Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

MASTERPIECE CLASSIC: The Mystery Of Edwin Drood

From left, John Jasper (Matthew Rhys), Rosa Bud (Tamzin Merchant) and Edwin Drood (Freddie Fox) in Masterpiece Classic's "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood."
Courtesy of BBC
From left, John Jasper (Matthew Rhys), Rosa Bud (Tamzin Merchant) and Edwin Drood (Freddie Fox) in Masterpiece Classic's "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood."

Airs Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

On June 8, 1870, Charles Dickens concluded a full-day’s work on his latest novel and set down his pen. He died the next day, leaving "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood" a mystery indeed.


Love, mystery, obsession — Get up close to the characters of "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood" in this exclusive slideshow.

Watch Online

"The Mystery Of Edwin Drood" will be available for online viewing for a limited time, beginning April 16, 2012.

MASTERPIECE CLASSIC uses clues left by the author himself, together with inspired guesswork, to solve this famous literary puzzle. Adapted and completed by Gwyneth Hughes ("Miss Austen Regrets"), "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood" stars Matthew Rhys ("Brothers & Sisters"), Tamzin Merchant ("The Tudors"), and Julia MacKenzie ("Miss Marple"). MASTERPIECE’s resolution of the intricately tangled plot is a fitting tribute to Dickens 200th birthday, celebrated in 2012.

Joining the cast are Ron Cook ("Little Dorrit"), Alun Armstrong ("Bleak House"), Freddie Fox ("Any Human Heart"), Rory Kinnear ("Cranford"), Ian McNeice ("David Copperfield"), Amber Rose Revah ("House of Saddam"), and Sacha Dhawan ("The History Boys").

In failing health as he wrote the serialized installments of "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood," Dickens abandoned the sunny geniality of his earlier work for a plot that was more dreamlike, erotic, and sinister than anything he had ever published. He was halfway though his dark tale when he died.

By all appearances, respected choirmaster John Jasper (Matthew Rhys) should have a quiet life in the small village of Cloisterham. But the serenity is pierced by Jasper's opium-fueled dreams and surreal fantasies.

At Jasper's despairing epicenter is his obsession with his nephew Edwin Drood's fiancé, Rosa Bud. When the handsome and cheerful Drood arrives for a visit with Rosa Bud, Jasper's previously hidden longings are slowly and unnervingly revealed.

Simultaneously, orphan twins Neville and Helena Landless arrive from Ceylon to receive the charity of the community. But what could their connection to Cloisterham be and why would Jasper seem so shaken by their presence? And, when someone goes missing, is it all just a dark dream or are there very real sinister secrets yet buried in Cloisterham?

MASTERPIECE is on Facebook, and you can follow @masterpiecepbs on Twitter.