|The Story of the Costume Drama|
BBC America's Copper has been doing gangbusters in the ratings for the network, and over at PBS, the new series, Call the Midwife, premiered to rave reviews, as it did in the UK at the start of this year. And of course, we wait with baited breath for the return of Downton Abbey in January 2013.
To find out what those who created and starred in some of the most beloved British costume dramas have to say about them and their popularity, we have the behind-the-scenes documentary, The Story of the Costume Drama.
This five-episode series (of which only the first aired on PBS stations this past Spring), narrated by Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes, Upstairs, Downstairs), provides an inside look beyond the ornate clothing, sprawling manors, and addictive story lines that have riveted millions of television viewers for decades, and reveals how the often controversial sagas altered the television landscape and launched the careers of many young actors.
The 2-DVD set features stars and scenes from Brideshead Revisited; I, Claudius; Pride and Prejudice; The Jewel in the Crown; Poldark; Horatio Hornblower; Elizabeth I; Sharpe; Doctor Zhivago; My Boy Jack; Cranford; and many more costume dramas, and includes a bonus photo gallery.
Many of the programs explored in The Story of the Costume Drama were noted as the responses to the question, "Which costume drama do you think is the best to have graced Britain’s television screens," posed in a 2010 survey of BBC Magazine readers. The twenty that received the highest marks were these:
1. Pride and Prejudice
2. I, Claudius
3. Upstairs, Downstairs
4. Downton Abbey
6. Brideshead Revisited
7. The Forsyte Saga
10. The Jewel in the Crown
12. The House of Eliott
14. The Tudors
15. A Family At War
16. The Six Wives of Henry VIII
17. Elizabeth R
18. The Duchess of Duke Street
19. By the Sword Divided
20. The Flame Trees of Thika
Of those twenty, most made it onto the list of PBS viewers' favorites, according to a survey conducted by the network in 2006. (Some programs aired on other networks, some had not yet aired or been produced at the time of the survey, and others did not air at all in the U.S.) To see the complete list, which includes both period and contemporary dramas, visit the Masterpiece Theatre "Best of" winners page.
Have an awesome weekend!