PBS Distribution Sept. 15 launched its streaming channel PBS Masterpiece on Amazon Prime Video Channels for Canada.
“We have seen tremendous consumer demand and subscription growth since we launched PBS Masterpiece on Amazon Prime Video Channels in the United States in May of 2017,” said Andrea Downing, co-president of PBS Distribution, in a statement. “This expansion allows our committed and loyal Masterpiece fan base in Canada to enjoy these high-quality, award winning programs whenever they like.”
The channel launches with popular Masterpiece programs such as “Sanditon,” “Endeavour,” “Home Fires,” “Inspector Lewis,” “Poldark” and “Victoria.”
In addition to Masterpiece programming, the channel will also offer titles from the Walter Presents library of series from countries all over the world, subtitled in English, marking the debut of Walter Presents programs to Canadian audiences. Titles include the highest-rated drama in Denmark, “Seaside Hotel,” and crime thriller/mysteries “Professor T,” “Though Shall Not Kill” and “Before we Die,” among many others.
“I am genuinely thrilled to be launching Walter Presents in Canada, with its rich, bi-lingual culture and its history of active engagement with the world as well as its long-standing appreciation of world drama,” said Walter Iuzzolino, co-founder and curator of Walter Presents, in a statement. “I know Canadian audiences will embrace our collection of quality, award-winning series with a sense of curiosity and with real gusto.”
The subscription rate for PBS Masterpiece in Canada will be CDN $6.99 per month plus applicable taxes with an Amazon Prime membership.
PBS Distribution has been appointed Tonya Harley VP of marketing.
Harley will lead marketing and communications, supporting multiple brands and businesses, with a focus on customer acquisition and retention strategies for the company’s direct-to-consumer subscription businesses — PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids, PBS Living and newly launched PBS Documentaries — on Prime Video Channels.
“Tonya is an Emmy-award winning marketing professional with a proven track record of successfully delivering results for clients that exceed expectations,” PBS Distribution co-president Andrea Downing said in a statement. “She brings keen analytical skills and experience across a wide range of industries, and her ability to create targeted and efficient media plans to drive acquisition across broadcast and digital platforms will support our key primary initiatives perfectly.”
Harley joins PBS Distribution from BCD Travel, where she led their hotel marketing team as the director of strategic marketing. She was responsible for building a modern brand identity, designing social media campaigns to drive engagement, and overseeing the creative development, social media, content development, sales training, and public relations to support product launches.
Prior to working for BCD Travel, Harley was a senior marketing strategist with Advito. During her five years there, she built a strategic vision for developing digital products to help clients reduce travel costs while building client retention and loyalty, and led a cross-functional team in creating the product strategy, positioning, and marketing plan to drive new business.
Before joining Advito, she spent five years at Liberty Mutual Insurance, culminating in the role of manager of national advertising. She was responsible for more than $125 million in creative and media spend, focusing on the strategy and creative development of brand television, direct-response television, and digital and field marketing. Harley built the first-ever marketing portal for field sales agents to create brand consistency across the organization while helping agents leverage marketing tactics to boost sales.
Early in her career, Harley’s experiences were rooted in client management at Argus Communications, where she developed omni-channel marketing campaigns for her clients. She saw her strategic recommendation come to life as a television ad that was nominated and won a National Academy of Arts & Sciences Emmy Award for “Outstanding Community or Public Service Single Spot” TV.
A new season of “Frankie Drake Mysteries,” the “Worricker Trilogy,” Secrets of Highclere Castle and several “Walter Presents” series are among the titles available on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video channel in July.
The subscription rate for the channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.
“The Worricker Trilogy” is David Hare’s spy trilogy that exposes the battles raging inside the intelligence community in the name of security. It stars Bill Nighy as Johnny Worricker, a long-serving MI5 officer whose life, both personal and professional, has just been turned inside out. The three installments of the trilogy are “Page Eight,” “Salting the Battlefield” and “Turks & Caicos,” and each episode features a host of guest stars, including Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Walken, and Winona Ryder.
In Secrets of Highclere Castle, viewers get the insider story about the famous mansion from the multi Emmy award-winning series “Downton Abbey.” Viewers step inside one of Britain’s best-known manor houses. It may be more famous now than any time in its 1,300-year history as the setting of “Downton Abbey,” but England’s Highclere Castle has its own stories to tell. In its heyday, Highclere was the social epicenter of Edwardian England. Viewers see how all the inhabitants of Highclere lived, from the aristocrats who enjoyed a life of luxury to the army of servants toiling “below stairs.” They also find out how the current inhabitants, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, spend their $1 million in annual upkeep funds, and what life in the castle is like today.
