Masterpiece [Theatre] Muses
I don't know about you, but I fell in love with the whole idea of historical fiction from watching various series on public television as I was growing up. My parents had one TV -- in their bedroom -- so my sister and I were limited as to how much telly we were permitted to see; and it had to be quality. Which meant we were addicted to Channel 13, NYC's public television station.
Home from school to watch Sesame Street and The Electric Company before sitting down to do homework. And after dark, the big treat was to catch the latest episode of Upstairs, Downstairs, Poldark, The Pallisers, or Brideshead Revisited... and some time later, the entire Sharpe series. Some of my earliest crushes were on British/Irish/Scots/Welsh actors in perfect recreations of period dress. My romantic imagination ran wild. Antony Andrews! Robin Ellis! Jeremy Irons! Sean Bean!
I credit these brilliantly written, gorgeously filmed, and sumptuously acted Masterpiece Theatre series (among others), for inspiring my own writing, particularly my historical fiction. They are clinics in storytelling, and because they are cinematic, offer a terrific lesson in how to craft a scene that "shows" rather than "tells."
This post was inspired by an article I just read online about a new Upstairs, Downstairs series. http://www.tvsquad.com/2010/08/05/an-old-favorite-gets-a-makeover-and-returns-to-pbs/?icid=mainhtmlws-main-wdl4link4http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tvsquad.com%2F2010%2F08%2F05%2Fan-old-favorite-gets-a-makeover-and-returns-to-pbs%2F .
It sparked my trip down memory lane, and now I invite you to join me. Are you now, or have you ever been a fan of Masterpiece Theatre (nowadays truncated as is everything else these days into just "Masterpiece")? Did any of the series ignite your creative spark? Did you take any of the famous literary characters depicted in the various series (or the actors and actresses who played them) as inspiration for any of your own creations?