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Masterpiece Classic; Emma


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Masterpiece Classic
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Series Description

Each winter and spring, Masterpiece classic features signature period dramas. For 2009, Masterpiece classic premieres January 4th with host Laura Linney.

Emmy Award-winning actress Laura Linney will be the new host of Masterpiece classic, making her first appearance when the series premieres with a new adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles on January 4, 2009 on PBS.

In 2009, the series returns with works by three beloved British authors, including Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (January 4 and 11), starring new Bond girl Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace); Emily Brontë's haunting Wuthering Heights (January 18 and 25) with Tom Hardy (The Virgin Queen) as Heathcliff and newcomer Charlotte Riley as Cathy. In February, Masterpiece classic launches The Tales of Charles Dickens with a bold new adaptation of Oliver Twist, starring Timothy Spall (A Room with A View), and Sophie Okonedo (The Secret Life of Bees) in a heartbreaking performance as Nancy. In March, there will be a repeat of the acclaimed David Copperfield starring Daniel Radcliffe in the role that led him to Harry Potter. Beginning on March 29 is the highly anticipated five-part miniseries Little Dorrit from Bleak House screenwriter Andrew Davies, starring Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley, The Way We Live Now), rising star Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit, and Tom Courtenay (Billy Liar, A Rather English Marriage) as her father. On May 3, The Incomplete Charles Dickens closes with a star-studded The Old Curiosity Shop, with Derek Jacobi, Toby Jones (W., Infamous), Zoë Wanamaker (Harry Potter, Gormenghast), and Gina McKee (The Forsyte Saga). Series release date: 1/4/2009

Program Description

This adaptation of one of Jane Austen's most popular novels stars Romola Garai (Atonement, Daniel Deronda) as the "handsome, clever and rich" heroine. The cast also includes Sir Michael Gambon as the matchmaking Emma's doting father and Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone) as her suitor, Mr. Knightley.

4003, 1/24/2010: Emma Woodhouse has no interest in marriage herself, but is inspired by matchmaking for those around her. Once she has married off her close companions, she settles on the pretty Harriet Smith to fashion into her new playmate and ally. She persuades Harriet that she is too good for her suitor, the farmer Robert Martin, and encourages her to set her sights higher. But close family friend Mr. Knightley warns Emma that her meddling will cause great pain. Meanwhile, Emma is intrigued by the mysterious and elusive Frank Churchill, whom she hopes to meet at a party but instead Emma becomes the subject of unwanted attention from the vicar, Mr. Elton. A few weeks later, village gossip focuses on the arrival of young Jane Fairfax and a large piano that she has been sent by a mystery admirer. Emma refuses to believe that Mr. Knightley could be the secret admirer.

4004, 1/31/2010: Emma teases Mr. Knightley about Jane, but he remains tight-lipped. Meanwhile, Frank and Emma plan a ball, and Emma wonders whether she might be in love with him. With her matchmaking officially abandoned, Emma feels cooped up and bored. Mr. Knightley suggests a day trip to Box Hill for a change of scene. He also tells Emma that he suspects Frank and Jane are secretly in love. Emma rebuffs the suggestion — she can personally vouch for Frank's indifference to Jane.

4005, 2/7/2010: What was intended as a day of fun turns into a day of agony for everyone on the Box Hill excursion. Things come to a head when, egged on by Frank, Emma behaves very badly, insulting Miss Bates. Emma is berated by Knightley and realizes that her behavior was shameful. She tries to repair things with Jane and Miss Bates, but Jane will not see her. Miss Bates tells her that Jane has cried all night and decided to accept a job as a governess. Meanwhile, Knightley goes to stay with his brother in London — he will be away for a while. When Frank's aunt dies, the Westons expect him to propose to Emma — but his actions set in motion a chain of events that both shock Emma and make her realize something that has been in plain sight all along.

A BBC WGBH Boston Co-production © BBC MMIX



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Broadcast program

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Eaton, Rebecca (Series Producer)
Chicago: “Masterpiece Classic; Emma,” GBH Archives, accessed December 6, 2023,
MLA: “Masterpiece Classic; Emma.” GBH Archives. Web. December 6, 2023. <>.
APA: Masterpiece Classic; Emma. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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