Have you ever watched Masterpiece Theater? I think that Downton Abbey was a big awakening for people who had never been a fan of Masterpiece before.

Now that DA is over for the season, Masterpiece is back to their classic tales from Charles Dickens and Jane Austin. Of course I love anything Jane Austin, but Dickens was a little more difficult for me to get into.

My favorite was Oliver Twist. And then the movie and play Oliver. Poor little boy goes to an orphanage. Porridge was the main dish in the dining room. I shall never forget the line, “Please Sir, can I have some more”.

And then his adventures when he later joins the pickpocket gang and learns the art of pickpocketing. (from Rodger the Dodger). The interesting thing about Dicken’s stories is that they really happened.

Of course he fictionalized them, but the events were pretty accurate for the times. London was quite a dirty place two hundred years ago.

Last night was one of Dickens stories that I was not familiar with, although it is one of his most famous. ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’.

This was so well done and each actor deserved an award for their portrayal of these mostly detestable characters. Other than Nell and poor Mrs. Quilp, all the other characters are not very nice.

The story starts with Nell and her grandfather in their little shop. Grandpa is a gambling addict and he sends little Nell to the money lender to get money so he can play cards.

He never wins and so he winds up signing over his shop and everything in it to the mean Mr. Quilp. Then he and Nell duck out and hit the road.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it is a real tear jerker.

I think I will watch Masterpiece whenever it is on, as they seem to have really high quality shows. They tend to be British, and classics from a bygone era.

If you want to get some history with your entertainment, watch Masterpiece. And if you have children, they can watch too. Most of Dicken’s stories have children in them.

In those days, children as young as seven and eight, were working in the work house and being sent to prison for the slightest infraction. There are teenage girls of fourteen who are pretty much running the household. By sixteen they are old enough to marry and get out of their situation and into a worse one.

Masterpiece is a great way to introduce your family to the classics and more fun than just reading the book on Kindle. Plus it will make your children appreciate how good they have it today.