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The Cazalets
updated 1.31.2002

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I hope that you film an adaptation of the third and fourth books in Elizabeth Jane Howard's Cazalet series. It would be a shame to do such a good job on the first two and then not complete the saga!

Maggie Barnes

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Having been a fan of Masterpiece Theatre for years, I felt I must try and counter some of the criticism you have received on The Cazalets. Yes, the characters may lack a certain depth present in the novels, but one has to remember that a mini-series is just that, mini, and has to be done within a certain time context. As to the sexual content, people need to realize that sex is a part of life, and the bedroom often is an excellent mirror of individuals' and families' states of mind and interpersonal relationships.

I believe you handled it appropriately and accurately. As to viewers' shock and dismay: Grow up! Overall, I have found the series delightful, engaging, and well-made. Thank you for another five hours of time well spent!

David Taylor
Goochland, VA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was in Britain in WWII, and served in the Air Force. I was in London and remember the bombing very well. It was said then by many that the Germans spared the fashionable high society of the West End and concentrated their bombing on the East End. This was because it was claimed the West End society was part of a movement to pacify the Germans, the so-called Cliveden Set. I was in several air raids and on one I recall hiding in the Haymarket Theatre during a German bombing -- narrowly missed by some bombs falling nearby.

The Cazalets series has excellent atmospherics and its quality is authentic to the times and to the setting. An excellent series.

Forrest S. Clark
8th Air Force, 44th BG 1943-1944
Kissimmee, FL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I have loved every episode of The Cazalets, from the acting (always wonderful), to the clothes, sets, cars, trains -- everything is perfect! You Brits can do what we Americans cannot do with such finesse. My husband and I look forward with eager anticipation to each new Masterpiece Theatre presentation. Thank you so much!

Kay Ziemba
Houston, TX

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The Cazalets has everything I like -- Brits, WWII, country houses, and sex. What a joy. It hearkens back to Upstairs, Downstairs and some of the earlier series. Good fun -- and I have ordered the books. Thanks, and keep the sexy Brits coming.

Marcia Smith
Camano Island, WA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The Cazalets is truly a great production! I only wish Hollywood could learn from your quality work. A highlight of the episodes is the background music. I love that music; it certainly adds to the nostalgia!

Walter Harpen
Wilmington, OH

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Enjoyed the beautiful music throughout the episode of The Cazalets on Monday, Nov. 12th. That was the high-point of interest to me. But on the other hand, I was greatly disappointed in seeing the large number of cigarettes in the mouths of both male and female artists, especially in a British drama. What was the point of it? Also, I wondered if left-handedness is common amongst the British -- is it? Thanks for this opportunity to submit my opinion.

Jacqueline Crayton
Leesburg, FL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Well, I for one love The Cazalets. I haven't read the books, so maybe that's why? It's only one of three programs that I look forward to each week. I hope next Monday isn't the end of it! Are they planning to continue the story like they did with Upstairs, Downstairs? I certainly hope so!

Cynthia Howarth
Plainfield, CT

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The Cazalets has embodied the stuffy traditions and sexual repression characteristic in my mind of the British upper classes. The series is beautifully acted, and the dramatic level and interaction happen at a completely enjoyable pace. Setting the story during the War gives it a certain bittersweet quality. The setting and photography are splendid, but some of the storyline seems to taper off without sufficient resolution.

I have looked forward weekly to the series, which has something ineffable and thrilling about it. Thanks.

Marian Weisberg
New York, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The Cazalets is a compelling series! I was hooked from the first episode. This is the first time I have watched Masterpiece Theatre and I am thrilled! It is a wonderful series, and I look forward to the rest of the shows you will feature in the future. Keep up the great work.

Leona Rossi
Rochester, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was fortunate enough to catch the first episode of The Cazalets when it aired in October. I am disappointed to learn that it is just a mini-series. I would love to watch it every week for an entire season. I love the actors and the characters, and hope that you will consider continuing The Cazalet Chronicles.