“Walter Presents: Imperial” is an Italian series set in 1905. The young and handsome Pietro Neri, from a nearby agricultural town, arrives at the Imperial, a luxury hotel in the Italian Alps. Posing as a waiter, he is there to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his sister Caterina, who also worked at the hotel. But Pietro is unprepared for what awaits him at the Imperial Hotel. On one of his first days there he crosses paths with the beautiful Adele Alibrandi. She is the aristocratic daughter of the hotel’s owner, Donna Vittoria Alibrandi, a woman with her own secrets, lies and crimes who will stop at nothing to keep them hidden. However, the difference in class will not stop Pietro and Adele from falling in love and starting a tumultuous affair, complicating everything for them.
Nineteen people were hanged and one man pressed to death, while hundreds went to jail during the witch hysteria of 1692. Three Sovereigns for Sarah is a true story based on transcripts from the Salem Witch Trials and stars Academy Award winners Vanessa Redgrave, Kim Hunter and Phyllis Thaxter. Sarah Cloyce (Redgrave), and her two sisters, are accused of being a witches in 1690s Massachusetts. After the trial, her sisters are found guilty and burned at the stake and Sarah is given a life in prison sentence. For years she is kept in brutal and terrible conditions until her family rescues her, after which she sets about trying to clear her family’s name. With real characters and original transcripts woven into the dialogue, the film is a moving story about three sisters accused of witchcraft and what happened to those who were found guilty.
Based on real events, the Italian series “Walter Presents: The Hunter,” which begins streaming July 10, is the true story of the “hunting season” in Italy during the 1990s. In Palermo, after decades of bloodshed and government officials turning a blind eye to the crime and corruption of the mafia, a new lawyer decides it’s time to go after the two rivaling bosses who have been causing the deaths of criminals and the innocent alike for years. Saverio Barone is a young and ambitious prosecutor who is fighting for what’s right through the legal system. When he reports his own boss as being a part of the mob corruption, his colleagues criticize and blame him for the trouble he causes. Barone is uniquely equipped for the job, with a distinct set of skills that will make him known as “The Hunter.” Thanks to a number of brilliant hunches that he follows, spectacular raids and arrests are made, taking 300 Mafiosi into police custody.
In season three of “Frankie Drake Mysteries,” which begins streaming July 17, the ladies of the Drake Detective Agency are back solving the crimes the police can’t handle, from cases in London with new mystery novelist friend Agatha Christie, to a mermaid-themed jazz club, to swanky Toronto private schools, to busy telephone exchanges filled with busybody operators. Mary is still at the police station where her newfound confidence at work and life leave her feeling frustrated with her status as a morality officer and push her toward new professional goals. Meanwhile Flo finishes her classroom portion of medical school and is looking forward to her clinical in-hospital training, all while juggling a long-distance beau and the varied demands of Drake Detective cases. As Trudy’s love life with Bill Peters heats up, she also excels at her investigative work, taking on some truly hair-raising risks as she works to solve cases. And finally, Frankie continues to lead the team with aplomb and ingenuity, while exploring a romantic connection with boxer Moses Page.
Mixing political intrigue with personal drama, the Swedish series “Walter Presents: The Inner Circle,” which begins streaming July 17, is a thriller that plays out over the course of several days as enterprise minister David Ehrling is in the running to become the next prime minister, all while his press officer Lena Nilsdotter attempts to keep his past misdemeanors from prying journalists. Adding to his troubles, David must also juggle the demands of his job with his family life, which is under threat of falling apart.
In the Italian series “Walter Presents: Rocco Shiavone,” streaming beginning July 24, due to disciplinary reasons, the unorthodox, weed smoking, foul-mouthed Italian police detective Rocco Schiavone is transferred far from his beloved Rome to the small mountain town of Aosta. The sophisticated but cranky Roman despises the mountains, the cold and the provincial locals as much as he dislikes his superiors and their petty rules. But he loves solving crimes, the only thing that is keeping him from losing his sanity.
Finally, the Ukrainian series “Walter Presents: Hide and Seek” streams beginning July 31. In a small industrial town, a father and daughter love playing hide and seek, but during one of their usual playdates, the daughter mysteriously disappears and is nowhere to be found. Later, a video is released that shows the girl holding a sign with an unusual set of numbers, but no one knows what they mean. She becomes the first of several children to disappear without a trace. Two young detectives, Varta Naumova and Maksim Shumov, take on the complex case and their own demons during the investigation. They are total opposites, but both have experienced trauma and this case affects them each on a deep level. They become personally vested in finding the children and apprehending the kidnapper as they confront their pasts.
