Finally! The good folks over at Masterpiece Theatre have released the 2010 schedule for Masterpiece Classic. This season seems to be a blending of old and new with many of the dramas being set around WWI and WWII. Again, we are given a heaping dose of Jane Austen with 1 new production and 2 encore presentations (and between you and me, I think that we have had enough Jane Austen to last us a couple of decades or so). But what I am most looking forward to is a Return to Cranford. Here is the complete schedule:
Cranford: Dec. 20-Jan. 3. The season kicks off with an encore presentation of Cranford. Set in a small English village on the cusp of change, Cranford stars many notable British actors including Eileen Atkins, Imelda Staunton, Judi Dench, and Michael Gambon. If you haven't seen this one yet, take advantage of this opportunity.
Return to Cranford: Jan. 10-Jan. 17. Old friends reunite in this sequel to the original Cranford. New faces arrive as well including Jonathan Pryce and Tim Curry.
Emma: Jan. 24-Feb. 7. Jane Austen's classic story of matchmaking gets a do-over with many faces that you should recognize from othe Masterpiece productions. Romola Garai is Emma, Johnny Lee Miller is Mr. Knightly, and Michael Gambon is Mr. Woodhouse.
Northanger Abbey: Feb. 14. Encore presentation of Jane Austen's first complete novel. Stars Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland and JJ Field as Henry Tilney. My sister is swooning already.
Persuasion: Feb. 21. Encore presentation of Jane Austen's last complete novel. Stars Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot and Rupert Penry-Jones as Capt. Wentworth.
The 39 Steps: Feb. 28. Agent Richard Hanney must battle German spies on the eve of WWI. Let's see how it compares to the Hitchcock version. Stars Rupert Penry-Jones.
Sharpe's Challange & Sharpe's Peril: March 28-April 4. Based on the novels of Bernard Cornwell, soldier/adventurer Richard Sharpe heads to India to quiet a rebellion. Stars Sean Bean.
The Diary of Anne Frank: April 11. The true story of a young woman whose life and death became a symbol of the tragedy of the Holocaust. Stars newcomer Ellie Kendrick.
Small Island: April 18-25. The season concludes with the story of a young Jamaican woman whose move to gritty post-war London proves to be less than she had imagined. Stars Naomie Harries, Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre!!), and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Looks like this season will be quite a mixed bag with a little something for everyone. Also looks like they weren't kidding when they said that the "bonnet dramas" would be fading for a time. As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we will be treated to classics that reflect many different times gone by. Here's hoping for a great season!