Friday, December 19, 2014

I know many people, like me, are anxiously awaiting the start of Downton Abbey, Season 5 on January 4.  To help ease the wait, PBS has a slew of great British programming lined up to tide you over until you can get your Downton fix!

On Sunday, December 21 at 8:00 pm, Tales from the Royal Bedchamber will be shown.  This series,
Host Dr. Lucy Worsley. Photo: Courtesy of
© Tiger Aspect Productions 2013
hosted by Dr. Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces (a job I'll be glad to take over, when she wants to retire!), will take a look behind the scenes at what actually went on in Royal State bedrooms.  Aside from being, as you would expect, much more grand than the bedrooms you or I occupy, for many years these seemingly private areas of the castle were actually central to the political future of the country.  Future monarchs were married in bedchambers and crowds would gather to observe royal births (must have been delightful for the mum-to-be!).  The royals eventually had enough of their private affairs being public spectacles and created private chambers, but the public nature of the royal bedchamber before this shift makes for a fascinating story.

The Great British Baking Show with (l to r) Sue Perkins,
Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and
Mel Giedroyc. Credit: Love Productions
Just before the premier of the new season of Downton Abbey on January 4, the 10-week competition The Great British Bakeoff begins at 8:00 pm.  This show attempts to find Britain's best amateur baker with a series of tests to prepare such delicacies as cakes, pastries and breads (I can tell my low-carb diet is going to take a hit just watching this show!). Mary Berry (the "doyenne of baking") and Paul Hollywood judge the contestants' results while Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc host. Each episode will feature three challenges: the Signature Bake, the Technical Bake and the Showstopper Bake. I'm excited to see how the contestants respond to baking under pressure -- surely some of them will have disasters, which will make me feel better about my own less-than-stellar baking efforts.

Finally, to put you in the mood for some spring planting, The Queen's Garden airs at 10:00 pm on Sunday, January 11th (so start out at 8:00 with all the food and drink refreshment you need already assembled, cause you've got a great evening of viewing ahead of you!).  This program follows the Buckingham Palace Garden (in the middle of London) over the course of a year.  If, like me, you've yet to be invited to a Royal Garden Party, you'll enjoy this opportunity to explore the beautiful urban garden.  Plants and animals that make up the garden, as well as a lake and a 15-foot marble urn (previously owned by Napoleon) are shown in detail.

If you should happen to forget to mark you calendar to watch these wonderful programs, they will be available to stream the morning after broadcast from a variety of sources, including the PBS video site, PBS iPad and iPhone apps, and PBS digital platforms on ROKU, Apple TV and Xbox.  While winter is normally a bleak and depressing time of year, the wonderful "Best of Britain" programming that PBS is going to showcase in the upcoming weeks gives us something to look forward to!


Jean | said...

Lisanne, I'm eagerly awaiting Downton. Don't have cable so will be streaming it the following morning. I've still not seen The Great British Bake Off. Is it on streaming as well? Or perhaps I should see if it's on YouTube? My mum's family were from the Lake District, so I do lots of British baking myself.

Lisanne624 said...

Hi Jean! Yes, the day after each episode of The Great British Bake Off, it will be available for streaming from and also on devices such as Roku, Apple TV and Xbox. I'm very happy that I'll have ample opportunities to view it! I'm not sure if it's on YouTube, but there are plenty of ways to catch up with it! :)

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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