The Windermere Children, Masterpiece: Beecham House, The Queen at War and several “Nature” and “Nova” programs are among the titles PBS Distribution in June will release on DVD and through digital retailers.
Available now is The Windermere Children, a dramatization based on the true story of 300 children who were saved from the Nazi concentration camps, along with a documentary on the subject. The drama’s cast is led by Thomas Kretschmann (The Pianist), Romola Garai (The Miniaturist), Tim McInnerny (“Strangers”) and Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones”). In the dramatization, child psychologist Oscar Friedmann (Kretschamann), art therapist Marie Paneth (Garai), philanthropist Leonard Montefiore (McInnerny) and sports coach Jock Lawrence (Glen) have been given the task of looking after the children once they arrive. By the lake, the children learn English, play football, ride bikes, express their trauma through painting and begin to heal. Some locals taunt them, but they are embraced by others. Ultimately alone, the children are haunted by nightmares and hope for news about the families they left behind.
Also available now is the documentary Nature: Remarkable Rabbits. There are more than 100 domestic and wild kinds of rabbits, from swamp rabbits and Flemish giants to snowshoe hares. Yet, these prolific creatures are often overlooked and rarely get the respect they deserve — due, in part, to their adorable appearance and storybook depictions. Learn how hares are more than just a rabbit with long ears and legs, how rabbits have managed to survive in ever-changing landscapes — in downtown Chicago or Canada’s frozen boreal forest — and how they turn the table on their predators. Despite their remarkable ability to reproduce, many wild rabbits are in danger of being eradicated. Viewers join scientists in the field as they work tirelessly to save rabbit species from the brink of extinction and reveal ground-breaking new discoveries.
Also available is Nature: Cuba’s Wild Revolution. As the largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba is teeming with exotic biodiversity and host to spectacular wildlife found nowhere else on the planet. Jumping crocodiles of the Zapata swamp, the world’s tiniest hummingbird, thousands of migrating crabs, giant bat-eating boas that lie in wait for easy prey, coral reefs pulsating with life, and five-foot-long Cuban rock iguanas all call this island home. Decades of a socialist, conservation-minded government, American embargoes, and minimal development have left the island virtually unchanged for 50 years. As international relations ease, what will become of the spectacularly biodiverse wildlife sanctuary in this Caribbean paradise?
Season one of “Expedition With Steve Backshall” is also available. In this new series, adventurer and naturalist Backshall ventures into undiscovered territory, endures extreme physical challenges, encounters extraordinary wildlife, and teams up with remarkable people. From free-diving in underground river systems descending deep into the caves of the Maya underworld to kayaking Himalayan whitewater and scaling unclimbed Arctic peaks, these expeditions push Backshall and his expert crew to the limit. Some of the locations he explores include Oman’s Dhofar Mountains where he is the first to ascend the desert rock face, a Bornean cave system that has only recently been spotted from a dark shadow on a satellite image, and Greenland where he will attempt to summit an unclimbed mountain in the country’s remotest peaks.
Available June 16 is The Queen at War, examining Queen Elizabeth’s childhood as she endured WWII and how her actions impacted England as a whole. Narrated by Phyllis Logan (“Downton Abbey”), viewers take a look at Britain’s longest reigning monarch in history. The documentary offers a fascinating look at how Princess Elizabeth, just 13 years old when World War II broke out, was set on her life’s path to become a legendary monarch. Together with sister Margaret, the young princesses became symbols of hope for a nation wracked by a horrific war, the terrors of the Blitz and the relocation of over a million children. By 1945, Elizabeth had been transformed from a shy girl into a confident young woman and proved her mettle as a driver and mechanic in the women’s branch of the army. She was also already in love with the handsome naval officer she would one day marry. Told through the reminiscences of friends, including Lady Glenconner, royal biographers Christopher Warwick, Robert Lacey, Jane Dismore and Hugh Vickers, among others, the documentary features rare footage of the Queen’s war years culled from private and public collections.
Also due June 16 is the documentary Nova: Cuba’s Cancer Hope. In Cuba, as in the United States, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths. Decades of economic and political isolation have starved the country of medical resources, leading Cuba’s biomedical researchers to get creative and invent their own immunotherapies. Among them are very promising lung cancer vaccines that can help jumpstart the body’s immune response to cancer. Some U.S. patients are even defying their country’s trade embargo to travel to Cuba for treatment. The program explores the fascinating history of Cuban biomedical research and follows the journey of two cancer patients, one from the island and one from the United States, receiving the new vaccines. As they prove effective in some patients, Cuban scientists are teaming up with a leading U.S. cancer institute to develop an even more effective treatment by combining the best of both countries’ research and medical technologies.
