Now known simply as Masterpiece, the anthology drama series was one of the first regular programs on the Public Broadcasting System and one of the longest-tenured shows on the air. It has served as a home for original movies, biopics, literary adaptations, and recurring series with an upscale aesthetic. Some of its most popular installments include British imports like Upstairs, Downstairs and adaptations of Agatha Christie’s detective novels starring Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Recently, Masterpiece has driven a ratings renaissance for PBS as the joint home (with the UK’s ITV) of Downton Abbey. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Ray Bolger, song-and-dance man (d. 1987); Evan Handler, character actor (52); Lee Philips, actor/director (d. 1999); William Sanderson, innkeeper (69); Sarah Shahi, mediator (33).