Rebecca Eaton

These are masterful times for "Masterpiece" producer


There really was a time when "Masterpiece" seemed to be wobbling. The underwriter had left and the British shows were becoming scarce; so were the viewers. Then a remarkable comeback began, peaking Sunday (Feb. 23), with the two-hour "Downton Abbey" season-finale. Much of that centers on Rebecca Eaton, now in her 29th year as the "Masterpiece" executive producer. Here's the story I sent to papers:


Sir Ken and I have a lot in common


So it turns out that Ken Branagh -- or Sir Kenneth, as he's now known -- has something in common with me.

In most areas, we're far apart. He's mastered Shakespeare plays; I don't understand them. He's been knighted; I've seen "Camelot."

What we have in common, however, is illustrated by an exceptionally inept serving tray that it took me months to make in shop class. This remains on exhibit at the family cottage -- which my grandfather built, shortly after building his family home. The building-stuff trait bypassed me entirely.

"Downton Abbey" brings TV elegance


You're first duty now is to watch the season-openers of the IFC (Independent Film Channel) comedies, at 10 and 10:30 p.m. tonight (Friday, Jan. 6).

They're both odd and funny; there's a preview two blogs ago. The blog that I sent after that has newsy bits about NBC's makeover.

That leaves your next duty, to catch Sunday's elegant "Downton Abbey" season-opener. Here's the story I sent to papers; later, I'll also put a handy guide to the characters:

 By MIKE HUGHES