Starting in January, viewers can continue to tune in to the series during its longstanding Sunday at 9 p.m. time slot, and also see at least 20 additional hours of new programming—some shows at 8 p.m., others at 10 p.m.—throughout the year.
Viking is the exclusive corporate funder of these additional hours of programming.
The partnership is successful 'in large part because of the similarities between our audiences,' said Viking's Richard Marnell, svp marketing. 'Many of our guests are Masterpiece viewers, and we often hear that they discovered the Viking way of travel from watching Masterpiece.'
'The generosity and vision of all our funders creates the potential for a fantastic 50% increase in the number of new hours in 2015,' according to executive producer Rebecca Eaton.
The expanded programming kicks off with 'Grantchester,' a six-part mystery premiering Jan. 18, following new episodes of 'Downton Abbey.' Already a hit in the UK, 'Grantchester' stars a charismatic young clergyman and a down-to-earth cop who team up to fight crime in the hamlet of Grantchester in 1953.
On April 5, three-time Tony Award-winning actor Mark Rylance ('Twelfth Night') and Emmy Award-winner Damian Lewis ('Homeland') star as Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII in 'Wolf Hall,' an adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies.'
Other Masterpiece programming scheduled for 2015 includes 'The Manners of Downton Abbey,' a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Edwardian manners with Alastair Bruce, historical adviser to 'Downton Abbey'; a third series of 'Mr. Selfridge' and a new adaptation of the 1970s blockbuster 'Poldark.'
Viking also offers travelers an optional excursion to Highclere Castle, the setting of the hit 'Downton Abbey' series. The three-day 'Oxford & Highclere Castle' program is available in connection with the 'Cities of Light' and 'Paris & the Heart of Normandy' itineraries.