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The Complete Zen Series | Masterpiece Mystery! Zen

Detective Aurelio Zen simply wants to solve crimes and bring justice where deserved but it’s easier said than done when his own bosses are taking part in criminal activity. But where there’s a will there’s a way and nothing can stop Zen from putting in a good-faith attempt at his goals… or is there? Separated from his wife and sleeping under his mother’s roof, things might not be going particularly well in his personal life, but all the better for keeping his focus on each case he encounters. Watch the complete Masterpiece Mystery! Zen series back-to-back Sunday, December 16 beginning at 8:00pm on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.


Zen: Vendetta

Zen is on what seems to be a solo quest for the truth when a wealthy and affluent construction tycoon is murdered in his own home. The corrupt Ministry involves itself and urges Zen to acquit the main suspect, all the while his boss demands conviction. The murder presents an opportunity for Zen to salvage his reputation and image. He’s determined as ever to uncover the truth but will the beautiful new secretary assigned to his team keep his eye off of the prize? Oh, and as if she’s not enough of a distraction, Zen must avoid the wrath of a convicted killer on his way to Rome and out to get revenge on those who sent him away to prison – specifically Zen!

Watch Zen: Vendetta Sunday, December 16 at 8:00pm on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.


Zen: Cabal

As if solving a crime isn’t hard enough, once again, the search for the truth becomes more complicated than necessary when the Ministry gets involved and directs Detective Zen to go against the law and dismiss the death of a wealthy couple’s son as a suicide. The prosecutor assigned to the case aligns with Zen’s honest objectives and the fact that she is strikingly attractive doesn’t hurt his decision to go against the all-powerful Ministry. As beautiful as Prosecutor Pirlo is, Zen is still interested in the department’s secretary, Tania Moretti. In fact, he finds himself in a sticky situation when he must reject the Prosecutor’s bold advances. As Zen delves deeper into the investigation, it becomes clearer that suicide was not the cause of death and if it was murder, it could only have been the work of a sophisticated and organized criminal group. It seems that nothing in Zen’s professional or personal life can go smoothly, and of course, another man has his sights set on Tania. Will Zen succeed as a detective and in love, or is that too much to ask?

Watch Zen: Cabal Sunday, December 16 at 9:30pm on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.


Zen: Rat King

There’s a new boss in town and he’s brought some new rules with him. Mainly on his agenda: no romantic “rendezvous” between his employees. Bad news for Zen, who after much adieu and effort finally transformed his fascination with Tania into the reality he dreamed of…and Ernesto Hueber is about to put an end to it. But his forbidden relationship must be put on the backburner. After all, he’s in a profession of life and death! A member of a powerful Italian family is kidnapped, and paying a ransom would resolve a potential deadly outcome. However, in Italy paying off criminals (even if it’s a ransom) is illegal. He is partnered up with a rival detective who is much more interested in advancing his career and status than freeing a hostage or bringing justice. The opportunist detective even makes a rash proposal to Zen, who is already contemplating partaking in an immoral and illegal activity.  Will he give in to temptation? As always, Detective Zen has someone after him. With so much on his plate and a lot at stake, it seems something is bound to go wrong! The question is in which area will he take a fall…love, his life, or his career? 

Watch Zen: Rat King Sunday, December 16 at 11:00pm on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.


Zen may be a detective, but he certainly didn’t appear out of thin air! It all started with Michael Dibdin’s novels. Watch a behind-the-scenes video of the Zen cast and crew discussing the process of adapting the novel for a television series. 

For more intriguing, entertaining, and addicting British programming any day and time of the week, be sure to tune into our 24/7 British program channel, WETA UK. Learn more about it here and explore all the programs WETA UK has to offer.


