: or, the Skeleton in the Cupboard (1930) is a novel by British author William Somerset Maugham. ... Cold Comfort Farm is a comic novel by Stella Gibbons, published in 1932. ... Jude the Obscure is the last of Thomas Hardys novels, begun as a magazine serial and first published in book form in 1895. ... For the film, see Madame Bovary (1949 film) Madame Bovary is a novel by Gustave Flaubert that was attacked for obscenity by public prosecutors when it was first serialised in La Revue de Paris between 1 October 1856 and 15 December 1856, resulting in a trial in January 1857 that... The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders is a 1722 novel by Daniel Defoe. ... For films named Northanger Abbey, see Northanger Abbey (1986 film). ...

The theme music to the show, played during the opening credits is the Rondeau from "Symphonies and Fanfares for the King's Supper" by French composer Jean-Joseph Mouret. Jean-Joseph Mouret (April 16, 1682, Avignon - December 22, 1738, Charenton) was a French composer whose dramatic works made him one of the leading exponents of Baroque music in his country. ...

In 1979, Masterpiece Theatre gained a sister series, Mystery!, an umbrella series for (again) mostly British detective and crime series; much later it gained a short lived sister series, Masterpiece Theatre: the American Collection, a series of programs based on American literary works, such as Our Town. Mystery! (also written MYSTERY!) is a long-running television series in the USA, which airs on PBS and is produced by WGBH. The show has brought a large number of detective series and television movies - most of them British productions from the BBC or various ITV companies - to air on... Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes Detective fiction is a branch of crime fiction that centers upon the investigation of a crime, usually murder, by a detective, either professional or amateur. ... Sherlock Holmes, pipe-puffing hero of crime fiction, confers with his colleague Dr. Watson; together these characters popularized the genre. ... Masterpiece Theatre had a sister series, the American Collection, which ran from 2000 to 2003, for the former series 30th anniversary. ... Our Town by Thornton Wilder Our Town is a three act play by Thornton Wilder that is, perhaps, the most frequently produced play by an American playwright. ...

Changes for 2004

The show was financed by Mobil and then Exxon Mobil until 2004, and was for many years known as Mobil Masterpiece Theatre or ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre. After their sponsorship ended, the show underwent a major restructuring: Exxon Mobil Corporation or ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), headquartered in Irving, Texas, is an oil producer and distributor formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. ...

  • The host was dropped;
  • Mystery! and Masterpiece Theatre began sharing the Sunday time slot with Masterpiece Theatre airing in the fall and winter and Mystery! in the spring and summer.
  • American-made productions were occasionally included.

The Best of Masterpiece Theatre

In March 2007, PBS aired “The Best of Masterpiece Theatre” hosted by Derek Jacobi. Based on 20,000 votes solicited on the Masterpiece Theatre web site and PBS affiliate web sites, the top 12 series were: Sir Derek George Jacobi, CBE (IPA: ) (born 22 October 1938) is an English actor and director, knighted in 1994 for his services to the theatre. ...

  • Upstairs, Downstairs
  • The Forsyte Saga
  • I, Claudius
  • Bleak House (2005 adaptation)
  • Prime Suspect
  • The Jewel in the Crown
  • Poldark
  • House of Cards
  • Reckless
  • The Fortunes & Misfortunes of Moll Flanders
  • Wives & Daughters
  • Jeeves & Wooster


Cookie Monster, in his Alistair Cookie guise in Monsterpiece Theater.
Cookie Monster, in his Alistair Cookie guise in Monsterpiece Theater.
  • A series of movie, theatre, and television show parodies were shown on Sesame Street as Monsterpiece Theatre, hosted by Cookie Monster in the guise of "Alistair Cookie".
  • On Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd, playing the high-bred but low-brow Leonard Pinth-Garnell, hosted "Bad Theatre," in which horrible, pseudo-intellectual skits were presented.
  • Pirate TV did a parody called "Rastapiece Theater".
  • MADtv did a parody called "Master P's Theater".
  • Disney Channel had a show titled "Mouseterpiece Theatre" hosted by George Plimpton featuring classic Disney cartoons.
  • On In Living Color during Season 5 a sketch called "Parody of Masterpiece Theatre" aired in which Jamie Foxx and David Alan Grier recited the lyrics of popular gangster rap songs of the early 1990's by artist such as Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Cast member Marc Wilmore was the host imitating James Earl Jones
  • Yakko Warner played a Cooke-esque host in "Disasterpiece Theater", a cold opening leading into an Animaniacs episode, in which a wrecking ball obliterates a library set.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Storyteller" opened with the character of Andrew Wells introducing the episode in the style of Masterpiece Theatre.
  • In the film Heartburn (1986), Rachel (played by Meryl Streep), at two points in the story, is watching a Masterpiece Theatre style program, wherein she imagines that the Alistair Cooke-esque host (played by John Wood) is narrating the story of her own life.
  • Tracey Ullman's early television special "Tracey Ullman: A Class Act" (1992) starts out with the famous opening fanfare from the series and a set made up to look like Masterpiece Theatre's with Tracey Ullman "standing in for Alistair Cooke."
  • The popular sitcom My Name Is Earl had an alternative reality themed episode called "Bad Karma" in which Jason Lee (Earl) introduces the episode in a set made to look like that of Masterpiece Theatre. While there Lee shows the viewers that he really is on a set and not in a real room.

