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The Making Of Masterpiece

Downton Abbey airs on the venerable PBS show “Masterpiece”, which is produced right here in Boston. It is PBS’s highest rated drama of all time. But Masterpiece executive producer, Rebecca Eaton, tells us, when the Downton script first came her way, she initially decided against putting the show on PBS .

Downton Abbey has reinvigorated and transformed Masterpiece, a broadcasting cultural icon that’s been bringing British drama to American homes for more than 40 years.


Rebecca Eaton, author of the new book “Making Masterpiece: 25 years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS.”

Other stories from this show:

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  • Kathy

    Could your guest please explain why they continue to recut the series and why they are delayed by several months?

  • Kathy

    I’d just like to thank you for asking why Masterpiece has such a lack of diversity. The best best British shows I can think of in the last few years have been Call the Midwife, relating stories of National Health outreach into the slums of London, and Scott and Bailey, a gritty female-centric detective series. Thankfully, they are both available on local PBS stations, but neither made the cut for Masterpiece/Mystery.

    I found her explanation, effectively that they need to keep the ratings up, to be less than satisfying. Isn’t that what PBS was created to avoid? A concentration on what gets good ratings? A place to explore new and diverse offerings?

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