In season 6, Nonnatus house faces the changes of 1962. As they strive to help mothers and families cope with the demands of childbearing, disability, disease and social prejudice, the Poplar medics must make choices – and fight battles – of their own.
What are you most looking forward to in the new season? Share your predictions below!
We may have said farewell to Downton Abbey, but British dramas still reign on WPT. March brings new seasons of Grantchester on Masterpiece and Mr. Selfridge onMasterpiece, and April welcomes a new season of Call the Midwife.
Clear your Sunday evenings and make a date with your favorite midwives, vicars and entrepreneurs. View premiere dates and season previews below. Grantchester on Masterpiece: Season 2 Premieres 8 p.m. Sunday, March 27 Enjoy a new season of adventures, matchmaking and murder with vicar Sidney Chambers and veteran cop Geordie Keating.
Mr. Selfridge on Masterpiece: Season 4 Premieres 9 p.m. Sunday, March 27 See Jeremy Piven in the thrilling final season that dramatizes the climactic battle for the future of London’s iconic department store,
Selfridge & Co.
Call the Midwife: Season 5 Premieres 7 p.m. Sunday, April 3 Rejoin the nurses and midwives for a fifth season. It’s 1961 and Poplar is beginning to feel the winds of social change, along with improvements in housing, sanitation and healthcare.
Downton Abbey is over, but there’s plenty of great drama still to come in 2016. Check out previews for two highly anticipated premieres from PBS Masterpiece, plus the Season 4 premiere of Call the Midwife. If you need to catch up on past seasons, find links to free streaming video below.
Masterpiece Classic “Wolf Hall” Six-Episode Series Begins 9 p.m. Sunday, April 5
Internationally acclaimed actor Mark Rylance and Emmy-winner Damian Lewis (“Homeland”) star as Thomas Cromwell and King Henry VIII in this adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels, which chart the meteoric rise of Cromwell in the Tudor court — from blacksmith’s son to Henry VIII’s closest advisor.
Masterpiece Classic “Mr. Selfridge, Season 3” Begins 8 p.m. Sunday, March 29
Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”) and Amanda Abbington (“Sherlock”) return to tell the story of American entrepreneur Harry Selfridge. In the new season, World War I is over and the world wants to shop! Selfridge flirts with opportunity while courting disaster.
Need to catch up? Watch Season 2 episodes now through the end of the month. Or set your DVR for Noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 22 and capture all of Season 2.
Call the Midwife, Season 4 Begins 7 p.m. Sunday, March 29
Nurse Jenny Lee has gone her own way, so naturally, Call the Midwife delivers a new nurse on its new season. Watch as Call the Midwife also enters a new decade — the 1960s. Catch up with last season now — watch Season 3 for free throughout March at video.wpt.org.
With the “Call the Midwife” and “Mr. Selfridge” season finales this coming Sunday, it’s time we take a look at what’s next for drama on Wisconsin Public Television.
You can always find familiar faces on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, but the big news this week is what’s coming to Masterpiece this Summer.
This summer, “Endeavour” returns for a second season on Masterpiece Mystery! and David Suchet makes his final (so he says) appearance as Hercule Poirot. And, Doctor Who’s David Tennant returns to our airwaves in the two-part mystery, “The Escape Artist.”
But all this pales in comparison to the big news that Masterpiece is bringing back “Poldark” with Aidan Turner (The Hobbit) in the lead. Turner has some big shoes to fill … as one Facebook user put it:
“Oh my goodness how can they possibly improve on the first one – will have to check it out – only one Ross and Demelza for me, but you never know – they did Forsyte Saga again with Damian Lewis and it was awesome”
The reboot of the 1975 series is scheduled to air in 2015. Meantime, let’s enjoy all the great mystery and drama yet to unfold in 2014.
In the WPT video player there is a section that shows the most popular videos. Updated daily, this section offers a snapshot of what’s trending at the moment.
To no one’s surprise, Downton Abbey dominated this section of the player early on in 2014, but in the last week Downton has been replaced by another series from Masterpiece —Mr. Selfridge.
But the front runner is Call the Midwife this week. Online viewers like you have made the Season 3 premiere the number one show at video.wpt.org.
We expect Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfridge to remain atop the most popular list throughout their eight week run. So, now you know where to look next time you’re in the mood for quality drama from Wisconsin Public Television.
Anyone saddened that Masterpiece Classic “Downton Abbey” finished its fourth season last month should circle Sunday, March 30 on their calendar. That’s when all-new seasons of Call the Midwife and Masterpiece Classic “Mr. Selfridge” premiere.
If you want to catch up with the first season of Mr. Selfridge, there are a few options. Watch all eight episodes back-to-back beginning 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 23. Or watch online. Select episodes are streaming at video.wpt.org right now.
