Archive for the ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ Tag

See Food Dining   Leave a comment


I’ve seen enough Viking Cruise-sponsored Masterpiece Theatre episodes on PBS to have sailed around the world. At least it seems that way, so when the opportunity arose to actually book a Viking ocean cruise, my husband and I grabbed it.

Unlike the river cruises, Viking’s liners on the open seas, in this case the Mediterranean, are larger. With 888 passengers, plus more than 400 crew members, the new Viking Sky is a mini-city with a Norwegian flair.


Like other cruise ships, dining is a major activity. With six dining areas, plus the option for room service, the Viking Sky doesn’t disappoint. A recent tour of one of the galleys helped put a few things into perspective. First, there are 13 kitchens with more than 100 chefs, chefs de cuisine and sous chefs, who work 10-hour shifts to ensure that everyone on board gets more than they need to eat.



Everything is made fresh, from the breads and pastries to pasta. Chef de cuisine Wayan explained that formulas are used to determine how much of each food item is needed on a daily basis. This involves a heavy reliance on past experience and nationality of the guests, among other factors. For example, the kitchen goes through 3,200 eggs per day!

Much more was shared on the tour and each meal on our 8-day cruise has been exceptional from crispy calamri to grilled sea bass, from fork-tender Chateaubriand to a hamburger. The combination of well-prepared dishes and exceptional service has made each meal a special dining experience.



Producing Television Masterpieces   Leave a comment


Although I think Rebecca Eaton, long-time producer of Masterpiece (formerly known as Masterpiece Theatre) is an interesting person, I am thankful the focus of her book, Making Masterpiece, is on the series. To be honest, I knew nothing about Eaton before reading her book, but that’s how I discovered she’s so charming. Still, the show’s longstanding quality programming is what drew me to the title.

Eaton shares enough of her life to explain how she became executive producer in 1985. From there, she recounts anecdotes involving actors, producers and writers; many of whom share their own memories of their involvement in the series.

I remember when Alistair Cooke used to introduce the Sunday night programs; I also recall that Sesame Street created Alistair Cookie and Monsterpiece Theatre which mimicked the austerity often associated with classic British literature.


Eaton incorporates self-deprecating humor, which is most evident when she confesses to initially rejecting Downton Abbey as a possibility for Masterpiece. Of course, she soon realized the error of her judgment.

Masterpiece Theatre first aired in 1971. On Eaton’s watch several changes have occurred: the name has been altered and there are now three seasons: Classic, Contemporary and Mystery. She explains how this came about and also details, as much as is possible, the day-to-day duties of being an executive producer.

Among the book’s pleasures is being reminded of past programs, or learning of ones I missed. Most of all, if it’s possible, it’s made me even more excited for the next episode of Downton Abbey and Sherlock and …

Making Masterpiece
Four Bookmarks
Viking 2013
291 pages