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White Teeth
updated 11.27.2006

We received lots of strong reaction to our airing of Zadie Smith's White Teeth, pro and con. For more from Zadie herself on Jehovah's Witnesses, writing, racism and winter in Boston, read the transcript of her live chat.

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I am an avid Masterpiece Theatre fan -- I never miss an airing unless it can't be helped and then I'm sure to tape it. I may be the only individual left in this crowd of quality-TV viewers who still insists on non-sexual content. I realize that in the intellectual world sex or "erotica" is embraced with delight, what I can't stand is the pretense that the only realistic way to portray private acts is in showing it explicitly.

Rachel Walters
New York, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I love White Teeth, but I can't find the DVD. Is a DVD going to come out? It's the best film I have ever seen! Rocio Hernandez
Los Angeles, CA

Masterpiece Theatre licensed the right to broadcast White Teeth; we do not own distribution rights. It is our understanding that this film will not be released on home video due to expenses related to the extensive soundtrack.

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I enjoyed Masterpiece Theatre's presentation of White Teeth. I could not help going to the library to read it on my own. I had the pleasure of seeing Zadie Smith at a book signing last year. I commended her on the novel. I am looking forward to reading her other works as well. Keep up the great work, PBS and Masterpiece Theatre! You have found a loyal fan.

Bridgette Morgan
Chicago, IL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Unfortunately, I only saw the second episode of White Teeth but I fell head over heels in love with it. I then went on to read the book and love that. I was surprised that PBS aired such a different type of program, but I really think it was a great idea. I only have one question, where can I purchase a copy of the movie? I would really like my very own copy.

E. S.
Springfield, MA

Unfortunately, due to the vast amount of popular music featured in the White Teeth soundtrack, and the difficulty clearing rights for reproduction, this film is not currently available on video or DVD.

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Great show! I loved it. PBS took a bit of a risk airing this and I am sure there have been quite a few letters of shock and indignation, but this type of quality programming is completely absent from the rest of television. Hats off to PBS for the guts to do it! Keep up the good work!

Rob Long
Bellevue, WA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I thoroughly enjoy Masterpiece Theatre. I notice that you offer videos on your Shop Web site. However I did not see anything for White Teeth, which was the most enjoyable episode I have enjoyed for some time. Why don't you offer the video? Is there a link to another site where White Teeth can be purchased? Will you at least air White Teeth again? Great job in bringing a mix of the contemporary and the classics to television, which is in dire need of some thoughtful stories and a touch of class.

Elizabeth Parker
New York, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Thank you for deciding to take a chance and air White Teeth. It was a colorful, entertaining and wonderfully woven story. I understand the presentation of the Jehovah's Witnesses was not entirely accurate and that is unfortunate. Nevertheless, I found it very enjoyable and well done.

Elizabeth Keesecker
Mead, WA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
You have gained a new family devoted to your masterful productions. My family and I enjoy your work, especially your production of Zadie Smith's novel White Teeth. Keep up the great work

Michelle Washington
Cleveland, OH

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Multiculturalism, diversity, racial divide -- all appropriate words for this wonderfully made movie. I have never really watched PBS, not that I didn't like it. It's an excellent station that provides educational content for children and adults. I happened to turn to WTVI one night when I couldn't find anything of value to watch on the other channels and I happened to come across people of color -- today's people of color -- and I just happened to notice a diverse cast. And I mean diverse in an excellent way -- a way that may be considered the 'norm' in England. (Maybe the word 'accepting' would be more like it. It's not really the case for America, but it's slowly getting there.)

DIVERSITY is what it's all about. REALISM is what it's all about. ACCEPTANCE is what is should be.

I commend Zadie Smith. I commend PBS. And I rebuke anything and/or anyone that conceals the truth and 'happenings' in today's world of multiculturalism. My hat is off to PBS. My hat is off to White Teeth.

Sabra Robinson
Charlotte, NC

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Wow! I was amazed that for once PBS has actually aired a movie worthy of reality and not idealistic lives of the privileged. As for the sexual content that was shown, we ought not to be shocked, for we cannot hide from our primordial selves forever!

Oscar Martinez
Los Angeles, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
White Teeth was a fantastic window on British life! The presentation is good as a stand-alone as well as a companion to the novel. I am eagerly anticipating the opportunity to purchase the presentation on DVD!

English Rose
Santa Susana, GA

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