Enter the Masterpiece 2017 Sweepstakes!

Do you dream of stepping into the worlds of Victoria and Downton Abbey? (I know I do!) Well, here’s your chance: Enter the 2017 Masterpiece Sweepstakes! The grand prize is incredible: A tour of Downton Abbey’s famous Highclere Castle, a visit to Sherlock filming locations in London, and a chance to explore Victoria sites in Yorkshire.

In addition to the amazing grand prize, you can also win awesome PBS merchandise. BUT, time is running out to enter: The deadline is March 15, 2017. Enter daily at pbs.org/sweepstakes

Masterpiece is offering even more chances to win through Twitter! It’s as easy as this: After you enter, click on the Twitter icon below the words “Invite Your Friends” on the “Thanks for your entry” page. Once you share the sweepstakes via Twitter, you will get another entry (up to 5 additional entries) in the Sweepstakes for each friend that enters. 

Details on the Grand Prize From Masterpiece

“With an itinerary arranged by VisitBritain, Great Britain’s national tourism agency, this trip features a visit to world-famous Highclere Castle, tours of historic estates in Yorkshire filmed for Victoria, and a private tour of the Tower of London, used in Sherlock.

The 7-day, 6-night trip includes economy class round-trip travel to London Heathrow Airport on British Airways from any British Airways operated U.S. gateway city at the time of travel, and includes a connecting one-way flight to Leeds Bradford Airport in Leeds. Accommodations are four-star, including The Royal York Hotel and London’s Edwardian Hotel.

The Grand Prize winner will also receive Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Victoria merchandise, including the Downton Abbey Complete Limited Edition Collector’s Set DVD, Sherlock Seasons 1, 2, and 3 on DVD, a Sherlock action figure, and Victoria Season 1 on DVD, all from shopPBS.org.”

Discover Polka! in Wisconsin

Did you know that polka is the official state dance of Wisconsin? (It’s the law – since 1993!)

In Wisconsin Public Television’s new hour-long documentary airing 7 p.m. on Monday, March 6, musician and host Mollie Busta — better known as Mollie B. — explores how European immigrants brought polka music and dance to the hills and shores of Wisconsin in the 19th century — and how the folk tradition is being kept alive in communities across the state.

Watch the film preview:

Polka is music made for getting together, being happy, and dancing! It’s time to get up, get out, and enjoy polka at venues and festivals across Wisconsin. Find a location near you and join in the fun all year long!

And if you live near Monroe, please join WPT and Mollie B. on Thursday, March 2 for a Polka! advance screening.

We are still adding events and locations to the map, so check back soon! Know of another place or event where people enjoy polka concerts and dancing not shown here? Let us know! Leave a comment or email jessica.lee@wpt.org — and we’ll add it to the map.

Funding for Polka! is provided in part by the Stanley J. Cottrill Fund, International Polka Association, Wisconsin Dells Polka Fest, and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.

Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

WPT producer Mik Derks has worked with Jerry Apps since 2012. Photo credit: James Gill.

“[Jerry Apps] gave permission to his audiences to remember their childhoods fondly.” -Mik Derks

Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain premieres 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 on WPT

Over the past five years, WPT producer Mik Derks has been sharing the stories of beloved Wisconsin author, historian and storyteller Jerry Apps with television audiences. This month, the tradition continues with a new documentary: Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain. Reflecting on water’s importance throughout his life, Apps shares why his father told him, “Jerry, never curse the rain.” Continue reading Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

Video Games & Learning: Teachers & Developers Write the Future Together

When I taught high school English, I had a mailbox in the staff lounge in a wall full of identical little rectangular mailboxes. About twice a year, I would find something useful in my mailbox. But the other 178 school days, I only found mountains of junk mail — flyers for expensive digital subscription services or glossy magazines brimming with overpriced textbooks that would be obsolete before they arrived. Soon, the junk mail felt as identical as the rows of little rectangular mailboxes. Continue reading Video Games & Learning: Teachers & Developers Write the Future Together

Victorious Blog, Episode 6: “The Engine of Change”

“Don’t talk railway at me.” -Victoria

This is the sixth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

What’s more relaxing than enjoying a private concert with your closest companions and frenemies? Well, probably a lot of things, considering how uncomfortable those chairs looked. But that’s not Victoria’s world.

