The magic behind ‘Masterpiece’: Rebecca Eaton shares memories of bringing British dramas to PBS

BY Arts Desk  December 17, 2013 at 1:42 PM EST


Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of Masterpiece on PBS, talks to chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown about her decades long career creating British dramas.

Rebecca Eaton grew up an Anglophile, reading British novels and “pretending to be the heroines.” That passion helped groom her for her decades-long tenure as the executive producer of PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre.

Eaton has recently published a book about her career, “Making Masterpiece: 25 years behind the scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! On PBS.” She weaves in personal stories about her family, shining a light on what gave her that flair for drama.

Looking back, that’s what Eaton believes is at the heart of Masterpiece’s success: family drama. “That’s what people look for in Masterpiece. If it’s the Bellamy family from the first ‘Upstairs, Downstairs,’ the Forsyte family, the Bennets from ‘Pride and Prejudice’ … that’s what brings them in.”

What else brings them in? What has made “Downton Abbey” so successful? According to Eaton, “It’s a little bit of magic.”

Watch chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown’s in-depth broadcast interview with Rebecca Eaton about “Making Masterpiece.”