In a doubleheader, Encore will kick off its “Big Miniseries Showcase” on September 10 and 11 with the North American debut of “The Crimson Petal and the White,” starring Romola Garai (“Emma”) as a clever prostitute in Victorian London; two weeks later, Acorn Media will release a DVD of the four-hour 2011 BBC miniseries.
Those of you who hope to get an elegant British drama fix to tide you over until “Downton Abbey” returns on January 6 with Dowager Duchess Maggie Smith vs. the brashly American Shirley MacLaine need to be forewarned. According to Encore’s press release, “The Crimson Petal and the White” “reveals the underbelly of Victorian-era London.” It also reveals the heroine squatting on a chamber pot and giving herself an abortion. Gillian Anderson of “X-Files” fame plays the rapacious madam of Garai’s brothel where a dying prostitute’s chief concern is that eels will eat her eyes when her dead body is thrown into the river. Watch the trailer below.
The “Big Miniseries Showcase” will screen on Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT. “The Crimson Petal and the White,” which is based on a novel by Michel Faber, will be followed on September 17–22 by the 1980 NBC classic “Shogun,” adapted from the James Clavell novel; it follows the adventures of an English seaman, played by Richard Chamberlain, whose ship is wrecked on the coast of Japan in the 17th century.
From September 24 – 27, Encore will air “Pillars of the Earth,” a 2010 Starz series about the building of a cathedral in a fictional British town during the 12th century. Adapted from a novel by Ken Follett, the series stars Donald Sutherland, Ian McShane, and Rufus Sewell.
Among the miniseries to be seen later in the fall are “Lonesome Dove,” the classic western starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones which was adapted from Larry McMurtry’s Pullitzer Prize-winning novel; and the American television premiere of an Encore original miniseries, “Titanic: Blood and Steel.”