An anthology drama series featuring primarily British productions.
Reviews
Popularity
3,797 ( 32)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



42   41   40   39   38   37   … See all »
2012   2011   2010   2009   2008   2007   … See all »
Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Masterpiece Mystery (TV Series 1980)
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

An anthology series featuring various predominately British mystery stories.

Stars: Vincent Price, Alan Cumming, Gene Shalit
Nova (TV Series 1974)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Science documentaries.

Stars: Jay O. Sanders, Lance Lewman, Craig Sechler
The Bob Newhart Show (1972–1978)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The professional and personal misadventures of a psychologist and his family, patients, friends and colleagues.

Stars: Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette, Bill Daily
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Amateur detective Miss Jane Marple investigates the murder of a young woman whose body is found in the library at Gossington Hall, home of Colonel and Mrs. Arthur Bantry.

Stars: Joan Hickson, Debbie Arnold, John Bardon
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When a young bride moves into a country manor, long repressed childhood memories of witnessing a murder come to the surface.

Stars: Joan Hickson, Geraldine Alexander, John Moulder-Brown
The Making of a Lady (TV Movie 2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After losing her employment, Emily accepts a proposal that will give her a secure future. But she soon finds trapped in her new family's deception.

Director: Richard Curson Smith
Stars: Lydia Wilson, Maggie Fox, Sarah Ridgeway
The Forsyte Saga (TV Mini-Series 2002)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Chronicles the lives of three generations of the upper-middle-class British family, the Forsytes, from the 1870s to 1920.

Stars: Damian Lewis, Rupert Graves, Gina McKee
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1890s London, two friends use the same pseudonym ("Ernest") for their on-the-sly activities. Hilarity ensues.

Director: Oliver Parker
Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor
Mansfield Park (TV Movie 2007)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

At age 10, Fanny Price is sent by her destitute mother to live with her aunt and uncle, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. As a child she was often made to feel that she was the poor relation but... See full summary »

Director: Iain B. MacDonald
Stars: Julia Joyce, Douglas Hodge, Maggie O'Neill
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Faced with two false confessions and numerous suspects after a despised civil magistrate is found shot in the local vicarage, Detective Inspector Slack reluctantly accepts help from Miss Marple.

Director: Julian Amyes
Stars: Joan Hickson, Paul Eddington, Cheryl Campbell
Soap (1977–1981)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The soap-operish antics of two families: the Campbells and the Tates.

Stars: Rod Roddy, Katherine Helmond, Richard Mulligan
The Odd Couple (1970–1975)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two men, a neat freak and a slob separated from their wives, have to live together despite their differences.

Stars: Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, Al Molinaro
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
Alistair Cooke ...
 Himself - Host (29 episodes, 1971-2008)
Edit

Storyline

An anthology drama series featuring primarily British productions.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

anthology | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 January 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Daniel Craig/Muse (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Rise, Decline, and Fall (?) of a Classic
12 October 2002 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

During the 1960's, there existed in the United States a non-commerical television network called National Educational Television (NET). It was so rudimentary that it wasn't linked to its local affiliates by coaxial cable until 1967; before then, it sent films and videotapes to its affiliates by domestic air mail. Despite its modest resources, it had ambitions of being the USA's "fourth network." To that end, it imported and distributed dramatic programs from the BBC. These had little impact until 1969, when NET imported and aired the BBC's "The Forsyte Saga," which became NET's first nighttime hit. Weary of NET's poor relationship with its affiliates, its biased documentaries, and other issues, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting relaced NET in 1969 with a new network, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Impressed with the success of "The Forsyte Saga," PBS decided to import other miniseries from the UK and broadcast them under the umbrella title of "Masterpiece Theatre." Alistair Cooke, host of the legendary 1950's series "Omnibus," was its erudite host. The first miniseries aired was "The First Churchills," but it was "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" and "Elizabeth R" that made it a hit and help establish PBS in general. "Masterpiece Theatre" followed up with later imports from the BBC such as "Poldark" and "I, Claudius" and some series from Britain's commercial network, ITV, such as "Upstairs, Downstairs." It was generally considered the highest quality series on American television.

"Masterpiece Theater" went into its second decade (1980's) with solid miniseries such as "The Citadel," "The Flame Trees of Thika" (said to be its most popular series), and "A Town Like Alice" from Australia (the first non-British series it aired). But starting in the late 1980's, "Masterpiece Theatre" was often not living up to its name. For every good series such as "Piece of Cake," there were one or two clunkers like "Sleepers." One series, "Clarissa," was downright repulsive. There were various explanations. One was that rising production costs were limiting the number of quality series produced by BBC and the ITV. Another was that cable channels, particularly A&E, were scooping up many of the British shows that used to go to PBS.

This situation persisted during the show's third decade (1990's), during which the show was often absent from the schedule. A series of temporary hosts between Alistair Cooke and Russell Baker seemed to symbolize its uncertainty. A move away from its traditional Sunday night timeslot didn't help matters. On the plus side, PBS and WGBH began to take an active part in the production of its shows.

"Masterpiece Theatre" is now in its fourth decade, a rare achievement for any kind of TV show anywhere. Its 2002-2003 season is being started off with a new production of "The Forsyte Saga," which looks most promising. Still, the series faces an uncertain future in a TV landscape far changed from 1971. Viewers can find high quality programs on innumerable cable and satellite channels, videos, and DVD's and PBS recently logged the worst ratings in its history, prompting its president to openly speculate about the network's viability and even its reason for existence. My advice is to enjoy "Masterpiece Theatre" while you still can.


30 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What happened to the introduction? rmaynard-1
Pictures during opening of Masterpiece Classic lhm47
Elgar's Cello Concerto as the opening theme music? ddddumas-1
Death of the Heart jds185
Miniseries covering English civil war/wars of religon victor-41
I wish they would do 'The Man Who Was Thursday' danielj_old999
Discuss Masterpiece Classic (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page