Masterpiece Episodes

1971, TV Show

Masterpiece Season 31 episodes

The Road from Coorain Season 31, Episode 19

An Australian-TV adaptation of Jill Ker Conway's memoir “The Road from Coorain” chronicles the academic's childhood on a New South Wales sheep ranch in the late 1930s and '40s, and her high-achieving college years in Sydney. “However hard I try to tell my own story,” the adult Jill (Katherine Slattery) says in a voice-over, “it becomes the story of my mother” (Juliet Stevenson), who raises her “to understand duty.” But as a girl, Jill develops just as close a tie with her less-tightly-wound father (Richard Boxburgh). And as a young woman she meets an American (Tim Guinee), who loosens her even more. read more

Innocents Season 31, Episode 18

“Innocents,” a docudrama charting a disturbingly high mortality rate among pediatric cardiac patients at one British hospital in the 1990s. The reason: incompetent surgeons. But mothers Julie Johnson and Sharon Peacock (Kate Redshaw, Emma Cunniffe) don't know that when they entrust their young sons to Drs. Janarda Dhasmana (Madhav Sharma) and James Wishart (Tim Piggott-Smith), the imperious surgical chief. Anesthesiologist Steve Bolsin (Aden Gillett) suspects a problem. Trouble is, he doesn't have nearly as much clout as Wishart does. read more

The Way We Live Now Season 31, Episode 17

“The Way We Live Now,” conclusion. In the wake of Paul Montague's disclosure about the railroad, Malmotte (David Suchet) admits to being “overstretched.” In fact, what money he does have is in Marie's name, and Marie (Shirley Henderson) isn't inclined to let him have it. But prospects are not so bleak for the Carburys, though Hetta (Paloma Baeza) concedes that her liaison with Paul leaves much to be desired. “It's so messy and complicated and compromised,” she says. read more

The Way We Live Now Season 31, Episode 16

“The Way We Live Now” (Part 3 of four). Melmotte (David Suchet) is elected to Parliament with stirring talk of “a new kind of empire.” But his campaign expenses are considerable, and Paul Montague (Cillian Murphy) has questions about the source of the money. The answers he receives from Melmotte aren't satisfactory, but the one he receives from Hetta (Paloma Baeza) is---temporarily. Meanwhile, Sir Felix's run of bad luck continues. Sir Felix: Matthew Macfadyen. read more

The Way We Live Now Season 31, Episode 15

Part 2of 4. “The Way We Live Now.” Since Marie Melmotte (Shirley Henderson) will be cut off if she weds Sir Felix (Matthew Macfayden), she proposes elopement. It seems she has funds of her own Meanwhile, Montague (Cillian Murphy) has doubts about Melmotte's plans for the railroad project. He also attempts to uncouple himself from Mrs. Hurtle (Miranda Otto) so he can pursue Hetta (Paloma Baeza). And Georgina Longestaffe (Anne-Marie Duff), in pursuit of a husband, seeks out Melmotte's assistance. read more

The Way We Live Now Season 31, Episode 14

David Suchet plays a shady financier who buys his way into Victorian society in a four-part adaptation of “The Way We Live Now,” Anthony Trollope's 1875 treatise on greed. Victorian society is only too willing to sell itself to Augustus Melmotte (Suchet) because he has what the land-rich, cash-poor aristocrats want: money. In Part 1, for instance, Sir Felix Carbury (Matthew Macfayden), a cad who has squandered his inheritance, sets out to win the very willing heart of Melmotte's daughter (Shirley Henderson). Sir Felix's mother (Cheryl Campbell) thinks it's a wonderful idea. Hetta: Paloma Baeza. read more

Lucky Jim Season 31, Episode 13

Stephen Tompkinson is “Lucky Jim” Dixon, a constantly set-upon lecturer at an obscure British university, in a low-key adaptation of Kingsley Amis's 1954 comic novel. “I was going to make history by teaching it,” Jim says wearily, looking back at his grand ambition. Standing in Jim's way is his arrogant, bumbling department head, Neddy Welch (Robert Hardy). Jim's love life is no more promising: the woman (Keeley Hawes) he pines for is “tied up” with Neddy's haughty artist son (Stephen Mangan). read more

Love in a Cold Climate Season 31, Episode 12

"Love in a Cold Climate" (Conclusion). Linda's marriage to the communist Christian raises few eyebrows, but Polly's betrothal to Boy Dougdale (Anthony Andrews) raises many. Particularly appalled: Polly's parents (Sheila Gish, John Standing), so they write her out of their wills (a shame for Polly, since they're so rich), and replace her with a Canadian cousin, Cedric Hampton (Daniel Evans), who's no lumberjack. Polly: Megan Dodds. Linda: Elisabeth Dermot Walsh. Fanny: Rosamund Pike. read more

Love in a Cold Climate Season 31, Episode 11

Upper-class British life in the 1930s gets a droll sendup in “Love in a Cold Climate,” a two-part adaptation of Nancy Mitford's novels charting the love lives of three young women. Fanny (Rosamund Pike), who narrates the story, spends most of her time with her cousin Linda (Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh), the perpetually lovestruck daughter of the blustering Lord Radlett (Alan Bates). Rounding out the trio: Fanny's friend Polly (Megan Dodds), who's just back from India. Linda's the first to wed, and she does it for love. But it cools quickly. Boy Dougdale: Anthony Andrews. read more

Bertie and Elizabeth Season 31, Episode 10

“Bertie and Elizabeth,” a warm love story chronicling the 30-year romance of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Juliet Aubrey) and the man who became King George VI (James Wilby). “I hate being noticed,” says “Bertie,” the Duke of York, who's happy that his playboy brother David (Charles Edwards) will become king when their father, George V (Alan Bates), dies. Bertie and Elizabeth settle down quietly to raise their family but things won't be quiet for long. For starters, there's the matter of David and “the woman I love.” Queen Mary: Eileen Atkins. Winston Churchill: David Ryall. FDR: Robert Hardy. Wallis Simpson: Amber Rose Sealey. read more

