provide everything you need for your club. Over 25 guides, sorted by title or author, provide discussion questions, author bios, background essays, interviews, and even activities and recipes.
The next author to be added to the MASTERPIECE Book & Film Club collection is Agatha Christie, with book-to-film discussion resources for Poirot and Miss Marple available this June at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/bookclub/index.html
Saturday, February 12, 2011
As the longest-running primetime drama on American television, Masterpiece is committed to bringing viewers the best in literature-based drama, mysteries filled with eclectic characters, and groundbreaking contemporary works. Each month BookBuffet partners with WGBH Boston to give readers the inside scoop on their books to film.
One of my favorite authors is now featured having adapted one of his own novels into a 3-part Masterpiece television series starring a long and talented list of actors from the British repitory. William Boyd is a UK novelist (Scottish actually, born in Accra Ghana), screenwriter and short story writer who has won multiple awards for his fiction including the Whitbread, the Booker, Somerset Maugham to name a few and he earned his CBE in 2005. He's the lesser-known contemporary of Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan who writes in ironic style in settings both in the UK and Europe as well as Africa. Any Human Heart is one of my favorites. It's a diary-style novel that follows the life and internal machinations of Logan Mountstuart through his adventurous and eventful (love)life beginning with his first sexual experience while studying literature at Oxford, through several romances and marriages, mixed with extensive travel and work over a couple career paths taken before, during and after WWII. Mountstuart is a novelist, a spy, a war correspondent, an art dealer, a freelance writer and a literary agent. His very human heart experiences obsessive love, ambiguous love, filial love, petty love and enduring love. During his life he
Thursday, January 06, 2011
The whole of January 2011 at Masterpiece is dedicated to a 4-part episode called Downton Abbey. Created and written by Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), Downton Abbey, like Fellowes other stories (Listen to an earlier BookBuffet interview with Fellowes around his novel Snobs) gives us a portrait of the intricacies of pomp, pedigree and protocol in the vanishing gentrified country estates in England. After generations have been settled in the eponymous estate, a crisis of inheritance threatens to displace the resident Crawley family. The sinking of the Titanic has taken with it Lord Grantham's heirs; both James Crawley and his son Patrick have perished. While personally agonizing (momentarily) for daughter Mary who was supposed to marry Patrick she resourcefully sets her sights on a grander scale. With all the predictable succession plans gone terribly awry, the looming questions arise — Who will be the new heir to the earldom? And what will happen to this distinguished estate, now in jeopardy? Mary's short-lived grief is redirected on another suitor, the Duke of Crowborough. It's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" meets "Upstairs Downstairs" as the classes push boundaries and precedents in Darwinian ways. Starring notables Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern along with the wonderful Hugh Bonneville, Samantha Bond (Miss MoneyPenny of Ian Flemming's 007 fame) amongst others. Be guaranteed exquisite mansion settings, various traditional hunting parties and goings-on, and attention to all details of British class hierarchy Fellowes and Masterpiece creators are known for with the stately interiors and refined accouterment of an almost bygone era. Tune in January 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Behind the genius, outspokenness, and mischievous antics of the much-loved "smart Beatle," John Lennon (Christopher Eccleston, Doctor Who), is an artist whose struggle with childhood abandonment by his father shapes and nearly undermines his every relationship. Between 1967 and 1971, the tumultuous and wildly creative "studio years" for the Beatles, John Lennon is mired in an unhappy domestic life with his wife, Cynthia (Claudie Blakley, Return to Cranford), and his young son, Julian, the objects of his cruel indifference. Trying to reconcile the sudden death of Beatles manager Brian Epstein and the reintroduction of his long-estranged father, Freddie Lennon (Christopher Fairbank, Tess of the D'Urbervilles), into his life, John sees himself at once as a martyr and a gadfly. Far from being the gentle icon of world peace that he would later become, John embodies his credo that an artist has to destroy as well as create. It's only when he falls in love with avant-garde artist Yoko Ono (Naoko Mori, Torchwood) that John finds the inspiration to enact change in his and Yoko's own unique way, from a cloud of white balloons to the publicity-generating "Bed Peace." Ultimately, their partnership breaks him from the Beatles and Britain itself. Together, they leave country and family behind for New York City, starting over. Lennon Naked also stars Andrew Scott (Sherlock) and Rory Kinnear (Mansfield Park).
