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Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Secrets of Three Iconic Homes


Air dates are Sundays, June 30th - July 14th at 7:00pm on WTVP-HD 47.1.

Henry VIII’s Palace, Althorp House and Chatsworth House

– Three One-Hour Specials Lead Into MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! Sundays, June 30-July 14 –

Following the success of the “Downton Abbey”-inspired special SECRETS OF HIGHCLERE CASTLE, PBS has announced details of three new one-hour specials that explore some of England’s other storied homes. The Sunday night lineup this summer will include SECRETS OF HENRY VIII’S PALACE, SECRETS OF ALTHORP – THE SPENCERS and SECRETS OF CHATSWORTH, all part of the ongoing series by Pioneer Productions. Each of the three specials precedes MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! on Sundays, June 30-July 14, 2013, 7:00pm-8:00pm on WTVP-HD 47.1.

While each featured estate’s remarkable beauty is noteworthy, it’s the hidden stories within the homes that set them apart. SECRETS OF HENRY VIII’S PALACE (June 30) revisits the often dark and twisted tales of the ever-fascinating King Henry VIII and his six wives, secrets that permeate Hampton Court’s grand façade and its lavish interior.

SECRETS OF ALTHORP – THE SPENCERS (July 7) takes viewers to the home of 19 generations of the Spencer dynasty. Althorp is best known as the childhood home and final resting place of Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. This special looks at the mansion’s interior and history, providing a fresh perspective on the life of the beloved princess. Apart from Diana, many other noteworthy Spencers have presided over the grand estate for more than 500 years, producing politicians, military heroes, dukes and duchesses.

SECRETS OF CHATSWORTH (July 14) explores the estate’s extensive grounds and tells, among other accounts, the tragic tale of Billy Cavendish, heir to Chatsworth’s 10th Duke of Devonshire, and Kathleen Kennedy. Kathleen, the sister of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, married the British aristocrat, only to lose her husband after only four months of marriage. Billy was killed in action in World War II. Four years later, Kathleen died in a plane crash and was buried at Chatsworth.

And, in a special encore, SECRETS OF HIGHCLERE CASTLE (July 21) takes a look at the real-life estate that is now better known as “Downton Abbey.” More famous now than any time in its 1,300-year history, England’s Highclere Castle has its own stories to tell. In its heyday, Highclere was the social epicenter of Edwardian England. See how all the inhabitants of Highclere lived, from the aristocrats who enjoyed a life of luxury to the army of servants toiling “below stairs.” Also find out how the current inhabitants, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, spend their $1 million in annual upkeep funds and what life in a fairytale castle is like today.

“What these magnificent estates have in common is not only a rich and immensely entertaining history, but a modern-day context as well,” said Robert Strange, executive producer at Pioneer Productions. “In their own ways, each house presents viewers with a living drama that stretches back for centuries yet still plays itself out today.”

“We are delighted to bring these specials to PBS,” added Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “British dramas are a centerpiece of PBS’ Sunday night lineup and this fascinating series adds a real-life dimension to those stories. These exquisite homes take on a dramatic new life once you understand the rich — and sometimes twisted — stories of Britain’s actual characters who lived in them. ”




About PBS
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 120 million people through television and over 29 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices.




For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of Programming, at (309) 495-0591 or linda.miller@wtvp.org



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