As an exciting new lineup of programs rolls out from MASTERPIECE — the latest seasons of All Creatures Great and Small and Miss Scarlet and The Duke have recently wrapped up — MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Susanne Simpson gives us a glimpse of what else we can expect this year. She also shares some recent high points, including the day MASTERPIECE “broke the internet.” 

Tell us what we can look forward to on MASTERPIECE this year. 

We just premiered Nolly with Helena Bonham Carter, which is the story of Noele “Nolly” Gordon, who was a famous British soap opera star in the 1960s and 70s. She got fired from her hit show and had to rebuild her life. April 7 is the premiere of Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which is based on the true and shocking story of the British Post Office scandal. We also have a contemporary drama MaryLand, with two well-known British actors Suranne Jones and Eve Best, launching in May. It's a story about two estranged sisters who find out that their mother was leading a secret life. 

What other shows are creating a buzz? 

We also were able to get an amazing contemporary drama, Alice & Jack, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. It's making a bit of noise because of the two main actors — Andrea Riseborough, who was nominated for an Oscar last year for To Leslie, and Domhnall Gleeson, who has appeared in Star Wars and Harry Potter. Alice & Jack is a 16-year love story written by award-winning writer Victor Levin who wrote Mad About You and two episodes of Mad Men. It premiered immediately after Nolly on March 17. 

Why is All Creatures Great and Small so beloved? 

It's quintessential MASTERPIECE. It's a heartwarming drama, which is what MASTERPIECE is known for. It’s a show about a community of hard-working people for whom small kindnesses have huge significance. It’s our most popular program and has been since it launched in 2020. It’s the most watched drama on PBS, and it's number one in Passport streaming. The night of the season premiere in January this year drew four times the expected amount of streaming traffic on PBS. We broke the internet — there were just too many people wanting to watch and there wasn't enough capacity. That's only happened to us a few times in our history — with Sherlock and Downton Abbey. And we’ve just announced that there will be Seasons Five and Six. 

What else has been especially popular online? 

This year, we held a virtual event where we showed the first episode of Season Four of All Creatures Great and Small with the cast and the producer on a moderated panel. We had 13,000 people sign up for the event and 8,000 attended it, which is the highest number that we've had for a virtual event. We also have a newsletter for MASTERPIECE that goes to over 1 million subscribers and super fan insider newsletters that go to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. 

Can we look forward to any new mysteries? 

We always show our mysteries in the summer and we're going to kick off this year with a new program The Marlow Murder Club. It's a contemporary murder mystery from the creator of Death in Paradise. It takes place in a very cozy small English village, where four women characters — played by Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey) Jo Martin, Cara Horgan and Natalie Dew — investigate a series of puzzling murders. We have another mystery from author Anthony Horowitz, a sequel to Magpie Murders called Moonflower Murders that stars Lesley Manville (The Crown, Magpie Murders). 

Can you share anything about what's coming up in 2025? 

We have two very special programs: Miss Austen, based on a book by Nick Hornby’s sister Gill Hornby. It's historical fiction, the tale of Cassandra Austen who is looking for Jane’s letters and when she finds them, she must confront the secrets they hold. We also have Wolf Hall: The Mirror and The Light, based on the third book in Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy that we had on MASTERPIECE in 2016. We are so fortunate that the producer was able to convince Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance to come back and play Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. 

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