Saturday, September 11, 2010
BookBuffet is excited to announce the return of a whole new season of Wallander, Masterpiece's second series adaptation of bestselling Swedish thriller writer Henning Mankell's novels, starring Kenneth Branagh. The highly acclaimed Series I of Wallander won a BAFTA award for its gripping, surreal production standards, and gave Branagh Best Actor for 2010. He was also nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his stunning portrayal of the brooding Detective Kurt Wallander. BookBuffet is once again able to offer the first few members who register with our "Masterpiece Book to Film Group" (how to join below) copies of the novels adapted for the series. Read the books, then watch the series. Masterpiece has a number of teaser videos to pique your appetite, and online streaming of episodes in the series are available for a limited period. Check the PBS schedule for your area. Faceless Killers (October 3), The Man Who Smiled (October 10) and The Fifth Woman (October 17). Download the You Tube trailer here. See PBS Masterpiece reader resources here.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
BookBuffet is helping to spread the word about this July’s premiere of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, which headlines a trio of new Poirot mysteries on PBS MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! This long-awaited adaptation is preceded by a one–hour special taking viewers on a present-day journey aboard the iconic train. (The documentary, David Suchet on the Orient Express, airs Wednesday, July 7, 2010 on PBS.)
2010 actually marks Agatha Christie’s 120th birthday! Agatha Christie is the world's best-known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in over 45 foreign languages. She is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.
MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! is celebrating Christie and her suave Belgian detective with activities of interest to fans:
a Q&A with David Suchet at pbs.org/masterpiece/poirot
a live Twitter event during the July 11 broadcast of Murder on the Orient Express. Experts from Mystery Readers International, Mystery Scene and The Strand magazines will be tweeting. Join them and tag your posts with the hashtag, and then visit us on TweetGrid at TweetGrid, or use your own favorite aggregator.
Finally, we have a free supply of paperback copies of Murder on the Orient Express for distribution to readers. Contact us at paulas [at] bookbuffet.com
Sunday, May 23, 2010
For more than 35 years, Masterpiece has enthralled audiences with the works of the finest classic and contemporary writers interpreted by the world's foremost actors. We at BookBuffet have been partnering with them for just a short 2 years to provide our members with book give-a-ways to match the series and details on the authors and screenwriters. The Masterpiece schedule breaks the year into three “seasons”:
• In winter and spring, Masterpiece Classic features signature period dramas.
• In summer, Masterpiece Mystery! presents the best British mysteries.
• In fall, Masterpiece Contemporary shows dramas set in modern times.
Foyles War VI: This two part show airs June 8th and June 15th.
It is June 1945 and while VE Day has been celebrated in Britain, the war continues elsewhere in the world. The immediate aftermath of war was not a time of jubilation and optimism, as had been expected. The country was exhausted and poverty-stricken, families torn apart and rations tighter than ever before. Like everyone else, Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle needs to feel his way in this new world as he faces some of his toughest challenges and gripping plots to date. Keen to retire, but bound to his old job by the steep rise in violent crime that swept the country, Foyle is thrust into the dangerous worlds of international conspiracy and execution, military racism and national betrayal.
The Russian House
CS Foyle stumbles upon an international cover up, which, if exposed could bring down the British government, and reveal the War Office’s darkest secret yet.
Foyle goes head to head against the might of the US army, as racial prejudices erupt when a local girl is found murdered, and the finger of suspicion points to a black GI at the US military base.
The newly retired Foyle battles to save a young man accused of high treason from the executioner's noose, in a case that will shatter his personal world to the core...
