Editor’s note: The fourth season of “Downton Abbey” will start airing on Jan. 5 on PBS, and a fifth one has recently been announced, too. Until then, here is one of several books that have crossed out desks recently that explore aspects of the show and the era.
"MAKING MASTERPIECE: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at 'Masterpiece Theatre' and 'Mystery!' on PBS,” by Rebecca Eaton, Viking, $29.95, 320 pages (nf)
“Making Masterpiece” is a revealing memoir by Rebecca Eaton. The Emmy award-winning producer captures her audience as she discusses what goes on behind the scenes of "Mystery!" and "Masterpiece Theatre."
Eaton has presided over PBS’ “Masterpiece” for 25 years. She has overseen shows such as “Sherlock,” “Upstairs, Downstairs,” “The Forsyte Saga” and “Cranford.” She has also worked on Jane Austen and Shakespeare films and helped make them applicable to a younger audience.
The preface, written by Kenneth Branagh, is perhaps one of the most touching moments in the book. Readers get a real sense of the contributions Eaton has made to the entertainment industry. Eaton also includes personal photographs that enhance the stories she tells.
Readers are able to get to know Eaton on a personal level. She shares personal stories about her relationships with Maggie Smith, Daniel Radcliffe, Kenneth Branagh and Benedict Cumberbatch. She also describes hit shows such as “Downton Abbey” and even includes photos of the iconic film set.
Eaton is a likeable author, who is humorous, tactful and smart. She truly knows how to bring great drama to the television screen.
“Making Masterpiece” is an insightful book. It shows the hard work and dedication Eaton puts into her work.
Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.