Othello Season 31, Episode 9

Shakespeare gets a major overhaul in a modern-language adaptation of “Othello,” the Bard's 1604 tragedy of jealousy and revenge. British screenwriter Andrew Davies also updated the action to present-day London, altered character names and tweaked the plot (making it a police drama). Here, noble John Othello (Eamonn Walker) is a protégé of diabolical Ben Jago (Christopher Eccleston) in the Metropolitan Police, but it's Othello who's appointed commissioner, whereupon Jago plots his downfall. read more

The Murder of Stephen Lawrence Season 31, Episode 8

"The Murder of Stephen Lawrence" charts a Jamaican immigrant couple's five-year battle for justice in the face of what they see as institutional racism in Britain's judicial system. Hugh Quarshie and Marianne Jean-Baptiste star as Neville and Doreen Lawrence, whose 18-year-old son Stephen was stabbed to death in April 1993 while waiting for a bus in southeast London. The assailants, five white-supremacist teens, are identified immediately, but the police don't arrest them for two weeks. read more

My Uncle Silas Season 31, Episode 7

Albert Finney is “My Uncle Silas,” a lovable old Edwardian-era rascal who teaches an impressionable 10-year-old how to live in five short stories by English author H.E. Bates (1905-74). As the first one opens, young Edward (Joe Prospero) is on his way to spend his summer holiday in the country with Silas, whose stern sister Tibby is agasht. Silas, she harrumphs, is “a drunkard, a sinner and a nonconformist.” Edward is immediately intrigued. But then, most people are intrigued by Silas, women especially. read more

The Cazalets Season 31, Episode 6

Autumn 1941: The war grinds on and “The Cazalets” go on with their lives as this five-part drama concludes. Some Cazalet upper lips are less stiff than others, the pacifist Christopher's being the slackest---he has a nervous breakdown. Elsewhere, Sybil (Anastasia Hille) is dying of cancer, but Edward (Stephen Dillane) is more worried about the consequences of his affair with Diana (Anna Chancellor), who has bad news for him. And speaking of news, a visiting French officer has some for Clary (Florence Hoath). read more

The Cazalets Season 31, Episode 5

"The Cazalets." It's autumn 1940 as Part 4 (of five) begins, and Rupert is still missing in France. So Clary (Florence Hoath) writes to Gen. DeGaulle asking about him. Meanwhile, her stepmother Zoe (Joanna Page) volunteers at a hospital; Louise's budding relationship with portraitist Michael Hadleigh troubles her mother; Christopher's pacifism earns him little sympathy; Hugh continues to wrestle with Sybil's illness; and young Neville runs away (destination: Ireland) to "start a new life." read more

The Cazalets Season 31, Episode 4

Part 3. It's 1940 and World War II hits home for "The Cazalets" when Rupert is reported missing in action---just as Zoe (Joanna Page) gives birth to their daughter. Meanwhile, Villy's sister (Jessica Turner) and her pacifist son (Nicholas Audsley) arrive; Sybill (Anastasia Hille) is hospitalized; Rachel and Sid (Catherine Russell, Penny Downie) quarrel; Louise (Emma Griffiths Malin) catches the eye of a painter; Edward tires of Diana; and young Neville teaches younger Lydia "rude words." read more

The Cazalets Season 31, Episode 3

War is declared as Part 2 (of four) of “The Cazalets” begins, and Rupert (Paul Rhys) enlists in the Navy, much to Zoe's dismay, particularly since she's pregnant again. Meanwhile, Edward (Stephen Dillane) is in London, as is his daughter Louise (Emma Griffiths Malin), who sees her father with his mistress (Anna Chancellor) in a theater. Back in Sussex, Sybil (Anastasia Hille) takes ill; and Tonbridge (John McArdle) is sick at heart after his estranged wife (Claire Hackett) tells him the truth about their son (Gregg Prentice) and takes him away. Zoe: Joanna Page. read more

The Cazalets Season 31, Episode 2

World War II clouds life for a well-to-do British family in “The Cazalets,” a four-part adaptation of Elizabeth Jane Howard's novels. It opens in 1937 as the Cazalets leave London and the timber business run by eldest son Hugh (Hugh Bonneville) for their summer holiday at their Sussex estate. However, second son Edward (Stephen Dillane) would rather be with mistresses than with his wife (Lesley Manville); and youngest son Rupert (Paul Rhys), an artist, refuses to join the company. read more

Merchant of Venice Season 31, Episode 1

A sleek adaptation unfolds of the Royal National Theatre's 1999 modern-day staging of Shakespeare's “The Merchant of Venice,” the controversial drama about Shylock (Henry Goodman), the Jew who lends the merchant Antonio (David Bamber) money to bankroll his friend Bassanio's courtship of the heiress Portia (Derbhle Crotty). If Antonio can't repay, Shylock gets a pound of his flesh. Director Trevor Nunn sets the action in early-1930s cafe society. read more

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Premiered: January 10, 1971, on PBS
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (777 ratings)
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Premise: PBS's longest running (and most honored) dramatic series is an Anglophile's delight, featuring British adaptations of literary classics and original works. The first `Masterpiece' was `The First Churchills,' and since then it has won nine Peabodys and 29 Emmys (beginning with Susan Hampshire's Best Actress award for `Churchills'). Its many memorable productions include `Upstairs, Downstairs,' `I, Claudius,' 'The Jewel in the Crown,' `House of Cards,' `Poldark' and `Prime Suspect.'

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