Series / Masterpiece
aka: Masterpiece Theatre

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Masterpiece is a Long Running primetime dramatic anthology series on PBS that acts as a showcase for British TV shows (usually from The BBC, though Channel Four and ITV material are occasionally featured).

The series premiered in 1971 as Masterpiece Theatre, with a focus on Costume Drama and literary adaptations. Its well-known classical title theme was Jean-Joseph Mouret's Rondeau from Suite de Symphonies. It was hosted by Alistair Cooke until his retirement in 1992, and then by Russell Baker until 2004.

In 1980 it gained a sister series, Mystery!, which showcased British detective and mystery series. Mystery! had a specially-created title sequence inspired by the artwork of Edward Gorey. It was hosted by Gene Shalit for its first year, succeeded by Vincent Price (1981-1989) and Diana Rigg (1989-2003). Neither Masterpiece Theatre nor Mystery! had an on-screen host between 2004 and 2008.

In 2008, the two programs were combined into a single Masterpiece series, featuring three strands in rotation: Masterpiece Classic, hosted by Gillian Anderson (2008) and then Laura Linney (2009); Masterpiece Mystery, hosted by Alan Cumming; and Masterpiece Contemporary, hosted by Matthew Goode (2008) and then David Tennant (2009) before the "Contemporary" label was quietly dropped.

Adaptations for TV by the BBC of Shakespeare and other classic works are very often syndicated to appear on Masterpiece in the US, through WGBH Boston, often in multiple parts.

Not to be confused with World Masterpiece Theater, another long runner anime children's classics series in Japan.

See also Merchant-Ivory Productions, Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Notable entries in the series include:


Alternative Title(s): Masterpiece Theater, Masterpiece Theatre, Mystery

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