The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming! (but they can't tell time)

Posted by Tom Axtell on
Damian Lewis is Henry VIII in Wolf Hall on Masterpiece.
Giles Keyte/Playground & Company
Tom Axtell
Tom Axtell, General Manager

Due to increased audiences and member donations in support of British drama, Vegas PBS has exciting news for fans. Throughout 2015, viewers can watch Masterpiece on Sunday nights at 9 pm, and also enjoy at least 20 additional hours of new programming throughout the year.

Masterpiece has aired on PBS since 1971, but Downton Abbey has created a renewed surge in popularity. The audience for the 2014 season was up more than 100 percent from 2010, and in a recent national survey more than 70 percent of members cited Masterpiece as their favorite show. It is also among the most recorded program for time-shifted viewing later in the week.

A highly anticipated adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels launches this month with Wolf Hall on Masterpiece. The six-part series charts the shrewd and brilliant rise of Cromwell in the Tudor court, from a blacksmith’s son to Henry VIII’s closest advisor.

Other Masterpiece programming this year includes a third series of the popular Mr. Selfridge starring Jeremy Piven; a stunning new adaptation of the 1970s Poldark – the hit series that helped launch Masterpiece – and Indian Summers, an extravagant drama set in the waning years of British colonial rule in 1930s India.

Member support has also allowed us to purchase additional British programming from BBC. Call the Midwife returns along with Season 3 of Last Tango in Halifax. A brand new drama about WWI’s frontline medics – The Crimson Field – will air later this summer.

DVR Alert! Unlike American networks, the BBC has never been a stickler for time. Many programs in the Sunday night drama lineup have “non-standard” start times and durations through the spring. This WILL impact how you set your DVRs if you record your favorite British programs. The originally-produced BBC UK versions of Wolf Hall and Call the Midwife run longer than 60 minutes. On the other hand, Mr. Selfridge is significantly shorter than a standard hour. We hope you will enjoy the flow of these Sunday night dramas even if they start and end at odd times. Please refer to the grid section of Source magazine or the program schedule on VegasPBS.org for exact start times.

We are truly in a golden age of British drama on PBS and we are delighted to bring you even more hours of great programming from across the pond, thanks to your ongoing financial support. Cheerio!

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