Books

'Downton Abbey' Cast Members Reunite for ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’

Downton Abbey’s Lily James stars as Juliet Ashton in ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’. (Photo courtesy of Studiocanal ©2017)

While fans of Downton Abbey patiently await updates from creator/writer Julian Fellowes on his plans for a theatrical movie of the mega-hit Masterpiece historical drama, a new movie featuring four of its cast members has been filming in England and The Channel Islands. 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, adapted from the international best-selling novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, is somewhat of a mini-reunion for Downton cast members. The World War II period drama will star Lily James as free-spirited journalist Juliet Ashton and feature Jessica Brown Findlay as Elizabeth McKenna, Matthew Goode as Sidney Stark, and Penelope Wilton as Amelia Maugery.

British Celebrity Memoirs to Read This Winter

In case I’ve never mentioned it, I work at a public library. That’s why in some of the pieces I write for Telly Visions I suggest borrowing DVDs from the library when on-line streaming is not an option. At my job when patrons stump my co-workers with a movie or TV series request, I’m often called upon to step in and solve the mystery. It’s a role I enjoy and I spend a lot of time and effort building up my knowledge to share with others.

But wait, you say. Isn’t a library about books? Indeed it is and all the employees on our staff are expected to read widely in order to help people find an enjoyable or informative book to read. Therefore when I find the time, I’m sure you can hazard a guess at what I read. You‘ve got it, British authors. I’ve just finished the most recent Ian McEwan novel, The Children Act, and I have several more on my bedside table waiting for my attention including one entitled Us by David Nicholls, the author of books such as Starter for Ten and One Day, both of which have been adapted for the big screen.

However, at this point, I must admit my favorite combination is a book written by a British celebrity. It can be a memoir about hitting bottom and finding a home like Craig Ferguson’s American on Purpose or the humorous life lessons of Miranda Hart’s Is It Just Me?

Whenever I see a British actor or comedian announcing a book signing on Twitter, I immediately go to the library’s catalog to see if I can get my hands on the newest star-studded literary offering. Sadly, there are many times my search is unsuccessful. The celebrity has to be famous enough in the US for it to be worth releasing here. Case in point, when James Corden released his autobiography May I Have Your Attention, Please? in 2012, I asked our collection resources librarian if she could order this book for our system. She placed a request to purchase and after a few months informed me it fell through even though the title was available on Amazon. I’m curious to see if once Corden’s latest film Into the Woods is released at Christmas and he begins his run on the Late, Late Show in January, his story might have grown a bigger readership.

Here are a number of memoirs and celebrity musings by British personalities that have been published this fall. If you check with your local library you’re likely to find them there and here are some of the reasons why.

Beyond Television: A Look at 'Making Masterpiece'

As the blog’s name suggests, we normally talk telly here at Telly Visions, but today I’d like to share with you a book I’ve been reading that I believe is an appropriate subject for this forum. It chronicles a television program near and dear to my heart and yours, I’m sure.

In Making Masterpiece: My 25 Years behind the Scenes at Masterpiece and Mystery! on PBS Rebecca Eaton, the executive producer of Masterpiece, tells two stories you’ll want to read if you’ve been a fan of the Masterpiece brand in recent years. The history of Masterpiece and Eaton’s personal memoir intertwine to create a compelling narrative about the ups and downs of a cultural institution and the woman who has been at its helm for the past quarter century.

Read on for more details.