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Masterpiece Brings Familiar Friends And New Thrills To Sunday Night

As viewers nationwide look forward to the return of Masterpiece on Sunday evenings, the drama-filled programming block delivers a new lineup for fall 2018 packed with the return of period favorites as well as chilling new stories. We’ve previewed the familiar favorites (Poldark, The Durrells in Corfu) as well as two new miniseries, The Miniaturist and The Woman in White
 
 
 Masterpiece’s fall programming kicks off this Sunday, September 9 with The Miniaturist. Adapted from the bestselling book by Jessie Burton, the series follows heroine Petronella “Nella” Oortman (Anya Taylor-Joy), who marries wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt (Alex Sewell) in order to save her family from financial ruin in 1680s Amsterdam. Upon her arrival to the city, she’s greeted with two unsettling facts: an uncomfortable household run by Johannes’ sister Marin (Romola Garai), and her wedding gift from Johannes: a miniature replica of her new home. At first Nella is delighted by the gift and settles into her new life, but when dolls, pets, and furniture arrive anonymously for her new miniature home that seem to predict her future, Nella will stop at nothing to unravel the secrets of the Brandt family. 
The Miniaturist Masterpiece PBS
Left to right: Otto, Cornelia, Nella, Johannes and Marin. Courtesy of The Forge/Laurence Cendrowicz for BBC and MASTERPIECE.
Viewers are treated to a three-part series of The Miniaturist, with each episode thriving on a dramatic cliffhanger right until the end. For those familiar with Anya Taylor-Joy from horror and thriller films such as The Witch and Split, she thrives in a costume drama that relies on building tension as opposed to jump scares. The series sets the stage for later thrillers this season.
 
 
The Miniaturist premieres Sunday, September 9 at 9 p.m. on GPB for three episodes.

It’s time to return to Cornwall! A Masterpiece favorite, Poldark, returns to Sunday evenings for a fourth season. The story picks up just where season three left it: Ross (Aidan Turner) and Demelza ( Eleanor Tomlinson) distrusting one another due to affairs with Elizabeth Warleggan (Heida Reed) and Hugh Armitage (Josh Whitehouse), Dwight (Luke Norris) and Caroline Enys (Gabriella Wilde) reunited, Morwenna Whitworth (Elise Chappell) miserable in her marriage, and George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) committed to tormenting Ross. As conflicts in Cornwall escalate, viewers see a new side of Ross this season as he embraces his political position and spends time in London where new intrigues await.

Ross Poldark Aidan Turner Season 4
Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark. Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE.
While Ross spends much of his time away from Cornwall’s familiar surroundings, this season allows for the world of Poldark to focus on some of the supporting characters, including Demelza’s brothers Sam and Drake, Morwenna’s escalating torture by the Whitworths, and Dwight and Caroline growing their family. Without giving too much away, viewers can expect to see Ross in more life-or-death situations, Demelza trying to fit in to Ross’ world, George’s suspicion of Elizabeth, and the final scenes for a few Cornwall residents.
 
 
Poldark returns Sunday, September 30 at 9 p.m. on GPB for eight episodes.

Journey from Cornwall to Corfu this fall with the return of The Durrells in Corfu! In contrast to Poldark, much of The Durrells is pure comedy as Louisa Durrell (Keeley Hawes) and her four children continue to live and grow in Corfu, Greece. While Louisa’s aunt Hermione returns to Corfu and gives her another family member to look after, her children dabble in new career and romantic pursuits.

The Durrells in Corfu Masterpiece PBS
Courtesy of Joss Barratt for Sid Gentle Films & MASTERPIECE.
Perhaps the most interesting twists this season are what shakes the Durrells out of their comfort zones, including a trip back to England for two members of the family. Additionally, Leslie (Callum Woodhouse) finally must take responsibility for his actions while Margo (Daisy Waterstone) finds both love and a career calling, but she may not be able to keep both. But it’s Gerry Durrell (Milo Parker) who has perhaps the most significant growth this season, as he becomes a teenager and resents being the baby of the Durrell family. Look for the return of supporting characters fighting new battles, including Sven (Ulric von der Esch) and Spiros (Alexis Georgoulis) in the last half of the season. While the Durrell family are certainly the stars of the show, The Durrells in Corfu takes great care in fleshing out some of the show’s beloved supporting characters.
 
 
The Durrells in Corfu returns Sunday, September 30 at 8 p.m. on GPB for eight episodes.

Rounding out the fall lineup is a new miniseries based off of Victorian author Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White. The story follows a young artist, Walter Hartright (Ben Hardy), as he accepts a position from the elderly Mr. Fairlie (Charles Dance) to instruct his niece, Laura Fairlie (Olivia Vinall), and her companion and half-sister, Marian Halcombe (Jessie Buckley). During his time at Limmeridge House tutoring the two ladies, he is visited by a mysterious woman dressed in white who has escaped from an asylum and bears a strong resemblance to Laura. And while Walter and Laura begin to fall for one another, Laura is engaged to and eventually marries Sir Percival Glyde (Dougray Scott), who appears as kind and gracious but has a sinister side. 

The Woman in White Ben Hardy Walter Hartright PBS Masterpiece
Ben Hardy as Walter Hartright. Courtesy of The Woman in White Productions Ltd. / Steffan Hill / Origin Pictures.
Laura and Marian are soon thrust from the comfort of Limmeridge House into Glyde’s Blackwater Park and must contend not only with Glyde but with Glyde’s close friends, Count and Countess Fosco, who have bigger plans for the two women. Much of the series revolves around Walter, Marian, and Laura enduring various abuse while uncovering the mysteries Glyde and the Fosco’s have worked their entire lives to suppress, including the real identity of the woman in white. The series remains mostly faithful to Collins’ original work and sharp-eyed Masterpiece fans may recognize Ben Hardy and Jessie Buckley from their cameos on Call the Midwife and Endeavour, respectively. But it’s Dougray Scott’s menacing Sir Percival Glyde, as well as Charles Dance’s Mr. Fairlie, whose treatment of the series’ female characters is especially unsettling in the rise of the #MeToo movement that will keep viewers watching until the very end.
 
 
The Woman in White premieres Sunday, October 21 at 10 p.m. on GPB for five episodes.
The Woman in White Percival Glyde Count Fosco PBS Masterpiece
Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde at the wedding of Sir Percival Glyde and Laura Fairlie. Courtesy of The Woman in White Productions Ltd. / Steffan Hill / Origin Pictures.
One more Masterpiece update to note is that at the time of this blog’s publication, we will be airing our encore presentation of Downton Abbey Season 4 on Monday nights this fall at 12 a.m. immediately after Amanpour & Company. While previous encore presentations have aired earlier on Monday nights, we invite fans to revisit Downton on GPB Passport if the new time is inconvenient.
 
 
Additionally, we have a special Downton Abbey giveaway! Our social media manager recently visited Downton Abbey: The Exhibition during its New York City run and we have one guidebook from the exhibition to give away. If you’d like a chance to win, please enter below. Contest ends September 14, 2018.
Downton Abbey exhibition book
Rachel Buchman Guest Blogger

Rachel Buchman serves as the Social Media Community Manager at GPB. She earned her degree in English Language and Literature from The University of Chicago and has been contributing to GPB’s social media platforms since 2016. She is an avid British and Australian TV fan with a love for all things Masterpiece Theatre. Outside... more