Amanda Bordeaux
Ypsilanti, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The Cazalets is an amazing film. I eagerly anticipate Monday evening in order to watch the story unfold. I am enjoying it tremendously. I wish it would go on indefinitely!

Elaine Hage
Grosse Pointe Shores, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I'm sorry to say that after watching the major part of three episodes of The Cazalets, I'm not really that impressed. I was disappointed in the first episode, because of so much emphasis on sex and everybody hopping into bed. I watched the second episode hoping things would improve. It was somewhat better, but not that great. Then we come to the third episode with the lesbian love scene -- it was disgusting, to say the least. I am broad-minded to some extent, but not that broad-minded. Needless to say, I got up and walked out when these two women started kissing and fondling each other. Yuck! I don't want to watch any more of this trashy story. The absence of a well-polished and exciting plot is obvious. I'm disappointed that Masterpiece Theatre seems to be heading away from airing what its title implies towards what titillates and supposedly delights some people. Bring back the great masterpieces that you have aired in the past. There are still plenty of stories to be filmed out there that have stood the test of time.

Patricia Johnson
Broken Arrow, OK

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I find myself very drawn to The Cazalets series. My father spent most of the war as a fighter pilot in England, and told me once of a visit to a stately country home similar to Home Place, where he spent most of his time playing snooker with the butler (whom, he said, was "a lot more fun than the owners of the house"). I love the old-time music and songs used during each episode. I can remember my mother, an actress, singing all of those songs, so consequently I knew every word of them, too. The Cazalets portrays an England that we of British heritage reminisce about -- but was it ever really as romantic? Those days were also full of racial prejudice, class distinction, and stifling tradition. But with a TV series like this, we can rejoice in our more enlightened era and still enjoy the values and sweetness of that bygone time.

Tina White
Vancouver, Canada

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Please consider completing The Cazalet Chronicles with productions based on the remaining novels in the series. It would also be wonderful to include a pivotal character from the novels, Archie, who was omitted in the current production and was a character who added so much to the storyline of the books. Thank you for producing this wonderful series.

Mary Hoeller
Charlottesville, WV

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I love programs about WWII and was looking forward to viewing The Cazalets. For the most part I have enjoyed it, but why, oh why, would you include the "lovemaking" between two women? It is such an abnormal act and very repulsive for viewers to see. PBS is for the "public," and as a member of the public, please do not include such scenes for us to see or you will lose many viewers. Thank you,

Mary Glancy
Prospect, KY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Of course I love it! Watching The Cazalets is like eating at a four-star restaurant. The best!

Rose Valdez
Placentia, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
My husband and I have faithfully watched Masterpiece Theatre since its very beginning (however many years ago that was), and it has provided us with more pleasure than could ever be expressed in this short paragraph.

The Cazalets is phenomenal -- a gem! I love every minute of it -- the problem is how to wait in between episodes. Thank you so much!

Emily Tipermas
Rockville, MD

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I don't ever have any idea of what is on the TV, but I turned it on the other night when I saw that Masterpiece Theatre was on and instantly recognized the Cazalet family. You see, they are old friends of mine though, since I finished the third book and have not been able to find the fourth, I have missed them terribly. What a delight to see them brought to life and to live with them all over again. Thank you.

Dana DuGan
Ketchum, ID

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I want you to know how disappointed I was the first week you aired The Cazalets. I had anticipated it being the caliber of Upstairs, Downstairs, but I found the steady stream of bedroom scenes tawdry and quite atypical of what I have come to expect from PBS.

I found myself having to turn it off when my thirteen-year-old daughter came into the room. This was not appropriate material for prime time. I was thankful that I was home that night to monitor the TV viewing. Lord only knows how many children got an eyeful while channel surfing that night. (We do not get cable channels for this very reason.) Needless to say, I am not watching the rest of the series, for as much as I love period pieces, I can't abide the egregious sexual content.