“The Engine of Change” follows Victoria through her early, nausea-filled stages of her pregnancy, explores Albert’s continued quest for independence, and generally showcases that the times are a-changin’ – and if the royals are going to keep up, they’re going to have to change, too.  Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 6: “The Engine of Change”

Victorious Blog, Episode 5: “The Queen’s Husband”

“Never mind, Duchess; not all of your arrows miss their target.” – Prince Ernest

This is the fifth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Whew – what an episode! Notably, this was the first episode without Melbourne. (Why have you forsaken us, Lord M?!) But the storyline was solid, and I made it through the episode without too much heartache.

“The Queen’s Husband” covered Victoria and Albert’s blossoming relationship and Albert’s quest for a bit of independence. This was my second favorite episode so far – so much excitement packed into the hour. (Missed the episode? Watch online now.Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 5: “The Queen’s Husband”

Victorious Blog, Episode 4: “An Ordinary Woman”

“But you are not an ordinary woman; you are a queen.”

This is the fourth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Upon recovering from learning that my colleague has ACTUALLY MET RUFUS SEWELL – with a picture to prove it! – I’m ready to talk about Victoria on Masterpiece: “An Ordinary Woman.”

[Editor’s note: Jonna is lying, literally and figuratively; after the excitement of a royal wedding, she has taken to her fainting couch with a case of the vapours. Feel better!]

How do you tell a familiar story without making it appear stale? Therein lay the challenge for Daisy Goodwin when writing this episode.  (Yeah, yeah, we know there’s a wedding …)

But Goodwin’s got some magic up her Victorian-era sleeve. Episode Four begins with familial gloating, peaks with gratuitous brooding, and ends with – excuse me, without the need for Madeira.

Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 4: “An Ordinary Woman”

Victorious Blog, Episode 3: “The Clockwork Prince”

“I have decided to go to Windsor.”
“… Windsor on a WEDNESDAY?”

This is the third post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

If I had to pick favorites,  I would say that “The Clockwork Prince” is my favorite episode of Victoria thus far. Even Daisy Goodwin herself seems to agree with me.

Despite the fact that Victoria’s romantic interests are either obsessed with rooks or the forest, episode three showed us that love can be pretty awesome once you get through the muck.

Here are my favorite things from this week’s episode: Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 3: “The Clockwork Prince”

Introducing: What We Watch!

With so many great programs on Wisconsin Public Television, it’s hard to pick favorites – especially for the people who work here! Meet some of the people behind the scenes at WPT and see what gets us excited in this new blog series, “What We Watch.”

Diane Agans, major gifts manager for WPTFirst up: Diane Agans, major gifts manager, who has worked for WPT since 1986.

With two busy teenagers, Diane enjoys programs the family can watch together and discuss – which includes a lot of public television programming!
Continue reading Introducing: What We Watch!

Victorious Blog, Episode 2: “Brocket Hall”

“I speak to you not as a queen but as a woman …”

This is the second post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

This week, we saw “Brocket Hall” – or, as I’d like to call it, “The Romance Episode.” (Missed it? Watch here.)  Despite the Chartists’ political uprisings that negatively affected both Victoria and Mrs. Jenkins, as well as Francatelli’s constant harassment of Miss Skerrett, the heart of this episode centered on Victoria’s love life.

Much of “Brocket Hall” revolved around Victoria and Lord Melbourne… with hints sprinkled throughout the narrative about the impending arrival of Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). Other suitors abound: Prince George is awfully boring; the Russian Grand Duke is much less boring, but not quite up to par. Victoria claims that Prince Albert used to be a bother, but we know – thanks, history! – that she’ll change her tune. 

More about Prince Albert soon. For now, though, let’s take a look at Victoria and Lord Melbourne. In a world where suitors abound, Victoria has trouble thinking about anyone other than Lord M. Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 2: “Brocket Hall”