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Free Movies in DC | WETA Movie Night December 15

Looking for free, compelling, exciting, and commercial-free movies in DC, MD, and VA this weekend? WETA brings great feature films and documentaries right into your home every Saturday beginning at 9:30pm! This weekend, a 1960s drama-dy and three contemporary documentaries divulge into the many facets of friendship. We’ll discover that no friendship is alike and a “friend” can take on all types, forms, and meanings. Be sure to tune into WETA TV26 and WETA HD every Saturday night for movies galore! 


Opposites Attract: Soldier in the Rain (1963)

The most unlikely pairs are proof that opposites attract. Master Sergeant Maxwell Slaughter forms an unlikely friendship with Sergeant Eustis Clay and neither status, nor rank, nor intellectual capacity prevents the two from building an admirable and loyal friendship. Eustis eagerly awaits the end of his stint in the military and his inexhaustible attempts at convincing Slaughter of the perks of civilian life provide opportunities for comedic adventures and antics. As in any good friendship, each provides meaning and importance in the other’s life. But friendships are not without their flaws and their hurdles, and the friendship which forms in Soldier in the Rain is put to the test. What Slaughter and Eustis learn and take away from each other becomes life-changing.

Watch Soldier in the Rain (1963) Saturday, December 15 at 9:30pm on WETA TV26 and WETA HD. Repeats Sunday at 11:30am.


Through Thick & Thin: Garbage Dreams (2009)

In Cairo, recycling is a bit more complex than the American standard of sorting plastic, metal, paper, and glass from trash. In fact, recycling garbage is the Zaballeen’s (translating to “garbage people”) livelihood. The Zaballeen make their living collecting and recycling eighty percent of the garbage which accumulates in Cairo. For years, the city had no sanitation service and depended on the Zaballeen. And for the Zaballeen, trash is all they know. But in recent years, the city has turned from tradition and begun to rely on private companies to collect trash with garbage trucks. With machines replacing men, the shift in tradition comes as detrimental and dangerous to the Zaballeen’s future. How will they make a living? How will they survive?

Independent Lens: Garbage Dreams tells the stories of three teenagers experiencing the life-altering transition directly. Adham, Osama and Nabil, all born into the business of trash, must confront the possibility of losing the security their people have had for decades. But, when one door closes another one opens, and maybe Cairo’s stab at modernization is a blessing in disguise for these three young men to pursue new and exciting opportunities.

The United States recycles 30 percent of its waste. Impressive? Not in comparison to the 80 percent recycled by the Zaballeen. How eco-friendly are you? Test your ability by playing the Garbage Dreams online game!

Watch Garbage Dreams (2009) Saturday, December 15 at 11:00pm on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.


In Sickness & In Health: We Were Here (2011)

San Francisco is a melting pot for people from different walks of life but they all seek the same things: happiness, freedom and acceptance. For a large population of gay men, San Francisco proves to be a source of solace and a place they are happy to call home. In the 1980s, the city was also the site of what was, to some, believed to be the “gay cancer”, plaguing the gay community and swiftly. Time would soon tell that the mysterious disease was the AIDS virus. At the brink of its arrival, San Francisco’s response to the epidemic showed compassion and empathy, but most significant was the vastly different actions taken by other cities. Subsequently, “The San Francisco Model” became the ideal for creating a healthier and humane society in a world now struggling with AIDS.

Independent Lens: We Were Here tells the inspiring and poignant stories of five individuals who lived in San Francisco prior to the epidemic and were all effected in one way or another by the devastation, loss of life, compassion of strangers, and kindness of humanity that accompanied it. The firsthand stories of these ordinary people who experienced the change and assumed roles as activists and caregivers, friends or lovers to victims of AIDS, and living testimonies of those who suffer from the virus comprise We Were Here.

Check out an educational and informative timeline tracing the history of AIDS.

Watch We Were Here (2011) Sunday, December 16 at 12:00am on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.