Due June 30 is the drama Masterpiece:Beecham House. From filmmaker Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Blinded by the Light), Beecham House takes place in 19th century India at the start of the British Empire. The six-part miniseries explores the life of the mysterious John Beecham, a former East India Company employee who buys an imposing mansion in Delhi. Starring Tom Bateman (Vanity Fair, Jekyll and Hyde) as John, Lesley Nicol (“Downton Abbey”) as his mother Henrietta Beecham, and Leo Suter (Sanditon) as his brother Daniel,Beecham House follows the twists and turns, and complex relationships of John and those that surrounded and live in the mansion with him.
Coming June 30 is the documentary Nova: The Truth About Fat. For generations, fat has been the enemy, and overweight individuals have been stigmatized and shamed. Society has demonized it as a cumbersome health risk and cast overweight individuals as too gluttonous or lazy to make healthy choices, but scientists are coming to understand that fat is not so simple. In fact, it’s a fascinating and dynamic organ — one that has more to do with biological processes than personal choices. “Nova” asks and answers the questions that surround fat. Do we control our fat or does it control us? Why don’t sumo wrestlers suffer from the health problems that other obese people do? Why has evolution hardwired us to hang onto fat even when it’s unhealthy? What would happen if you had no fat at all? Through real-life stories of hunter-gatherers, supermodels, and a “Biggest Loser” contestant, the program explores the complex functions of fat and the role it plays in controlling hunger, hormones and even reproduction.
New seasons of “Grantchester” and “Seaside Hotel” and the Emily Bronte adaptation Wuthering Heights are streaming on PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in June.
The subscription rate for the channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.
Streaming starting June 5 is Wuthering Heights. Tom Hardy (Inception, Mad Max: Fury Road) stars as Heathcliff and Charlotte Riley as the heroine Cathy in this adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic love story. Set against the stark beauty of the English moor, the mysterious gypsy boy Heathcliff, adopted by the Earnshaw family, discovers his soul mate in his stepsister Cathy. But as a man unable to have the love of his life, he seeks vengeance against anyone who comes between them.
Also debuting on the channel June 5 is the documentary Henry and Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History. Historian Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb unfolds the extraordinary story of the tumultuous love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and asks: Was it really love that brought them together? And was it love that tore them apart? Using first-hand accounts from the time and visiting the places where Henry and Anne lived and stayed, the program delves into this passionate and volatile relationship — one which would send a queen to her death, amputate England from Europe, and lead to hundreds of years of religious conflict. Suzannah argues against many of the established theories and notions on Henry and Anne, revealing a very different story of their tragic marriage while attempting to answer many of the questions that are still fiercely debated.
The seven-episode “Walter Presents: Monster” also hits screens June 5. In the Norwegian crime thriller, a brutal murder reveals a mass grave which links old cases to missing people. Local policewoman Hedda is put on the case with special investigator Joel Dreyer, who comes from the metropolitan south. Their different backgrounds, personalities and methods immediately set them against each other. But when the investigation begins to spiral out of control, both detectives resort to questionable tactics in order to stay on the case and protect their secrets.
Due June 12 is season five of the drama “Walter Presents: Seaside Hotel.” It’s the summer of 1932 and like clockwork the regular guests of the hotel arrive to escape their everyday lives and relax for the summer. But when two new guests, the celebrity couple the Molins, check in, their presence interferes with the regular guests’ activities and their daily routines are disrupted. As always, the guests have their own drama and scandals that they need to resolve before the summer ends.
Hitting screens June 14 is season five of “Masterpiece Mystery!: Grantchester.” It’s 1957, and Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) has settled into his role as the vicar of Grantchester, preaching to a packed church. His best friend, Detective Inspector Georgie Keating (Robson Green), has come to accept his wife Cathy’s commitment to her job (just about). Mrs. C. happily juggles her roles as the vicarage housekeeper and being a well-to-do married woman, and after a trip to Marrakech, even Leonard has managed to carve out some happiness with Daniel. But Will’s faith will be thoroughly tested as he and Geordie are reminded once more that there’s darkness lurking in their little corner of Cambridgeshire. In addition to Brittney and Green, returning members of the acclaimed ensemble include Tessa Peake-Jones, Kacey Ainsworth and Al Weaver.
