“Downtown Abbey," “Poldark” and “Sherlock” are three British series appearing on PBS’ “Masterpiece” program, as of 2015. In addition, PBS Masterpiece features a number of British mini-series programs.
Set in the early 1900s, “Downtown Abbey” follows the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the fictional setting of their home, Downtown Abbey. Throughout the series, class issues play out against the backdrop of war and hardships of the time. Maggie Smith stars in the series as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, and Hugh Bonneville stars as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham.
In “Poldark," a British officer returns home after escaping a Revolutionary War prison. Believed dead, Ross Poldark finds his former life in ruins. The show is a remake for PBS, which aired an earlier version of “Poldark” in the 1970s. “Poldark” stars Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman star as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, respectively, in PBS Masterpiece’s “Sherlock," a contemporary adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes." Set in modern-day London, the series follows the duo as they investigate and solve mysteries.
WGBH/Boston produces "Masterpiece," which launched as "Masterpiece Theatre" in 1971. Its programming focuses primarily on classics and mysteries, although it also airs some contemporary dramas.