Man's Best Friend: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003)

St. Francis of Assisi made it his life’s work to care for animals. His compassion for all creatures is admired and praised long after his death. Animal shelters and advocates recognize the importance of animals and family pets are common in modern day society. Whether consciously or not, one man has followed suit of St. Francis of Assisi and dedicates his days to feeding, caring for and protecting the wild parrots of San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill. He is known as the “Bohemian St. Francis”. Former homeless musician Mark Bittner was on a search for his life’s purpose, and the parrots he affectionately, and rather impressively, recognizes by name just happened to collide with the timing of his search, and help him in ways one wouldn’t think a bird could. 

Not your typical nature or wildlife documentary, Independent Lens: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill puts the spotlight on parrots but more significantly on relationships between animals and people, and finding meaning in life.

Watch The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003) Sunday, December 16 at 1:30am on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.

Watch a preview of The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill here!

You may not be able to tell “Patrick” the parrot from “Sophie” like Mark Bittner, but learn more about the wild parrots and their background, and explore a photo gallery of the birds.


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DC, MD, VA Events: WETA Around Town December 14 - 16

Looking for something to do this weekend in DC, Maryland, and Virginia? Check out our selection of cultural events right in your own backyard!


Be inspired by art in Bethesda

The second Friday of the month can only mean one thing: art lovers will descend upon Bethesda for the Art Walk taking place at seven galleries and studios.  Enjoy free refreshments and a chance to discover original artwork by local, regional and national artists.  If you need to rest your legs between galleries, the free Bethesda Circulator bus run continuously with stops within a few blocks from each art space.

Friday, 6pm-9pm

Cost: Free

Various locations in Downtown Bethesda, MD

Click here for more information!



An Ideal Afternoon for Your Family

If you’re looking for a casual Sunday afternoon, stroll on over to Dumbarton House for The Picnic Theatre’s holiday encore performance of An Ideal Husband. 

Sunday, 2pm

The Dumbarton House

2715 Q Street NW, Washington, DC

Cost: $12 ($15 at the door)

Click here for tickets and more information!


Select films opening today:


From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes the first installment of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING.



In June 1939 the King and Queen of England (Samuel West and Olivia Colman) were invited to stay overnight at President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (Bill Murray) country estate Hyde Park in upstate New York (actually, it's his mother's—he just lives there). This was the first-ever visit of a reigning English monarch to America. With Britain facing imminent war with Germany, the Royals are desperately looking to FDR for support. But international affairs must be juggled with the complexities of FDR's domestic establishment, as wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams), mother, and mistresses all conspire to make the royal weekend an unforgettable one. Seen through the eyes of Daisy (Laura Linney), Franklin's neighbor and intimate, the weekend will produce not only a special relationship between two great nations, but, for Daisy—and through her, for us all—a deeper understanding of the mysteries of love and friendship.

Check out the WETA Around Town Reveiw on our YouTube page!


ANY DAY NOW                   (NR)

Set in the 1970s, this drama is about Rudy (Alan Cumming), a drag queen whose outrageous exterior hides a lonely but lovable interior. Going to the apartment next door to complain about noise, he finds Marco (Isaac Leyva), a mentally handicapped teenager, abandoned by his mother who has been arrested for prostitution and drugs. Rudy reluctantly and temporarily takes care of Marco, but soon finds himself wanting to turn his guardianship into something more permanent. Meanwhile, Rudy meets attractive, straight-arrow, closeted Paul (Garrett Dillahunt), who attends his show and likes what he sees. Paul works in the DA's office, which comes in handy when Rudy gets into a fight with social services over Marco. As Rudy and Paul are drawn together and become a couple, they seek to adopt Marco, but meet with prejudice and overwhelming obstacles.



In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested for brutally beating and raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park. The policed announced to a press hungry for sensational crime stories that the young men had been part of a gang of teenagers who were out "wilding," assaulting joggers and bicyclists that evening. The ensuing media frenzy was met with a public outcry for justice. New York Mayor Ed Koch called it the "crime of the century" and it remains to date one of the biggest media stories of our time. Each of the five suspects spent 6 to 13 years in prison before a shocking confession from a serial rapist and DNA evidence proved their innocence. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE tells the story of how five lives were upended by the rush to judgment by police, a sensationalist media and a devastating miscarriage of justice. Written and directed by Ken Burns (The Civil War, Prohibition, Jazz, Baseball), David McMahon and Sarah Burns.