Available June 19 is the six-episode crime drama “Walter Presents: Trauma.” Adam Belmont is a brilliant and admired cop and has been investigating a series of deaths of young girls thought to be the work of a serial killer. As Adam gets closer to the identity of the killer, he is shot in the head but miraculously survives. With the bullet still lodged in his brain, Adam now suffers from amnesia. As he begins to recover, he discovers a young woman tied up and tortured in his basement. With no memory of his past, Adam is now faced with a terrifying thought: is he the killer?
Due June 22 is the six-episode documentary “Lucy Worsley’s Royal Myths and Secrets.” In each 60-minute episode, host and historian Worsley takes viewers across Britain and Europe to visit incredible locations where royal history was made. During Worsley’s tour through European history, viewers learn the true stories behind Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada, Queen Anne and the information of Great Britain, Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution, and more.
Finally, hitting screens June 26 is the drama “Walter Presents: The Berlin Dance School.” Conservative mother Caterina Schollack runs the prestigious dance school Galant in 1956 Berlin during Germany’s economic boom after WWII’s strict and authoritative attitudes begin to loosen. Caterina’s main concern is marrying-off her three daughters, Monika, Eva and Helga, to wealthy or well-established gentlemen. The sisters do their best to live up to their mother’s expectations and prudish morality while struggling with adulthood and first experiences as women.
The channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.
Available now is The Queen at War, examining Queen Elizabeth’s childhood as she endured WWII and how her actions impacted England as a whole. Narrated by Phyllis Logan (“Downton Abbey”), viewers take a look at Britain’s longest reigning monarch in history. The documentary offers a fascinating look at how Princess Elizabeth, just 13 years old when World War II broke out, was set on her life’s path to become a legendary monarch. Together with sister Margaret, the young princesses became symbols of hope for a nation wracked by a horrific war, the terrors of the Blitz and the relocation of over a million children. By 1945, Elizabeth had been transformed from a shy girl into a confident young woman and proved her mettle as a driver and mechanic in the women’s branch of the army. She was also already in love with the handsome naval officer she would one day marry. Told through the reminiscences of friends, including Lady Glenconner, royal biographers Christopher Warwick, Robert Lacey, Jane Dismore and Hugh Vickers, among others, the documentary features rare footage of the Queen’s war years culled from private and public collections.
“Walter Presents” is introducing new content on the streaming service in May, including new seasons of “Thicker Than Water,” “The Teacher,” “The Blood Pact” and “Inspector Falke.”
Available is the second season of the Swedish drama “Thicker Than Water” that picks up two months after the three Waldemar siblings have completed running the guest lodge for the summer. Having fulfilled their mother’s last wishes, the siblings decide to close the lodge for the time being. Oskar wants to re-open the lodge for the winter season, but isn’t sure he can do it on his own since his family has left him. Jonna is in London pursuing her acting career, but when she realizes nothing is going to come of it she decides to go back to the island to help Oskar with the lodge. Lasse is back in Stockholm trying to get his next business venture up and running, but no one wants to invest. In an act of desperation Jonna asks Lasse to come back to the island to help her and Oskar make sure the lodge is ready before the guests arrive for the holidays.
Also streaming is season two of the Polish crime thriller “The Teacher.” The series returns delivering answers and perhaps even closure from open questions left at the end of season one. Embarking on a new gripping storyline, teacher Paweł Zawadzki aka “The Teach” finds himself forced to take up a new job at an elite high school in Wroclaw. A few days after he begins, a tragic event takes place at the school — leaving many questions, but no answers. As he begins to investigate, Paweł discovers that the school’s prestigious facade may be a deceptive illusion. For this is no ordinary school, and these are not ordinary students — a murderous game is being played and the new teacher is there for a reason.
Streaming beginning May 22 is season two of the Dutch crime thriller “The Blood Pact.” One year has passed since Marius and Hugo shot Wally. They had agreed to limit their communication and contact, but fate has other plans. Their lives end up tangled again — this time messier than the first. Hugo’s older daughter Laura is dating a man twice her age who Hugo doesn’t approve of, Marius’s wife Kitty has finally fulfilled her dream of opening a restaurant but is having financial issues, and a gangster, Ron, is blackmailing Marius. When Hugo and Marius decide it’s safe enough to move Wally’s body, everything starts to go south.