Read up on this month’s “don’t miss” programs selected by Director of Programming, Garry Denny.
You can find all the programs listed below and more on the WPT Schedule.
Great Performances “Magical Mystery Tour Revisited”
I have to be honest: I’m a fair weather Beatles fan. I like the well-known hits, but have much less appreciation for deeper cuts on their albums and literally no appreciation for their films. To some of you that may seem somewhat sacrilegious, but c’mon those films are just plain dreadful. We are all quite familiar with A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, but in 1967 the band made a film titled Magical Mystery Tour. To say that the film was a complete departure from their previous work would be an understatement. When the film debuted on the BBC in August 1967 a stunned British public was quite turned off by the film’s surreal, nearly imperceptible storyline and images of anarchy. The reaction was both swift and strong – most who saw it hated it.
In Great Performances “Magical Mystery Tour Revisited” the filmmakers set out to explore the origins of the film, why it was made and the circumstances in which it was made. There are interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as well as archival footage of John Lennon and George Harrison talking about the film, including outtakes from the film itself. “Magical Mystery Tour Revisited” is a fascinating study of artist excess, hubris and lack of insight into audience expectations. Great Performances “Magical Mystery Tour Revisited” premieres 10:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 and is immediately followed by the Magical Mystery Tour film in its entirety at 11:30.
First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty One genre that has become a staple of PBS programs is documentaries that have dramatic reenactments to help tell and propel a story laden with historical facts. Of course, if you tune around the dial you can see any number of cheesy documentaries with poorly acted and executed reenactments, but producers for public television deliver high quality productions. In our new documentary First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Freedom, the story of America’s founding fathers (and mothers!) struggle to make religious freedom a part of law comes to life. Using interviews with present day authorities on the subject of faith and American history, intertwined with historical dramatic reenactments, the documentary is an engaging film that successfully tells a little explored part of American history. During my preview of the film I initially felt like I wouldn’t make it to the end, but ultimately it not only held my attention, but also made me glad that I stuck with it. First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty premieres 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Breakfast Special 2: Revenge of the Omelets
I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t like breakfast. We all have been told it’s the most important meal of the day, but it can also be the most satisfying meal of the day. Several years ago producer Rick Sebak (A Hot Dog Program, A Flea Market Documentary) produced Breakfast Special in which he tantalized audiences with visits to cafes, restaurants and roadside eateries known for their breakfast food and atmosphere. It’s impossible to watch this parade of pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon and pastries and not instantly crave some breakfast. Well, luckily for our taste buds Sebak has returned with a sequel title Breakfast Special 2: Revenge of the Omelets. In the special Sebak visits more breakfast joints in search of unique menu items that keep locals coming back for more. Like the first special, I dare you to watch this new show without salivating and needing to get your breakfast fix. I don’t want to give away much more, but leave you with two words: lobster hash. Breakfast Special 2: Revenge of the Omelets premieres 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 25 followed by the original Breakfast Special, which you can watch online now.
Call the Midwife Holiday Special For fans of this breakout PBS series this is nothing but great news. The first season may have come and gone, but we have an all-new holiday special premiering 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30. Also, I’m pleased to tell you that season two of Call the Midwife premieres on Wisconsin Public Television in late March 2013. We’re committed to this wonderful series and are glad that it has found a home on public television.
Watch Call the Midwife at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30 on Wisconsin Public Television.
TV and movies would have us believe that someone within a few hundred feet of us is having a baby every few seconds. Every time I see a car pulled over on the side of the road or someone speeds past me on the freeway, I can’t help but wonder if just a few minutes earlier, someone uttered “I think my water just broke.” Of course this would inevitably have to be followed by a celebrity cameo to deliver said miracle (which they have never done before).
I much prefer the idea of a world where a large percentage of the local population has been thoroughly trained in all aspects of pregnancy. There’s just something about having someone (who actually knows what they’re doing) there on D-day that seems appealing. I mean sure, it would be a great story to tell the kids one day that they were delivered on the shoulder of I-94 in a taxi by a burly truck driver who was taking night school classes to become a nurse, but no one would believe you anyways.
I guess for now we’ll have to stick with a casual story of a hospital, a doctor, a team of well prepared nurses and plenty of anesthesia. Sigh.
Garry Denny is Director of Programming for Wisconsin Public Television. He is responsible for the acquisition, scheduling and delivery of programming services on WPT, and each month, he gives you the inside scoop on the best new programs in his post “A Look Ahead.”
