KCET's 'Country House Revealed' Series Begins Tuesday, November 13
KCET, the nation's largest independent public television station, invites viewers to get a rare glimpse behind some of the finest homes in Great Britain in Country House Revealed, airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
Hosted by art historian and BBC television anchor Dan Cruickshank, Country House Revealed gives audiences an exclusive look behind the estate wall of six of Britain's greatest private country houses which have never been open to the public. Cruickshank unveils the history and secrets of these luxurious abodes and examines the lives of the families who reside in them.
From the Tudor ebullience of South Wraxall Manor, to the rigor of Kinross in Scotland, to the beauty of Hawksmoor's Easton Neston to the palatial Georgian sweep of Wentworth Woodhouse, the Victorian exuberance of Clandeboye to the Edwardian ingenuity of Marsh Court, the properties exemplify the architecture and fortunes of the nation itself.
"South Wraxall" airs Nov. 13
Episode 1 tells the story behind South Wraxall Manor, an immaculately preserved relic of the Mediaeval and Tudor ages, hidden in the depths of the Wiltshire countryside. Built by a family with a dramatic and checkered history - the Longs - who rose in prominence through the Tudor period to become knights of the realm, friends of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and one of the most powerful dynasties in England. Along the way Cruickshank discovers how a brutal family murder inspired one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, examines how the Longs' skullduggery and connivance brought them unprecedented wealth, and meets both the last member of the Long family to live there and the house's current owner - Gela Nash-Taylor, founder of the American fashion house Juicy Couture.
"Kinross" airs Nov. 20
Host Dan Cruickshank explores the stunning late 17th century property, Kinross House. Kinross House tells a unique story about a man imperative to the restoration of King Charles II - Sir William Bruce, a onetime merchant who became one of the richest men in Scotland. With insight from Sir William's descendants, journalists and Scottish aristocracy, secrets long since forgotten are revealed, and offer an explanation into his ultimate downfall. Cruickshank is granted privileged access into the world of architect Sir William Bruce, who changed the Scottish landscape by building the first fully classical house in the country. The program follows the story of Kinross house from its early beginnings through to its current owners and poignant sale in 2010.
"Easton Neston" airs Nov. 27
Cruickshank examines the architecture of Easton Neston in Northamptonshire in this third episode. Easton Neston, considered an architectural gem, was completed in 1702 and is one of the most beautiful examples of a short-lived but glorious style known as the English Baroque. Work on the house was begun by Sir Christopher Wren and finished by his mysterious protégé, Nicholas Hawksmoor. Who designed what, and precisely when, has become a long-running debate, which Cruickshank unveils. In addition to unraveling its colorful history, Cruickshank takes a look at the house's present-day use, such as hosting a Formula One racing team as well as being the headquarters of a global fashion brand.
"Wentworth Woodhouse" airs Dec. 04
Episode 4 shows Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham, one of the largest privately owned country houses in Europe. Built in the 18th century, Wentworth Woodhouse was once one of the most powerful places on earth. The building exemplifies the workings of British Parliamentary democracy before the Reform Act of 1832, and is important in the history of Whig politics, its owners having included influential Prime Minister Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquis of Rockingham. But today Wentworth Woodhouse is something of a mystery. Few people know the house, and fewer still have witnessed its palatial grandeur at first hand. Cruickshank reveals a story of intrigue, family feuding and political wrangling dating back over two hundred years.
"Clandeboye" airs Dec. 11
Episode 5 looks at the Clandeboye Estate in Northern Ireland. There are few other houses in Britain like Clandeboye - a monument to a man whose life was like a Victorian fairy tale of adventure, and a monument to the golden age of the largest and most far flung empire the world has ever seen. Clandeboye House and estate was, like the empire itself, an epic creation - but unlike the empire, it still endures, a vignette of a now almost forgotten age and surprisingly little altered since Lord Dufferin died in 1902. The house is overflowing with relics from the empire and Dufferin's aristocratic adventures - stuffed baby bears, Egyptian monuments, tiger skins and weaponry from India, Canada and Burma to mention just a few, with extraordinary photographic albums that document the collecting of these unique 'souvenirs'.
"Marshcourt" airs Dec. 18
Episode 6 views Marshcourt in Stockbridge, Hampshire, designed by Edwin Lutyens. Marshcourt is one of the most extraordinary buildings in Britain - a white chalk Lutyens masterpiece, possibly his greatest, perched above the flowing waters of Britain's best and most exclusive fishing river - the Test. Built as an Edwardian pleasure palace, with its interior still miraculously intact, it evokes the decadence and frivolity of that vanished age, as no other. However, Marshcourt stands for something more: a Britain dominated by finance. It was Herbert Johnson, a broker, which paid for this opulence. The first great houses were built by robber barons, and 500 years later it was the bankers' turn. Marshcourt's narrow escape from the wrecking ball, as Johnson repeatedly teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, is testament to what that transformation has meant for this country.
On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. KCET currently produces the Emmy®, duPont-Columbia and Peabody Award-winning SoCal Connected, a hard-hitting prime-time nightly television news program that examines the issues and people of Southern California. Throughout its 48-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org.
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