Finally, streaming beginning May 29 is season two of the German crime drama “Inspector Falke.” Although Inspector Thorsten Falke is a devoted police officer taking down criminal gangs across the city of Hamburg, he has traded his family and social life in the name of justice. The second season of this gritty crime drama sees Falke with a new sidekick, Julia Grosz, as they’re thrown in the deep end to figure out if xenophobia is the motivation behind a gruesome murder. When the body of a Persian engineer is found at a local gas extraction plant in a small town, the investigation is stunted when the inhabitants of the town start behaving strangely.
“Baptiste,” a spinoff about one of the characters from “The Missing,” several “Walter Presents” series and two programs on the Windermere children who escaped the concentration camps are streaming on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video channel in April.
Available April 12 is season one of “Babtiste.” Retired and restless, detective Juliene Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo, “The Missing”) is visiting Amsterdam where his daughter has recently given birth. A lunch with old flame Martha Horchner, Amsterdam’s chief of police, turns out to be more than a catch-up on old times: she wants his help finding Natalie, a missing girl who is the niece of Englishman Edward Stratton (Tom Hollander, The Night Manager).
Available now is season four of “Walter Presents: Seaside Hotel.” In the summer of 1931, the newspapers are filled with stories of bankruptcy and world crisis, but that does not seem to interfere with Andersen’s hotel guests who, once again, packed their bags to spend their vacation at the Seaside Hotel.
Also available now is season one of “Walter Presents: The Cliff.” Set against the backdrop of a rural community in Iceland, “The Cliff” follows two detectives as mysterious events begin to unfold in the community. A young man is badly hurt in a strange accident at a remote construction site in the middle of the night. At first glance, the case looks like a freak accident, but could it be more complex than it looks? Reykjavic Crime Detective Helgi is sent to the village to help a young local policewoman investigate the accident. Together they discover a mystery that runs much deeper than one man’s death.
Due April 17 is season one of “Walter Presents: Kepler(s).” Samuel Kepler is an unstable cop suffering from dissociative identity disorder. There are three other individuals that are all competing to take control of his mind and his personality. Transferred to a small police station in Calais, he hopes the quiet and slower pace of life will help him and his family rebuild their lives.
But the death of a girl whose body is found at the refugee “Jungle” pulls him back in.
Coming April 24 is the season one of “Walter Presents: Floodland.” In the remote border region between the Netherlands and Flanders, a mysterious African woman is found wandering around on the Flemish side. Assigned to the case, the charming but nonchalant Belgian court psychiatrist Bert Dewulf is brought in to find out what happened to the deeply traumatized woman. Meanwhile, Tara Dessel, a Dutch police inspector of mixed descent, investigates a bloody shootout on a pleasure yacht. It soon turns out that there is a connection between the two cases.
Available now is The Windermere Children: In Their Own Words, a documentary that reveals a little-known story of 300 orphaned Jewish refugees who began new lives in England’s Lake District in the summer of 1945. The documentary features interviews with former children who survived the Holocaust concentration camps and were rehabilitated in a disused aircraft factory that overlooked Lake Windermere in the United Kingdom. The survivors relive what it was like to live in an unfamiliar country, with no family, not knowing the language or what their future held. The documentary also describes the children’s experiences as they were rounded up by the Germans in their hometowns and taken by cattle train to concentration camps such as Auschwitz.
Also available now is The Windermere Children, a dramatization based on the true story of the 300 children who were saved from the Nazi concentration camps. The cast is led by Thomas Kretschmann (The Pianist), Romola Garai (The Miniaturist), Tim McInnerny (“Strangers”) and Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones”). Child psychologist Oscar Friedmann (Kretschamann), art therapist Marie Paneth (Garai), philanthropist Leonard Montefiore (McInnerny) and sports coach Jock Lawrence (Glen) have been given the task of looking after the children once they arrive. By the lake, the children learn English, play football, ride bikes, express their trauma through painting and begin to heal. Some locals taunt them, but they are embraced by others. Ultimately alone, the children are haunted by nightmares and hope for news about the families they left behind.
Coming April 18 is the three-episode period drama The Widower. Co-written and executive produced by Jeff Pope (Philomena, “Mrs. Biggs”), The Widower tells the true story of Malcolm Webster. Malcolm (Reece Shearsmith) is a seemingly perfect British gentleman and mild-mannered male nurse; he is well spoken, charismatic, and personable. He marries his first wife, Claire Morris (Sheridan Smith) in 1993. A year later Claire is dead — the victim of a tragic road accident. Four years after the accident, Malcolm is broke and wants to start fresh in New Zealand with his second wife, Felicity. However, on their wedding night she feels off and for the next year suffers from unexplained blackouts. Felicity slowly pieces small clues together before finally realizing that the death of Webster’s first wife might not have been an accident.
