To a generation of television watchers, he was also a familiar face as the host of “Masterpiece Theater” on PBS from 1993 to 2004, having succeeded Alistair Cooke.
From the Daily Beast: Masterpiece's Emmy- and Golden Globe–winning hit, Downton Abbey, has catapulted the public-television broadcaster with the stodgy reputation to the cool kids' table.
From the Boston Globe: Part of Downton Abbey's appeal is the smugness of hindsight. Just like "Mad Men" helps us think, “At least we’re not that sexist," "Downton" lets us congratulate ourselves about American social mobility.
From the Boston Globe: I loved the first season of “Downton," [but] season two has a phoned-in quality, miracles occur where skillful writing might have intervened, subplots wax and wane randomly. But I am an originalist snob.
Rebecca Eaton: “Downton Abbey is the closest thing to water-cooler television as public television gets."
Time: Rebecca Eaton has been the executive producer of Masterpiece for 25 of its 40 years. She has a passion for great drama, for great stories, beautifully told, that showcase extraordinary actors.
From Nat Johnson: I was stunned to learn from my studio producer that a musical legend would be joining the band that morning: Alan Civil had played in the Beatles’ albums “Revolver” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Holy Cow!
Our dear friend, and a magnificent actor.