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Download Making Masterpiece: 25 Years behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS Audiobook

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The Emmy Award–winning producer of PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! reveals the secrets to Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and its other hit programs.

For more than twenty-five years and counting, Rebecca Eaton has presided over PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre, the longest-running weekly prime-time drama series in American history. From the runaway hits Upstairs, Downstairs and The Buccaneers to the hugely popular Inspector Morse, Prime Suspect, and Poirot, Masterpiece Theatre and its sibling series Mystery! have been required viewing for fans of quality drama.

Eaton interviews many of the writers, directors, producers, and other contributors and shares personal anecdotes about her decades-long career. She reveals what went on behind the scenes during such triumphs as Cranford and the multiple, highly rated programs made from Jane Austen’s novels, as well as her aggressive campaign to attract younger viewers via social media and online streaming. Along the way she shares stories about actors and other luminaries such as Alistair Cooke, Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Daniel Radcliffe, whose first television role was as the title character in David Copperfield.

Readers will also get to know Eaton on a personal level. With a childhood steeped in theater, an affinity for nineteenth-century novels and culture, and an “accidental apprenticeship” with the BBC, Eaton was practically born to lead the Masterpiece and Mystery! franchises. Making Masterpiece marks the first time the driving force behind the enduring flagship show reveals all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Eaton reminisces about the show and its numerous notable actors; but she does much more, serving up penetrating interviews with the writers, directors, producers, and other participants in a show that has been credited with revitalizing interest in nineteenth-century classics…[and] also discusses how the recent popularity of Masterpiece series like Prime Suspense, Inspector Morris, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey have revitalized its offerings.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “Eaton tells the series’ story with the help of dozens of the men and women who contributed, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, to its success. In addition to these sometimes charming, sometimes bawdy anecdotes…A pleasing blend of memoir and retrospective with a wide audience appeal.”

    Library Journal

  • “Chronicling her twenty-five-year career with PBS, Eaton provides a behind-the-camera look into the creative process involved in producing Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery!…A delightful trek into the world of TV production and a substantive treat for the truly addicted PBS fan.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “[A] thoroughly engaging memoir…Eaton stepped into her role in 1985, and she shares her successes here…She is equally candid about her missteps…Eaton is a warm and witty guide to Masterpiece Theatre’s storied history, and this lively memoir will appeal equally to Downton diehards and longtime Masterpiece loyalists.”

    Booklist

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About the Author

Rebecca Eaton has been executive producer of Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! for more than twenty-five years. She has won multiple Emmys for her work. She lives in Boston.