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Airing April 18 & 25, 2010 on PBS is Masterpiece Theater's adaptation of Andrea Levy's award-winning novel Small Island. "Born into a broken home and an impoverished life in Jamaica, Hortense (Naomie Harris) longs for a fulfilling life in England; one with a fine house and a doorbell. The door of opportunity swings open, and Hortense is married and on her way to the promised land of post-war Britain. Steadfast dreams are soon tested by hard realities as Hortense and her husband Gilbert (David Oyelowo) face racism and poverty. In the small-minded country, their only saving grace is Queenie (Ruth Wilson, Jane Eyre). But Queenie faces her own disillusionment, married to the kind but dull Bernard (Benedict Cumberbatch, The Last Enemy). Bonded by high hopes and broken dreams, these four lives fuse together in a powerful and hopeful story of love and fulfillment." (Two episodes; 90 minutes each)" This is the 10th book to film series that Masterpiece and BookBuffet has collaborated on.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Win a set of books for you book group. Join BookBuffet's Masterpiece Book to Film Group (details below) and tune into WGBH for the latest Classic adaptation for television. Airing April 11th on Masterpiece Classic is a brand new production of The Diary of Anne Frank, a story that the world has come to equate with the tyranny of Nazi Germany and its policy of oppression against the Jews and this innocent, independent spirited young woman. The trailer begins, "Anne Frank receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday in June 1942. The following month she and her family go into hiding in the secret annex behind her father's business in Amsterdam to escape the Nazi roundup of Jews. An unusually perceptive writer, Anne records events in the annex over the course of the next two years." Anne Frank is played by Ellie Kendrick. The production was adapted from the diary by Deborah Moggach, produced by Elinore Day and directed by Jon Jones. Watch the trailer. Masterpiece has been presented on PBS by WGBH since 1971. WGBH is one of the nation's top public television and public radio broadcasters; a leading producer of high-quality content for TV, radio, the Internet, and other media; a pioneer in access services for people with disabilities; and the source of educational multimedia used by millions of teachers and students every year. Check out the comprehensive links to information provided here and don't miss the interview with noted writer and one of my favorite literary goddesses, Francine Prose. Read her book, Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife alongside this feature. Video on sale here.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
We're back into Classic Season at Masterpiece hosted by Laura Linney. BookBuffet partners once again with WGBH Boston to give our members free books (5 copies of the current book) from which the new series is adapted. As a television viewer you can luxuriate in the stunning performances of the actors playing the parts: Dame Judy Dench and Dame Eileen Atkins are just two of an ensemble cast of 50 playing opposite each other in the first 3-part drama titled, Cranford adapted by Heidi Thomas from 3 separate books by the Victorian author, Elizabeth Gaskell. Praised by both Dickens and Carlyle in her time, Gaskell was inspired by the changing social and economic times of the late 1800's as the classes met the challenges and opportunities of the Industrial Revolution. Raised by her Unitarian Minister father and later married to a Unitarian husband, Gaskell covers the topics of the day as diverse as: revenge of a trade unionist through murder, individual travails after the Napoleonic Wars, and the interlocking fortunes between 3 country families. (Wives and Daughters, 1864-66) adapted and aired previously by BBC-Masterpiece is considered to be her best work. Gaskell was a close friend of Charlotte Bronte and became her biographer, (The Life of Charlotte Brontë, (1857). Of the series, Director Simon Curtis says, "Treat classics like contemporary material and contemporary material like classics." Get the insider scoop on the making of the series and take advantage of the BBC production team's reverence for classic literature through the many resources available on the Masterpiece website. Limited online viewing of the series is available in the US (not Canada) and you can of course tune-in to the series on television, as well as read the book. Win copies of Elizabeth Gaskell's novels for your book group by participating in our online discussion group. Details below.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
As the longest-running primetime drama on American television, Masterpiece is committed to bringing viewers the best in literature-based drama, mysteries filled with eclectic characters, and groundbreaking contemporary works. Next up is seven 90-minute mysteries starting August 30th and running through to October 18, 2009. Don't miss Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox who return as Detective Inspector Lewis and Detective Sergeant Hathaway in all seven NEW episodes. Like Sherlock and Watson, it's all about the detective relationship as the duo face an intriguing list of crimes in the picturesque village of Cambridge. Author Colin Dexter is the original creator of the Louis Series, which were taken from his Inspector Morse novels. Fourteen novels inspired the adaptation into 32 films spanning 5 years. Masterpiece is excited to continue in the tradition. The setting is not surprising as Dexter studied Classics at Cambridge and the sprinkling of clues using Latin and Greek draw on his experience as an A-level examiner in English, Latin and Greek for the Oxford Board. For all you crossword freaks, he was also a national crossword champion. For dates and episode summaries...
