Who better than an English major from Vassar College with a love of British literature to become the Executive Producer of Masterpiece Theatre? Rebecca Eaton shares with us a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to work with the various hosts of Masterpiece, including Alistair Cooke, Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, and Russell Baker. Brilliant actors portrayed include Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, John Thaw, and a nine-year-old Daniel Radcliffe, who starred in David Copperfield and would go on to play Harry Potter. Eaton also relates some of her mistakes, including initially turning down Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren. Still, her successes abound, especially in recent years with the astonishingly well-received Downton Abbey.
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.