Due April 24 is four-episode period piece The Great Fire. In the middle of the night on Sept. 2, 1666, a fire started in a London bakery on Pudding Lane. The blaze raged on for four days and brought the city to complete devastation, eventually becoming known throughout history as the Great Fire of London. Cathedrals, shops, and inns were all lost and 70,000 of the city’s 80,000 inhabitants became homeless. The Great Fire brings this moment in history to life through the eyes of the people on the ground, from King Charles II to Samuel Pepys to Thomas Farriner, the King’s baker whose bakery is where the fire began. Starring Andrew Buchan (“Broadchurch”), Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”), Rose Leslie (“Game of Thrones”) and Charles Dance (“The Jewel in the Crown,” “Game of Thrones”), this four-part drama recreates the absolute chaos of a sprawling city imploding and the fear and rumors of eternal treachery that spread much like the inferno.
A new episode will debut every Sunday following April 6 with the full series available May 17.
The subscription rate for PBS Masterpiece is $5.99 a month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.
Academy Award-winner Helen Hunt (As Good as It Gets, “Mad About You”) and Sean Bean (“Lord of the Rings,” “Game of Thrones”) star in the series taking place during the first year of the war following the intertwining fates of ordinary people in four countries, Britain, Poland, France, and Germany, as they grapple with the effects the war has on their everyday lives.
Hunt stars as an American broadcaster reporting from Warsaw and then Berlin as fighting erupts. Bean plays a World War I veteran-turned-pacifist trying to cope with chronic shellshock while looking after his working-class family. And Academy Award-nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) stars as a British fascist sympathizer who finds herself sheltering a young refugee.
In Manchester, England, Douglas Bennett (Bean) is fighting a losing battle for pacifism as his country spirals into war. His lawbreaking son, Tom (Ewan Mitchell, “The Last Kingdom”), is given the choice of prison or the military. His daughter, Lois, is a factory worker and talented singer, involved in a romance with upper class translator Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King, “Little Women” on Masterpiece) — much to the dismay of Harry’s aloof mother, Robina (Manville).
Posted to the British embassy in Warsaw, Harry forgets Lois when he falls in love with local waitress Kasia Tomanszeski, becoming close to her family, including her studious little brother, Jan. Harry also befriends Nancy Campbell (Hunt), an American radio reporter trying to uncover the truth about the Nazi regime.
From the Nazi invasion of Poland, to the near debacle at Dunkirk, to the fall of Paris, “World on Fire” brings to life the devastating effect of war.
Also starring are Blake Harrison (“A Very English Scandal”) as a stalwart English sergeant, Julia Brown (“Shetland”) as an armed services entertainer, Zofia Wichłacz (“The Romanoffs”) as a Polish resistance fighter, Brian J. Smith (“Sense8”) as an American doctor in occupied Paris, and Parker Sawyers (“Southside with You”) as a Parisian jazz musician.
The Jane Austen series “Sanditon” and a miniseries of the classic E.M. Forster novel “Howards End” are among the titles coming to disc and digital from PBS Distribution in February.
Writer-executive producer Andrew Davies completes Austen’s last piece of work — unfinished due to her death in 1817 — with the PBS “Masterpiece” series “Sanditon,” due on Blu-ray, DVD and digital Feb. 4. Davies (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Les Misérables,” “Little Dorrit”) takes the first 11 chapters of the final Austen masterpiece and creates an epic drama. Set during the Regency Period, the story follows Tom Parker (Kris Marshall), who is obsessed with turning the sleepy seaside village of Sanditon into a fashionable health resort. He enlists the financial backing of the local, curmudgeonly wealthy widow, Lady Denham (Anne Reid). Through a mishap while traveling through the countryside, Tom and his wife Mary (Kate Ashfield) make the acquaintance of the Heywoods, a local farming family. While describing his plans for Sanditon, their eldest daughter Charlotte (Rose Williams) is intrigued and excited and Tom invites her for an extended stay at the seaside town. Upon her initial arrival, the sensible and naive Charlotte observes hypochondria, avarice and attempted seduction run amok. Lady Denham is playing matchmaker for her destitute nephew, Sir Edward (Jack Fox), who is determined to seduce Lady Denham’s ward, Clara (Lily Sacofsky), and become the primary heir to his aunt’s estate. The arrival of wealthy, mixed-race heiress Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke), under the guardianship of Tom’s upright brother Sidney (Theo James), due to a promise he made to Lambe’s father on his deathbed, adds an interesting complication. Eligible men naturally find Miss Lambe fascinating, while Charlotte is intrigued by Sidney. Charlotte Spencer also stars as Sir Edward’s scheming sister, Esther. Even as Austen was succumbing to her fatal illness, she chose to lampoon the contemporary fad for tonics, sea water cures and other medical remedies. Undiagnosed at the time, her malady was probably Addison’s disease, which today is easily treatable. Austen died at age 41, on July 18, 1817.