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
As the longest-running primetime drama on American television, Masterpiece is committed to bringing viewers the best in literature-based drama, mysteries filled with eclectic characters, and groundbreaking contemporary works. Summer is mystery season at PBS Masterpiece. It started with the award winning Wallander detective series starring Kenneth Branah, followed by the ever popular Agatha Christie. This month is another detective series that is scheduled to take viewers through to fall when Masterpiece Classic takes over. It's based on the novels by Colin Dexter. Many of you will know
Thursday, June 04, 2009
BookBuffet and PBS Masterpiece WGBH Boston have teamed up to offer you more great book give-away tie-ins for their upcoming Mystery Series. Join our Book & Film Club (instructions follow) and be entered to win free copies of these mystery classics for your summer beach reading. Then regardless of where you are, commencing in June 21st-July 26th, you can still tune in each Sunday to PBS at 9pm ET to catch six television episodes of the world's most popular crime writer, Agatha Christie. (check local listings) "Transcending the mystery genre, Christie remains the most popular novelist in history, with her work appearing in 50 languages in over 70 countries and more than two billion of her books sold to date. Published between 1920 and 1976, her 85 volumes of detective novels and short stories include other sleuths besides Poirot and Miss Marple.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
OK, I must admit to having a certain soft spot for Kenneth Branagh. You too? Is it his thin lips or a lifetime of stunning acting, directing, producing and screenwriting achievements? Not surprisingly, we are not alone. PBS Masterpiece's Executive Producer, Rebecca Eaton admitted to a 20-year crush on him in Los Angeles this past April 29th when introducing Branagh at the Paley Center screening of, One Step Behind It's the first of 3 episodes in Series 1 that PBS Masterpiece Mystery airs this coming Sunday May 10th with Sidetracked and Firewall airing on May 17th and May 31st respectively. Each show is adapted from the "Wallander" mystery series written by Swedish uber-author, Henning Mankell. Kenneth Branagh produces and plays the lead character, Kurt Wallander, a a burned-out police detective in Sweden who has a deep empathy with the crime victims he comes into contact with. The show was a hit for the BBC last year and now it debuts in North America. Branagh admits he became entranced with the character after blitzing through all 9 novels in rapid succession. He later met the author in Sweden at an Ingmar Bergman Festival. With impeccable timing Branagh and the series have recently been bestowed prestigious BAFTA awards for Best Producer for Best Television Series 2009 respectively. (Check out the YouTube video Filmed on location in Ystad, Sweden where the scenery plays a big part in the fresh-otherness of the series, it uses a primarily British cast. Othe other actors include Jeany Spark as Linda Wallander, Sarah Smart as Anne-Britt Hoglund, Tom Beard as Svedberg, Tom Hiddleston as Martinsson, Richard McCabe as Nyberg, Sadie Shimmin as Lisa Holgersson and David Warner as Povel Wallander. Nicholas Hoult, star of the film "About a Boy", makes an appearance as Stefan Fredman in "Sidetracked".