Sincerely, one very disappointed PBS fan,

Paula Assaf
Baton Rouge, LA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was excited to recognize the cook in The Cazalets, Daisy (Jacqueline Tong) from Upstairs, Downstairs. Both excellent productions.

Dennis Cook
Lansdale, PA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I have been watching Masterpiece Theatre for at least 20 years, and have seen the best of the best. I cannot stand all the vivid sex. In the first 50 minutes of The Cazalets, there were, I believe, six sex scenes -- and pretty vivid ones. I do not understand why, and I certainly am not a prude. I am offended by this, and after all these years of watching Masterpiece Theatre, why is it necessary now? I think it is degrading. I thought Masterpiece Theatre was staging a big comeback this year with this grand production. Believe me, after the last couple of years you need it. Clean these programs up so my grandchildren can enjoy some first-rate productions. PBS did away with all the wonderful children's programs but they could still watch Masterpiece Theatre.

Patricia Ann DeChurch
LaGrange, KY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I embarked upon the five-part saga of The Cazalets with great excitement. I was so disappointed to find it to be only a litany of sexual acts, most of which were adulterous or rape. I was also disappointed to see nudity at 8pm (when children could be watching). I am by no means a prude, and realize that other networks show just as much sex. I do, however, expect Masterpiece Theatre to have the good sense and taste to put such subject matter at a more suitable hour, other than the family hour. I know that great classics like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary address some of the same themes as The Cazalets, but the themes have been handled in a subtle way.

I know it's only my opinion, but as a viewer since junior high, I feel that this program is a cheap shot at attracting more viewers. I also realize that most of the serials on Masterpiece are not produced by you, but rather "picked up." I, therefore, chide the Masterpiece producers for choosing poorly this time. I'll have to wait a month before I can view again. Thanks for reading.

Jennifer Ellis
Baton Rouge, LA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I am so disappointed in the recent production of The Cazalets. I turned it off last Monday night. I have been patiently waiting for a good BBC anything! I do not like any of the American Collection series. I am also upset that Masterpiece has been moved to Monday nights at 10pm -- I should say outraged! You have really made me mad. Give me reruns of The Woman in White or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall! Something better than The Cazalets. I am very irritated!

Megan Diekema
Roseville, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Thank you for bringing us this excellent presentation. I am always interested in viewing any period piece from the BBC that you present. Please keep it up!

Evelyn Boake
Anadarko, OK

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I have been watching Masterpiece Theatre for many years and I can truly say that the first installment of The Cazalets touched a new low tonight. It was nothing but a load of British manure masquerading as good theatre. It might have British actors, but the screenplay seems to have been written, produced, and directed by sex-crazed soap-opera fans. I am convinced that they knew just how inadequate it was because of the constant smoke screen (blown from the nostrils of the actors). Is Phillip Morris under the bedcovers with everybody else? To favorably compare The Cazalets with Upstairs, Downstairs is a travesty. As you might have guessed, I will not be watching installments two, three, four, and five. Enough is enough!

Of course, I do not expect you will publish these comments, but at least pass them along to the ExxonMobil oil folks.

Carey Waldrip
Blairsville, GA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
You insult the talents of those involved in Upstairs, Downstairs to use that wonderful show as a promotion come-on for The Cazalets. Upstairs, Downstairs had technique, talent, and taste. All three elements seem to be lacking in the first episode of The Cazalets. If the Upstairs, Downstairs people had sex they kept their groaning behind closed doors. What kind of sick minds are producing this show?

L. Kilburn
San Francisco, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I like having Masterpiece Theatre moved to Monday nights, it is easier for me to catch so I won't miss any parts of a series. It is also an excellent way to begin the week.

The Cazalets is great. I caught the first two episodes last night. It seems particularly relevant at this time. Please keep producing good works. I also enjoyed Cora Unashamed a while back.

Cassandra Toth
South Bend, IN

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