Rupert Everett, Helen Mirren Take Top Roles in New MASTERPIECE THEATRE Productions

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MASTERPIECE THEATRE kicks off its fall season with an inspired bit of casting: Rupert Everett as literature's most intriguing supersleuth, Sherlock Holmes, in an original story based on Arthur Conan Doyle's famous Victorian detective. Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking airs in one two-hour broadcast on Sunday, October 23, 2005 at 9pm on PBS.

"Rupert Everett puts a thoroughly new spin on Sherlock," said MASTERPIECE THEATRE executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "He's charming, complex, and easy on the eyes; the perfect MASTERPIECE THEATRE hero."

More heroes follow when MASTERPIECE THEATRE presents Kidnapped (October 30), Robert Louis Stevenson's ripping yarn for young and old alike. Iain Glen (Wives & Daughters) stars as Alan Breck, with James Anthony Pearson as Davie Balfour, the boy who is kidnapped on a swashbuckling adventure set after the Scottish rebellion against England in the mid 1700s.

The Virgin Queen, a lavish new production based on the life of one of Britain's most fascinating monarchs, also airs this season. Scripted by Paula Milne (The Politician's Wife, Second Sight), the four-hour epic explores the full sweep of the life of Elizabeth I; as a teenage princess imprisoned in the Tower of London, through her tumultuous 40-year reign, and her death at the age of 70. BAFTA Award-winning actress Anne-Marie Duff (Aristocrats, The Magdalene Sisters) stars.

"The Virgin Queen will bear all the attributes of the best BBC/MASTERPIECE THEATRE coproductions." said Eaton. "It will give a new generation of viewers the chance to enjoy a fresh interpretation of one of history's most important royal stories."

In other production news,MASTERPIECE THEATRE announced that Helen Mirren will return as Inspector Jane Tennison in a new Prime Suspect, slated to air in 2006. "Tennison is often cited as the character who inspired television's recent wave of successful but personally flawed female detectives," says Eaton. "We're proud to present the original."

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking is a coproduction of BBC and WGBH Boston, produced by Tiger Aspect Productions, with thanks to CBC. Kidnapped is a South Pacific Pictures production for CBBC. The Virgin Queen is a coproduction of Power TV, BBC, and WGBH Boston. Prime Suspect 7 is a coproduction of Granada and WGBH Boston.

MASTERPIECE THEATRE has been presented on PBS by WGBH since 1971. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Funding for MASTERPIECE THEATRE is provided by public television viewers. For more information, visit the MASTERPIECE THEATRE Web site at pbs.org/masterpiece.

Press materials and photography are available at pressroom.wgbh.org and pbs.org/pressroom.



Press contacts:

Ellen Dockser, WGBH Boston; 617-300-5338; ellen_dockser@wgbh.org

Johanna Baker, WGBH New York; 212-661-9445; johanna_baker@wgbh.org

Photography contact:

Olivia Wong, WGBH Boston; 617-300-5349; olivia_wong@wgbh.org