There are great programing gifts from PBS from now to Christmas and throughout the New Year.
Special holiday programming has Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, featuring Sutton Foster and Hugh Bonneville, encoring on Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25. The delightful Call the Midwife Holiday Special also airs on December 25. For more music, the new Great Performances Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration at Tangle wood premieres Friday, December 28. And of course, there’s the always glorious Great Performances’ from Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration for 2019, on Tuesday,January 1.
Currently underway on the PBS schedule is the repeat of the first two seasons of the acclaimed Masterpiece series Victoria. It leads up to the third season that launches on Sunday, January 13, and runs through Sunday,March 3.
Along with Victoria, the New Year is brimming with new dramas, music, arts, history, science, nature shows and more. Plus we can look forward to the return of many acclaimed series. Highlights include a new season of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s always surprising Finding Your Roots, returning Tuesday, January 8 with a diverse group of actors, authors, politicians and more. Among those who will discover their unexpected personal histories are Laura Linney, Michael Strahan, Sarah Silverman, Marisa Tomei and politician Paul Ryan.
The new Winter-Spring season for PBS also brings a wide range of music programs, including new American Masters portraits of Sammy Davis, Jr. (Tues., Feb. 19) and Charley Pride (Fri., Feb. 22). Plus,Independent Lens “RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World (Mon., Jan. 21), is an electrifying look at the Native American influence in popular music.
Many of these shows were showcased at the Television Critics Association’s summer 2018 press tour. A highlight of the PBS presentations was a Masterpiece interview session with Daisy Goodwin, the writer, creator and executive producer of Victoria. Goodwin piqued everyone’s expectation of the show that stars Jenna Colman as the fascinating young monarch, wife and mother.
When Victoria returns the drama will find the Queen facing a crisis that threatens to end her reign. Yet the petite but fearless monarch stands tall to bring order as revolution breaks out across Europe.
As season three starts Victoria is pregnant with her sixth child, and there are other worries. The Revolutions of 1848 are underway, with the downtrodden throughout Europe agitating for the overthrow of aristocraticrule.
In England, this discontent leads to Chartism, a set of demands for universal male suffrage, the secret ballot, equal representation for voters and other reforms that were considered radical during Victoria’s reign.At the time, it was possible that events in Great Britain might turn out like the French Revolution, with royals losing their heads.
Passion is also an issue in the bedroom at Buckingham Palace, where Victoria is reluctant to risk more pregnancies. Parents now of six, Victoria and Albert find themselves at odds about their offspring, and increasingly with each other.
Victoria, Season 3 will introduce new historical characters,including the vainglorious Lord Palmerston, played by Laurence Fox from Inspector Lewis. Also vexing the queen this season is Kate Fleetwood (Harlots) as Victoria’s devoted but troubled half-sister, Princess Feodora, who seeks refugeat Buckingham Palace due to political unrest back home in Germany.
Returning are Tom Hughes as Victoria’s devoted husband, Prince Albert; Nell Hudson (Outlander) as the queen’s dresser, Miss Skerrett and Ferdinand Kingsley (Borgia) as Mr. Francatelli, the royal chef.
The story of Victoria continues to fascinate audiences, a tiny woman who rules over the largest empire the world has ever known. The Victoria series is from ITV, executive produced by Damien Timmer, Kate McKerrell and Daisy Goodwin for Mammoth Screen, and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece, the leader in great dramas.
PBS will provide more regal entertainment with Victoria and Albert: The Wedding (Sun., Jan. 13), a glorious re-imagining of one of the most famous weddings of all time with English historian Lucy Worsley. And the two-part Margaret: The Rebel Princess (Sun., Feb. 10), a two-part special that profiles the woman whose own life and loves reflected the social and sexual upheavals of the 20th century.
Tune in to PBS for royal treats.
Margie Barron is a member of the Television Critics Association and has written for a variety of top publications for more than 38 years, and was half of the husband and wife writing team of Margie and Frank Barron.