Also due Feb. 4 from “Masterpiece” on DVD and digital is the four-episode miniseries “Howards End,” starring Matthew Macfadyen, Julia Ormond, Hayley Atwell, Philippa Coulthard and Tracey Ullman. The series follows Margaret Schlegel (Atwell), an intelligent, idealistic young woman who is courted by the older Henry Wilcox (Macfadyen), a self-made conservative businessman. After his wife Ruth (Ormond) dies unexpectedly, he becomes the owner of Howards End. Meanwhile Margaret’s passionate and capricious younger sister Helen Schlegel (Coulthard) takes up the cause of Leonard Bast, a young bank clerk who falls on hard times at work and at home with his partner Jacky. In the absence of their late parents, the sisters’ loving but interfering Aunt Juley (Ullman) tries to keep the young ladies and their brother Tibby on the straight and narrow. The adaptation is written by Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea, Gangs of New York).
Coming Feb. 11 on DVD and digital is American Experience: McCarthy, chronicling the legacy of Joseph McCarthy’s relentless search for anyone he deemed a communist or enemy of the state. The Wisconsin Senator’s crusade is now the centerpiece of any conversation involving the government’s role in decency, democracy and ethical conduct. This witch hunt, completely free of restraint or oversight, led to the trials and imprisonment of many celebrities, Americans and immigrants. This program details the rise of McCarthy’s political life which led to his belief that there was a great conspiracy threatening America, culminating in a chilling campaign full of groundless accusations, bullying intimidation, grandiose showmanship, cruel victimization and a web of lies to keep public opinion on their side.
Due Feb. 4 on DVD and digital is Nova: Decoding da Vinci. On the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, with guidance from historian Walter Isaacson, the program pulls back the curtain to investigate what led to da Vinci’s ahead of his time, legendary successes. The program examines how his scientific studies, from dissecting humans to studying optics, led to a host of brilliant inventions, such as hang gliders, armored tanks, parachutes and many others. The program further explains how this deep scientific curiosity was behind the most captivating work of art in history, The Mona Lisa.
Coming Feb. 11 on DVD and digital is Nova: The Violence Paradox. Violence is ubiquitous in our everyday lives. We see it in the news, in movies, on TV and video games so why do some experts say that violence is decreasing and that we’re living in the most peaceful time in history? The program addresses these questions and explores the intricacies of how violence permeates our life, psychology and everyday thoughts and actions. The program takes us through time and the human mind to investigate what impacts the violence rates and what people are doing now to reduce violence in the world.
Finally, on Feb. 18 comes Nova: Animal Espionage on DVD and digital. With the technological advancements of the camera industry, experts and viewers get an intimate look at hard-to-view species behind closed doors during their everyday lives. Camera traps and drones, completely hidden from the animal’s view, allow viewers to get closer than ever before to animals such as whales, tigers and elusive giant armadillos. The recordings featured on this program capture everything from the unexpected to the comical.
Two French series based on books by best-selling author Harlan Coben will stream on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel beginning in January, “No Second Chance” and “Just One Look.”
The PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.
“Walter Presents: No Second Chance, Season 1,” hitting screens Jan. 3, follows Dr. Alice Lambert, who realizes that her life has taken a drastic turn when she wakes up in the hospital from an eight-day coma. Her husband has been killed, she has been shot, and her young daughter Tara has been abducted. One afternoon she receives a phone call and a package containing a piece of Tara’s clothing. The abductors are asking for 1 million euros in exchange for her baby with one single rule: no police involvement. She embarks on a desperate hunt for Tara — with help only from her former lover, Richard.
“Walter Presents: Just One Look, Season 1,” streaming beginning Jan. 24, stars Virginie Ledoyen (Leonardo DiCaprio’s co-star in The Beach) as Eva. Eva leads a peaceful life in France happily married to Bastien along with their two children, Max and Salome. One day a mysterious photograph arrives and threatens to turn her life upside down. The photo is of her husband Bastien with a mysterious woman’s face scratched out. He denies any recollection of the event and the next night, he leaves with the children to stay in a hotel. Suddenly Eva loses all contact with him and the children. She now has only one goal: to find them at all costs, even if the scars of her own past begin to resurface.