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Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the…
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Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and…

by Rebecca Eaton

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Showing 5 of 5
Overall, a very entertaining read. As others have mentioned, however, it would have been better as a straight history of Masterpiece and how those shows were developed and produced. While I'm sure the author is an interesting person with a unique story, I was mainly curious about the shows themselves and less so in what was going on in her life at the time of each series. Still, definitely worth reading for anyone who appreciates Masterpiece. ( )
  Gingermama | May 21, 2016 |
It's a behind the scenes look at Ms. Eaton's work for Masterpiece and the shows she produces. It's fun to read about the shows and their stars I have loved watching through the years. Definitely worthwhile to Masterpiece watchers. ( )
  bugs5 | Feb 15, 2015 |
I enjoyed Eaton's memoir of her professional career to date and of her time Making Masterpiece for several reasons.

One would think, given information about my background that I grew up spending my Sunday evenings watching Masterpiece Theatre. You'd be wrong. I didn't discover Austen or the Bronte sisters, or most of the great English novels until long after college. My teenage years were mostly spent without access to a TV (or with really poor antenna reception). If I were to catch anything on PBS it was The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, This Old House, NOVA, or Great Performances (but only if it was classical music).

I found Making Masterpiece a quick way to catch up on all the PBS culture I missed without resorting to Wikipedia.

The interconnected story of both the growth of Masterpiece and Eaton's career was enjoyable. I am always fascinated to hear what industries outside the ones I know are like and I think I actually am beginning to understand what being an Executive Producer means.

The parts that drew me in the most were the stories of working with different personalities and I found the descriptions of the differences between British and American acting the most enlightening.

As I work with several small non-profit organizations, I was reassured by the challenges Eaton (and Masterpiece/WGBH/PBS) have faced–my organizations are not alone! I also found that they way they are using the new technologies helpful as well.

I would prefer some tighter writing, but as I read more of the book, I felt I could hear Eaton's voice telling this personal history.

What I like best about Making Masterpiece is that it shows insight into the real people behind the show. They're not perfect. They have doubts along the way. They have moments of anger, sadness, and joy. Together these people have created a very successful series that is part of our history, the present, and hopefully many long years to come.

I received my copy through the GoodReads First Reads program. ( )
  pennyshima | Dec 3, 2013 |
I loved Masterpiece Theatre when I was growing up, especially in middle school. I got new books to read from watching both it and Great Performances and these enriched my life since many were things I might not have ever known about. I was really looking forward to this book, but it turns out the Masterpiece Theatre presentations I loved the most were not made/purchased during Ms. Eaton's time at the helm. My favorites are Upstairs Downstairs, Duchess of Duke Street, and Poldark (and handsome - as my father teased me). I like Downton Abbey, but I won't watch it again and again as I have the latter two. I thank the author, however, for Sherlock and its brilliant and totally in character with the book update.

There's some fun stuff in here - stories about actors and writers and trying to get something produced. Stories of figuring out how to stretch the dollar, of turning people onto good books and British actors. The backstage tales are the best - it's just fun to read about people like Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Despite this, Making Masterpiece has some flaws that diminished my enjoyment. The writing is all over the place and the author's focus on Jane Austen and other well-known classics illustrates the problem I've had with the shows for a long time. I just want more variety and to be introduced to something I didn't have to read in my literarture classes. Mystery! has fared somewhat better, although tends to be very very cosy.

Not the worst book, but not the greatest. As a diagnostic tool for helping me understand why I quit watching these shows, it was useful, but that's not why I wanted to read this book. I wanted more from this than what is essentially a really long dish on how the author got to Downton Abbey and why she's so great. ( )
  kraaivrouw | Nov 22, 2013 |
This book was written by the current Executive Producer of Masterpiece Theatre (now comprised by the trilogy of Masterpiece Contemporary, Masterpiece Mystery and Masterpiece Classic). It is, in part, a memoir about her life, but it is primarily a history of Masterpiece Theatre which first aired in 1971, particularly the last 25 years during which the author has been involved with its production.

There are wonderful anecdotes from actors, writers and others from the beginning of the show through Downton Abbey and prospects for future productions. I used to watch almost all of their productions. While I haven't been a regular viewer for many years, even as an occasional viewer I was still interested in a lot of the information in this book. I looked back on the older programs with fondness and nostalgia.

This is a charming book and I enjoyed it very much but I have a few quibbles about it. I confess that I wasn't really interested in the memoir parts of this book. The author did not originally want to write a memoir and was talked into it. I wish that she had stuck to her guns and made it a pure history of the show, I would have liked to have read about some of the shows in greater depth. However, since the titles of all of the programs are in italics, it was easy for me to skip the parts of the book that didn't interest me. I was also a little disappointed that there were no pictures in the book.

I was given an advance uncorrected proof of this book by the publisher. ( )
  fhudnell | Nov 3, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670015350, Hardcover)

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—including photos taken with her own camera—about her decades-spanning 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 TV 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:35 -0400)

"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-including photos taken with her own camera-about her decades-spanning 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 TV 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"-- "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 hugelypopular 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--including photos taken with her own camera--about her decades-spanning 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 asher 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 TV role was as the title character in David Copperfield"--… (more)

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