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Third in the Dickens Classics miniseries produced by WGBH Boston's Masterpiece and adapted by screenwriter Andrew Davies is "Little Dorrit" Dickens story about a woman, Amy Dorrit who spends her life caring for her father in the Marshalsea debtors prison. The five-part series features Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit, Tom Courtenay as Mr. Dorrit, Russel Tovey as John Chivary and the outstanding casts that WGBH Boston is known for. Check out the website's thorough resources, which include: cast and crew interviews, academic commentary by Tatiana Holway who received her Ph.D. from Columbia University, video excerpts of the films and extensive Dickens resources online. Don't miss our interview with Executive Producer, Rebecca Eaton in an earlier podcast introducing the series and BookBuffet's collaboration with Masterpiece. Join the Book and Film Club and stay in touch with other classic novel afficianados and receive updates on upcoming features. Andrew Davies and MASTERPIECE Producer, Erin Delaney also chat with Little Dorrit readers at bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/bn/board?board.id=Classics the week of March 30th and April 20th, respectively.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Fans of Dickens' epic novel David Copperfield get to have a sneak preview of actors David Radcliffe and Ian McKellen who star in the two-part episode on Masterpiece March 15 and 22nd. In the videotaped interview hear Daniel Radcliffe talk about what it was like to audition for his debut film role at the age of 9, and subsequently shoot the drama just as he turned 10. Harry Potter would become his next role. There's a short clip of Sir Ian McKellen describing why he likes playing Mr. Creakle, who we all know to be "the bad guy" in the story. (View Clip)
Meanwhile, the good people at WGBH Boston PBS have compiled a stunning list of resources to accompany your viewing/reading of this classic. The Teacher’s Guide for Dickens and the Book & Film Club resources for Dickens are live and also accessible from the home page. Join the MASTERPIECE BOOK & FILM CLUB today, and stay in touch with like-minded readers.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
A new "Oliver Twist" has been adapted for television from master-storyteller, Charles Dickens' classic tale of an orphan boy's struggle amid 19th century London. The memorable characters: Oliver, Fagan, the artful dodger, Bill Sikes and Nancy (among others)are played by a stunning cast:William Miller, Adam Arnold, Timothy Spall, Tom Hardy and Sophie Okonedo. Don't miss this two-episode show, which airs Feb 15th-22nd on PBS.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Behind every successful television production is a team of hard working, talented people. For the past twenty (plus) years, the woman at helm of WGBH Boston Masterpiece has been Executive Producer, Rebecca Eaton. BookBuffet caught up with Rebecca on her recent visit to California and we've podcast and transcribed our interview for you here. Listen to Rebecca tell us what she loves about her job, what's it's been like to nurture and grow the Masterpiece brand and to work with the incredible actors, writers and directors at the BBC with whom she has collaborated, and subsequently been awarded a bookcase full of Emmy, Peabody and Golden Glob Awards as recognition for excellence from her peers. Then register with the Masterpiece Book to Film Group and be entered to win one of several promotional give-a-ways: re-issued Penguin classic editions of the four Dickens novels adapted for Masterpiece with stunning new covers, and DVD's of the Masterpiece miniseries showing on network TV and for a limited time online during the series run.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
WGBH in Boston is the public television network that has provided outstanding programing for over 35 years. They're the folks who bring us, among other incredible programing, the series Masterpiece, which features the finest classic and contemporary works interpreted by the world's foremost actors. For years Masterpiece Theatre was hosted by the late and beloved Alistair Cooke. This January-May 2009 WGBH is airing a new series of films, adapted from four works of the classic Victorian novelist, Charles Dickens. It has been ten years since the last Dickens series was produced by Masterpiece. It featured such luminary actors as: Charlotte Rampling, Ian McKellen, Maggie Smith, Bob Hoskins, and HARRY POTTER's Daniel Radcliffe. WGBH's educational outreach department contacted BookBuffet to help promote the 2009 series to our members, as part of their Book & Film Club.
"This is a fabulous opportunity for BookBuffet members who are already familiar with our "books to film" feature articles to get a head start on reading or re-reading the most classic of all British authors - Dickens," says BookBuffet Founder, Paula Shackleton. "I'm dying to see who is cast in the new series, and who produces and directs it," she adds. BookBuffet members who join will receive a compliment of resource information to go with the series and a chance to discuss it online. In addition, BookBuffet will be producing our own podcast series interviewing people associated with the production and distribution, and our own book group pages. Here's how you can participate...