Monsterpiece Theatre on Sesame Street, screenshot, deemed fair use This work is copyrighted. ... Monsterpiece Theatre on Sesame Street, screenshot, deemed fair use This work is copyrighted. ... Sesame Street is an American educational childrens television series for preschoolers and is a pioneer of the contemporary educational television standard, combining both education and entertainment. ... Alistair Cookie presents Monsterpiece Theater is a recurring segment on the American version of the internationally acclaimed childrens educational program Sesame Street. ... Cookie Monster (right) and his mother in a season 33 Letter of the Day segment, 2002. ... Saturday Night Live (SNL) is a weekly late night 90-minute American comedy-variety show based in New York City which has been broadcast live by NBC on Saturday nights since October 11, 1975. ... Daniel Edward Aykroyd CM (born July 1, 1952 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) is an Academy Award-nominated Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, and musician. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... Pirate TV was a show on MTV that premiered January 26, 1990. ... MADtv is an American sketch comedy television series based on the humor magazine, Mad. ... (born April 29, 1967 in New Orleans, Louisiana), better known as Master P, is an entrepreneur, businessman, marketing expert, and rap artist. ... For the Disney Channel in other countries, see Disney Channel around the world. ... George Ames Plimpton (March 18, 1927 – September 25, 2003) was an American journalist, writer, editor, and actor. ... In Living Color was an American sketch comedy television series which ran on the FOX Network from April 15, 1990 to August 23, 1994. ... Jamie Foxx (born Eric Marlon Bishop on December 13, 1967) is an Academy Award-winning American actor, Grammy-nominated R&B singer, pianist, and comedian. ... David Alan Grier (born at 11:55 PM on June 30, 1955 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American comedian most famous for starring in television shows such as the Emmy Award winning In Living Color (1990–1994), Premium Blend (2001), Life with Bonnie (2002-2004) and DAG (2000–2001). ... André Romell Young (born February 18, 1965 in Los Angeles, California), better known by stage name Dr. Dre, is an influential Grammy Award-winning American record producer, hip hop producer, rapper, actor and record executive. ... Ice Cube (born OShea Jackson on June 15, 1969) is an American rapper, actor and film director. ... James Earl Jones (b. ... Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, also known as The Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister), are three fictional cartoon characters featured on the animated series Animaniacs. ... A cold open in a television program or movie is the technique of jumping directly into a story at the beginning or opening of the show, before the title sequence or opening credits are shown. ... Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, usually referred to as the shorter title Animaniacs, is an American animated television series, distributed by Warner Bros. ... A wrecking ball is a heavy steel ball, usually hung from a crane, that is used for demolishing large buildings. ... Julio Pérez Ferrero Library - Cúcuta, Colombia A modern-style library in Chambéry A library is a collection of information resources and services, organized for use, and maintained by a public body, institution, or private individual. ... Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American cult television series that aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. ... Storyteller is the sixteenth episode of season 7 of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. ... Andrew Wells is a fictional character in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, played by Tom Lenk. ... Meryl Streep (born June 22, 1949) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress who has worked in theatre, television, and film. ... John Wood (born 1930) is an English actor. ... Tracey Ullman Tracey Ullman (born 30th December 1959) is a British comedienne, actress, singer, dancer, screenwriter, and author, who is most famous for being the host of her eponymous variety television show. ... My Name Is Earl is an Emmy Award-winning American sitcom created by Greg Garcia. ... Jason Lee may refer to: Jason Lee (missionary) (1803–1845), American missionary and pioneer in the Oregon Territory Jason Scott Lee (born 1966), Asian-American film actor Jason Lee (actor) (born 1970), American actor in TV series My Name is Earl, Church of Scientology member, and former professional skateboarder Jason...


  • Masterpiece Theatre: A Celebration of 25 Years of Outstanding Television by Terrence O'Flaherty (1996), ISBN 0-912333-74-X
  • Masterpiece Theatre and the Politics of Quality by Laurence Jarvik (1999) ISBN 0-8108-3204-6

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Masterpiece Theatre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (591 words)
Masterpiece Theatre is a long-running television series produced by WGBH which premiered on PBS on January 10, 1971.
Masterpiece Theatre is best known for presenting adaptations of famous novels and biographies into episodic TV miniseries, but it also shows original television dramas.
A series of movie, theatre, and television show parodies were shown on Sesame Street as Monsterpiece Theatre, hosted by Cookie Monster in the guise of "Alistair Cookie".
  More results at FactBites »



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