Masterpiece Mystery! “Wallander, Season 3” Over the past several seasons public television has amassed a wonderfully unique and impressive collection of detectives as part of the Masterpiece Mystery! series. For my money the most unique addition to the lineup has been Kenneth Branagh as Swedish detective Kurt Wallander. Based on the mystery novels by Henning Mankell, “Wallander” mysteries are so moody, so dark, yet so totally mesmerizing. Against the serene and gorgeous backdrop of Skane, Sweden, Detective Wallander is faced with solving seemingly unimaginable crimes in a usually idyllic setting, while also facing some of his own personal problems and demons. “Wallander” is smart, thoughtful and totally engrossing television. Now in its third season “Wallander” has hit its stride and we hope will be a part of the Masterpiece Mystery! family for a long time. Masterpiece Mystery! “Wallander” airs on Sundays, September 9, 16 and 23 at 8 p.m.
Here’s Kenneth Branagh on his character, Wallander: “Sometimes he’s a beautiful poetic mess, sometimes he’s a just a mess, mess, but its genuine, there’s an authenticity to him as a person that I like.”
Great Performances at the Met “Wagner’s Ring Cycle” I’ll admit that opera isn’t exactly the first television viewing choice for most people. In fact, it can be darn challenging and intimidating to watch, particularly for folks with precious little time to watch anything on television. However, as public television proves year round we are still the only channel on the air that provides consistent, quality arts programming. And, if you have the chance to see all or just part of “Wagner’s Ring Cycle” you’ll be glad you took the time.
During the week of Sept. 10, Great Performances at the Met is bringing 17.5 hours of “Wagner’s Ring Cycle” in its entirety over five nights. Night one features a brilliant documentary about the making of this all-new stage production, including great footage of rehearsals, building and operation of the immense sets, and interviews with the creative team responsible for pulling off this massive television event. Nights two through five feature “Wagner’s Ring Cycle” in all its glory. It’s both spectacular and grand, with a stage presentation that will blow your mind.
I doubt you’ll watch all 17+ hours, but I urge you to at minimum to watch the documentary 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10 and also to see some of the actual opera during the rest of the week. You’ll be glad you did. Great Performances at the Met “Wagner’s Ring Cycle” premieres 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10 and continues all week.
Get a jump on this 17.5 hour event by previewing the first 30 minutes of Wagner’s Dream, the documentary about the making of “Wagner’s Ring Cycle.”
Death and the Civil War:
I’ve written here several times before that no channel on the dial does history better than PBS. We prove that again with the premiere of a new Ric Burns (Ken’s brother) documentary titled Death and the Civil War. In a style that we’ve happily grown accustomed to Ric Burns takes a look at the Civil War from the viewpoint of the war’s effect and influence over the way in which our country dealt with the unprecedented death toll and carnage of the conflict. The film also examines how the war challenged American cultural attitudes about death and fundamentally transformed federal government policies toward soldiers. This is a moving and thought-provoking film that gives a fresh look at something I feel we have easily taken for granted. Death and the Civil War: American Experience premieres 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 and encores at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20.
Call the Midwife
As you know, public television made popular culture headlines this year with the return of Masterpiece Classic“Downton Abbey,” which has gone on to become our most popular series in more than a decade. On the heels of that critical and audience success the programmers at PBS went shopping for more series that could appeal to the “Downton” fans and give our Sunday night lineup a solid boost in the new fall season. Well, they found it! Call the Midwife is a new six part drama series set in London’s east end in the 1950s and follows the intimate and harrowing experiences of midwives.
In a nutshell, the plot of this wonderful series follows newly qualified midwife Jenny Lee and the work of midwives and the nuns of Nonnatus House, a nursing convent, coping with the medical problems and personal challenges. I’ve previewed the first three episodes and can tell you that Call the Midwife is as engaging a drama as I have seen in a long while. And, just between you and me: there are more episodes in the works. Call the Midwife premieres 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30. In case you miss some or all of the Sunday episodes I’ve scheduled an encore run on Thursdays at 9 p.m. beginning Oct. 18.
The Wisconsin Public Television staff just wrapped up what is for my money, the most exciting meeting each year — the fall new program schedule meeting.
Each summer we all get together and hear about all of the great new programs coming to WPT in coming months from our Director of Programming. It is a one-stop shop for excitement and inspiration. Over the course of a couple of hours, we all get to watch advance clips that dazzle our imagination, grip at our heartstrings and make us laugh. It’s basically everything we all love about public television in one fell swoop.
Now, I’d like to share a bit of that with you. Our colleagues at PBS have made it easy by pulling together many of the same clips from the new shows that we saw at our meeting in the playlist below. Simply hit play and you will be introduced to Daniel Tiger, the new children’s educational program from the folks who made Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Watch an early look at Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl to see footage from the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history. Soar with a Snowy Owl, visit Martha Stewart’s kitchen and explore Call the Midwife — the most popular drama ever on the BBC, coming to WPT soon.
Stay tuned to this blog in the coming weeks for more clips from the great local programs and other national fare that will be hitting your TV screens this fall. And, let us know which shows you are excited about in the comments below!