Gillian Anderson, New MASTERPIECE CLASSICS Host, Kicks Off Jane Austen Series!! blogger Tami reminded me about the new Masterpiece Theater series coming up featuring a slew of Jane Austen Classics that are sure to please Austenphiles as well as those who love all things PBS! It begins January 13 and will be new episodes/stories weekly except for the multi-part Pride & Prejudice. (read on down for the list of Jane Austin presentations with photos!)
Here’s what’s “hot” about Mastepiece Theater
1) New hosts for Masterpiece Theater — Mystery, Contemporary and also Classics!
The new host for Classics is X Files Gillian Anderson (who is currently off filming the movie version of X FILES with David Duchovney!!)
(c) Kim Knott for MASTERPIECE

In 2008 Masterpiece is going further in the changes to the MASTERPIECE brand, bringing on three hosts to the series, each with a true affiliation and fascination with the genre they represent. The shows will also feature a new on-air look with an elegance befitting the new programs and hosts.
There is also a redesigned feature-rich website, and a easy to use schedule to find the shows you want to see.
Anderson will present the ten programs in the first MASTERPIECE CLASSIC season, including adaptations of all six of the Jane Austen novels
Airing Sundays at 9pm ET, beginning on January 13, 2008 (and a darn good substitute for the Golden Globes!!), “The Complete Jane Austen” features all-new productions of the Austen novels including four that were adapted by Andrew Davies, whose Bleak House was an exceptionally praised drama in 2006.
Persuasion,— January 13
Sally Hawkins (Little Britain) appears as Anne Elliot, destined for spinsterhood at age 27 after being persuaded eight years earlier to refuse the proposal of dashing Captain Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones, Casanova). Then chance brings them together again, but now he is rich and free to play the field among eligible young beauties. Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) co-stars as Anne’s spendthrift father. Adapted by Simon Burke. Directed by Adrian Shergold. Executive Producer Murray Ferguson. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. Produced by David Snodin. A Clerkenwell Films production for ITV in association with
Northanger Abbey, January 20
In Austen’s gentle parody of gothic fiction, Felicity Jones (Meadowlands) plays romance addict Catherine Morland. Invited to a medieval country house that appeals to her most lurid fantasies, she forms a close friendship with the younger son on the estate, Henry Tilney (JJ Feild, The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton), but their budding romance is mysteriously cut short. Adapted by Andrew Davies. Directed by Jon Jones. Executive Producers Andy Harries, Charles Elton. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. Produced by Keith Thompson. A Co-Production of Granada and WGBH/Boston.
Mansfield Park, January 27
In one of Austen’s most complex plots, Billie Piper (Doctor Who, The Ruby in the Smoke) stars as Fanny Price, who goes to live with prosperous relatives at Mansfield Park. Fanny navigates a labyrinth of intrigues and affairs among the occupants of the house, while her cousin Edmund Bertram (Blake Ritson, Inspector Lynley Mysteries) remains her stalwart confidant. Also starring Jemma Redgrave (Bramwell) as Fanny’s observant aunt. Adapted by Maggie Wadey. Directed by Iain B. MacDonald. Executive Producers George Faber, Charles Pattinson. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. Produced by Suzan Harrison. A
Co-Production of Company Productions and WGBH/Boston.
A BONUS on Jane Austen herself
Miss Austen Regrets February 3
Jane Austen wrote about romance and courtship from personal experience, so it is hard to believe that she never married.
This biopic dramatizes Austen’s lost loves: Harris Bigg, whose proposal she accepted and then rejected; Edward Brydges, whom she also refused; the tongue-tied vicar she teased mercilessly; and the young surgeon who arrived on the scene too late to steal her heart. Starring Olivia Williams (The Sixth Sense), Greta Scacchi (The Player) and Hugh Bonneville (Notting Hill). Written by Gwyneth Hughes. Directed by Jeremy Lovering. Executive Producer Laura Mackie. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. Produced by Anne Pivcevic. A BBC and WGBH/Boston Co-Production.
Pride and Prejudice– Colin Firth’s breakout performance that made him a hearthrob.. February 10 to 24
February 10-24 (3 EPISODES!)
Colin Firth (Bridget Jones’s Diary) is Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle (The Coast of Utopia) is Elizabeth Bennet in the definitive adaptation of the most-loved of all Austen novels. With five daughters, no sons, and an entailed estate, the elder Bennets are in dire straits to arrange advantageous marriages. Wedding bells ring three times, but the path to true love is tortuous indeed. Adapted by Andrew Davies. Directed by Simon Langton. Executive Producer Michael Wearing. Produced by Sue Birtwistle. A Production of BBC Television and BBC Worldwide Americas, Inc. in association with A&E Television Networks. The Masterpiece Theatre broadcast of Pride and Prejudice is the first in the U.S. other than on A&E Television Networks.
Emma — starring Kate Beckinsale. March 23
The New York Times praised this production as “smart and spirited…understated and sly.” Kate Beckinsale (The Aviator) stars in the title role as the tireless matchmaker who professes no interest in matrimony for herself, only for her orphaned protégée, Harriet Smith (Samantha Morton, Longford). Still, Emma does feel a certain twinge for Frank Churchill (Raymond Coulthard, He Knew He Was Right) and a brotherly regard for Mr. Knightley (Mark Strong, Prime Suspect 6). Adapted by Andrew Davies. Directed by Diarmuid Lawrence. Executive Producers Delia Fine, Simon Lewis. Produced by Sue Birtwistle. Produced by United Film and Television Productions in association with Chestermead Ltd and A&E Networks. Originally broadcast in February 1997.
.Sense and Sensibility March 30 and April 6
Hattie Morahan (The Golden Compass) plays levelheaded Elinor Dashwood and Charity Wakefield (Jane Eyre) is her impulsive sister Marianne. Though poor, they attract a trio of very promising gentlemen: soon-to-be wealthy Edward Ferrars (Dan Stevens, The Line of Beauty), heroic Colonel Brandon (David Morrissey, Viva Blackpool and State of Play), and Byronic John Willoughby (Dominic Cooper, The History Boys). Adapted by Andrew Davies. Directed by John Alexander. Produced by Anne Pivcevic. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. A BBC and WGBH/Boston Co-Production
After the Austen series will come more “classics” that are in the theme of the Jane Austen novels including:
Cranford, a three-part miniseries starring Judi Dench;;
My Boy Jack starring Daniel Radcliffe and Kim Cattrall;;
and a new adaptation of A Room with a View by Andrew Davies.
Hosts for MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! and MASTERPIECE CONTEMPORARY will be announced in 2008. MASTERPIECE has been presented on PBS by WGBH since 1971. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by public television viewers and CPB.
Immersing myself in all things Austen– Jane Austen
Stevie Wilson

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Author: Stevie Wilson

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