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FAQs [imagemap with 7 links]


Frequently Asked Questions

Program scheduling
When will a program air? When will it repeat?
When will a program air on my satellite service?
Can you re-air a program from the past?

Videos
Is (program name) available on video? How can I purchase a video?

Schedule
What is the schedule for next season?

Technical questions
A narrator is describing everything that happens in the program. How do I make it stop?

Other frequently asked questions
What was the first Masterpiece Theatre production?
Why isn't (program name) included in your Masterpiece Theatre Archive database? I'm sure I saw it on PBS years ago!
Are all presentations adapted from books?
How can I find out more about a novel that's been dramatized?
Do you accept books/plays/ideas for consideration as future Masterpiece Theatre projects?


Program scheduling
When will a program air? When will it repeat?
The broadcast schedule listed at this Web site lists national air dates, but each PBS member station (and there are over 300 of them around the country) is free to determine its own broadcast schedule and repeat schedule. If you have a question about broadcast schedules or repeat broadcasts, you must check your local television listings.

Or, you can use the PBS Station Finder to connect PBS Online directly to your local public broadcasting member station. You'll be able to enrich your experience at this and other PBS sites with local content - including your local schedules - provided directly by your station.

Once you've selected the PBS station that you watch most often, you can easily access your local listings for Masterpiece Theatre from our Web site. From Broadcast Schedule, click on the "Customize Schedule" link on the left -- you'll see the dates and times of scheduled Masterpiece Theatre broadcasts on your local station over the next two weeks.

A program is often repeated within the week of its original showing. And, typically, a program or mini-series is rescheduled on PBS within 9 months to a year after its original release.


When will a program air on my satellite service?
Consult the PBS National Satellite Service, provided by PBS to home satellite dish owners (C-band). The service is also available to DBS subscribers; DBS carriers that currently offer PBS include DirecTV and the Dish Network.

The Service includes national PBS programs, a listing of program descriptions, and a schedule of airtimes and dates for a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week period. Your schedule will depend on the service you subscribe to.


Can you re-air a program from the past?
Unfortunately, we no longer hold the broadcast rights to many favorites from the past. And acquiring rights to those shows would preclude our ability to schedule new productions in the Masterpiece line-up. However, many older titles are becoming available on home video.


Videos
Is (program name) available on video? How can I purchase a video?
If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to visit our Shop link. Here you'll find a list of all titles currently available from WGBH. If the title you're looking for is not listed, try calling 1-800-949-8670 x498 for further assistance.

Unfortunately, not all Masterpiece Theatre titles from the past are currently available on video. Others are available but we do not retain the rights to sell them; you may be able to locate them via a search at an online video retailer.


Schedule
What is the schedule for next season?
The schedule is in ongoing development throughout the year. As soon as the broadcast dates are finalized for a particular program, they will be posted online.


Technical questions
A narrator is describing everything that happens in the program. How do I make it stop?
It sounds as though you're being troubled by the Descriptive Video Service (DVS). You'll be glad to know that you can disable this feature fairly easily.

Most newer-model TV's with stereophonic sound systems are able to receive a Second Audio Program (SAP) channel that provides enriched verbal descriptions of what is heard and seen on a TV's primary audio and video channels. The SAP channel is designed for use by the blind and other visually-impaired persons.

Most TVs and VCRs require you to turn on the SAP channel in order to receive and record DVS. The selector is usually labeled SAP, MTS, Audio 2, or Audio B on your TV panel, remote-control device, or on-screen menu. De-selecting the SAP channel should eliminate the Descriptive Video Service and solve your problem.


Other frequently asked questions
What was the first Masterpiece Theatre production?
The First Churchills was the first series to air on Masterpiece Theatre. It debuted January 10, 1971 and ran for twelve consecutive weeks on PBS.


Why isn't (program name) included in your Masterpiece Theatre Archive database? I'm sure I saw it on PBS years ago!
Many people believe certain programs aired on Masterpiece Theatre when, in fact, they did not (although they may have aired on PBS). Some of these frequently mistaken programs include Brideshead Revisited, The Pallisers, and The Forsyte Saga. Check the Programs section of The Archive for the definitive listing of all titles which have been presented by Masterpiece Theatre.


Are all Masterpiece Theatre presentations adapted from books?
No. While most of the titles in our nearly thirty years of broadcasting are based on adaptations of novels, many stories were written especially for television, perhaps most notably, Upstairs, Downstairs. More recent series such as Reckless, The Politician's Wife, Shooting the Past and Bramwell were also written as original screenplays.


How can I find out more about a novel that's been dramatized?
Look the work up in the Archive Database. The author's name and other information will typically be included in the Web site description.


Can I send you my book/play/idea for consideration as a future Masterpiece Theatre project?
Masterpiece Theatre is primarily a series of programs that originate with our producing partners in the UK. We're always reviewing books, scripts and plays for possible co-production, but they come to us from those partners who can provide the majority of the financing for any given project.


Still have questions? Email us!


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