Watch the trailer here!


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An English Holiday in DC | British Christmas Shows on WETA UK

What can compare to a British Christmas? DC, Maryland, and Virginia are in the spirit this December with the best British holiday TV specials on WETA UK December 21 – 25! So finish eating your pudding and mince pies, get your prize from a Christmas cracker, grab a glass of mulled wine, and settle in for a marathon of WETA UK Christmas shows!


Outnumbered Christmas Special 2011 Can’t a family go on a holiday vacation without some kind of mishap ruining it? The Brockmans are planning to fly out to the Canaries on Christmas day but thanks to a dentist, Grandpa, an immature house-sitter, traffic, and two fighting Santas, this family might not make it to the islands after all.

Airs Friday December 21 at 9:30pm.



Last of the Summer Wine Five back-to-back Christmas specials from one of the longest running British telly shows to date!

Saturday, December 22 – Last of the Summer Wine Episodes
10:00am     Christmas 2008 - I Was a Hit Man for Primrose Dairies
10:30am     Christmas 1977 - A Merry Heat Wave
11:00am     Christmas 1979 - And A Dewhurst Up A Fir Tree
11:30am     Christmas 1981 - Whoops
12:00pm     Christmas 1982 - All Mod Conned
Tuesday, December 25 – Last of the Summer Wine Episodes
10:00am     Christmas 2008 - I Was a Hit Man for Primrose Dairies
10:30am     Christmas 1977 - A Merry Heat Wave
11:00am     Christmas 1979 - And A Dewhurst Up A Fir Tree
11:30am     Christmas 1981 - Whoops
12:00pm     Christmas 1982 - All Mod Conned



To the Manor Born In this special seasonal episode, it is Audrey’s first Christmas away from the manor but she is not going to let deVere take away her one remaining duty. So when she cannot find the Holy Crib for the Church, she decides to make one of her own, with the help of Marjory and Ned. Meanwhile, Richard plans to do his duty in style. The poor Rector has to choose between Audrey’s home-made monstrosity or Richard’s crassly commercial model.

Airs Saturday, December 22 at 12:30pm and Tuesday, December 25 at 7:30pm.


Vicar of Dibley Catch four back-to-back Christmas specials on December 22 and December 25! Geraldine Granger is not your run-of-the-mill village vicar. She is a bubbly, young reverend overseeing an eccentric congregation in a rural community. She and her off-the-wall parishioners have returned for these Christmas specials to bring us unconventional laughs during the holiday season.

Saturday, December 22 – Vicar of Dibley Episodes
1:00pm     Christmas 1996 
2:00pm     Christmas 1997 
3:00pm     Christmas 2004 
5:00pm     Christmas 2006 
Tuesday, December 25 – Vicar of Dibley Episodes
1:00pm     Christmas 1996 
2:00pm     Christmas 1997 
3:00pm     Christmas 2004 
5:00pm     Christmas 2006 


Mr. Bean celebrates the holidays in Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean! Mr. Bean is very excited that it is Christmas so he befriends a Salvation Army band then drives home with the tallest tree he can find. On Christmas Day there are plenty of surprises under the tree but the gift he gives to his girlfriend is not what she had hoped for, and she leaves him all alone. Even so, Mr. Bean's holiday season ends with a bang. Airs Sunday, December 23 at 9:30pm.


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This Week on WETA UK | WETA UK Schedule December 10 – 16

Every Monday, you can find highlights of the coming week’s schedule right here on the Programmer’s Choice blog! Continue reading for more about information, photos, and video on the fantastic British shows we have in store for you. SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG so you have all the latest WETA Television news including schedule information, video previews of shows, and more!

Monday at 12:00pm Antiques Roadshow BBC season 30 discovers those valuable and not-quite-so-valuable antiques tucked away at the backs of cupboards in Hereford, UK. Always filmed on location, thousands of local residents pour in, clutching personal treasures to be examined, commented on, and valued by the Roadshow experts. Repeats December 18 at 8:30am.


Wednesday at 9:30am begin watching the series everyone is talking about as Outnumbered restarts from the very first episode! The Brockmans are your average British family: a house in London, two loving parents, and three children overflowing with personality. Their personalities are great until the parents feel outnumbered causing partially improvised and entirely hilarious situations. Watch this series from the very beginning and return for more laughs every week on Wednesdays at 9:30am and Fridays at 9:30pm.


Wednesday at 10:00am catch the first episode of To The Manor Born season 2! Lady Audrey fforbes-Hamilton’s husband died and left huge debts which forced her to sell Grantleigh Manor, which had been in her family for 400 years. Now she lives in a small house on the edge of the estate. It is not what she is used to, but Audrey is made of stern stuff. Grantleigh’s new master is offended by her snobbish instincts but Audrey finds him intriguing. Will these two hit it off or will one drive the other way in madness? Repeats this Friday at 2:30pm & 5:00pm, this Saturday at 6:30am, this Sunday at 7:00am, and next week: December 18 at 10:00am & 7:30am, December 21 at 12:30pm.



Wednesday at 7:30pm don’t miss season 3 episode 1 of Yes, Minister! As the last season of this iconic series, enjoy the beginning of the end and prepare for the WETA UK premiere of Yes, Prime Minister in February! Download our WETA UK YES, MINISTER SEASON 3 EPISODE GUIDE here! Repeats Thursday at 10:30am, Friday at noon, Saturday at 4:00pm, Sunday at 7:30am, and next week: December 17 at 10:00am, December 19 at 10:30am, and December 22 at 10:00am.


Thursday beginning at 8:00pm get your mystery fix with Rosemary & Thyme at 8:00pm, Waking the Dead at 9:00pm, and New Tricks at 10:00pm. Our Thursday night line-up provides a mix of crime drama mysteries which are sure to make you a British television fan in no time.


Friday at 6:00pm watch the first episode of season 4, Waiting For God! Take a visit to the Bayview Retirement Village where the food is appalling, the staff treat residents like idiot children, and any show of independence is strictly frowned upon. But two elderly eccentric residents refuse to give in and grow old gracefully just yet. Tom Ballard is a retired accountant and Diana Trent is a no-nonsense ex-journalist. When these two get together, they do more than just wait for their time to pass. Download and print our WETA UK WAITING FOR GOD SEASON 4 EPISODE GUIDE! Repeats December 18 at 10:30am, December 20 at 9:30am, and December 21 at 1:30pm.


Friday at 7:30pm start watching the classic British comedy As Time Goes By from the very beginning. In the early 1950s, a young Army officer and a student nurse fell in love. It was a whirlwind romance, but the young Lionel and Jean were separated when he was posted to Korea. His letter went astray and they lost touch. In the early 1990s, Lionel (now divorced) is in England to work on his autobiography, My Life In Kenya. He needs a secretary and Jean (a widow) owns a secretarial agency. She sends her feisty daughter Judith who makes such a good impression that Lionel invites her out to dinner. And, as mother and daughter share a house, the inevitable happens – Lionel and Jean are reunited. Don’t expect them to jump into each other’s arms; Third Age romance takes time. Can they recapture the old magic, orare they too old and set in their ways? Download and print our WETA UK AS TIME GOES BY SEASON 1 EPISODE GUIDE!



Saturday at 8:00pm finish off season 1 of The WETA UK Event: The Complete Wallander with the episode, One Step Behind. Then at 9:30pm see the first episode of season 2, Faceless Killers.



Sunday is a great day on WETA UK to try out some new shows. With a variety of genres, characters, and lengths, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect British TV show to get hooked on. Let us know which is your favorite and what you’d like to see more of!