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Passport Valentine


Like WTIU member Tamar, I love PBS and, if you are reading this, you probably feel the same way! I hear from WTIU members every single day who tell me they adore programs like Call the Midwife, Nature, Finding Your Roots, Antiques Road Show, Ken Burns documentaries, and so much more—and they love being able to watch their favorite shows on demand, whenever and wherever they want with the WTIU PBS Passport member benefit.

With so much love in the air, it’s no surprise that today’s edition of “Handpicked by Heather” is celebrating Valentine’s Day. Read on to discover six programs sure to win your heart, available only with the WTIU PBS Passport. And be sure to read the full blog for a sneak peek at a new Masterpiece series premiering in March, billed as a “love story for the ages,” plus a special Valentine treat from us to you! 

Romeo and Juliet Theatrical

Romeo and Juliet

Was there ever a romance as iconic as that of Romeo and Juliet? Shakespeare’s classic tragedy has all the ingredients of a classic love story: boy meets girl, boy courts girl, boy murders girl’s cousin, girl feigns death, boy misses key communication from friar, girl and boy die in vain. Okay, so that may be simplifying the plot just a bit, but thanks to its timeless appeal, the story of two star-crossed lovers has captured our imaginations for more than 400 years. In this stylized film version from the National Theatre, a company of actors in a shuttered theater bring to life the tale of two young lovers who strive to transcend a world of violence and hate. Fall in love with this contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet brought to PBS by Great Performances and available now with the WTIU PBS Passport member benefit. 


Black Lucy and the Bard

Black Lucy and the Bard

Explore the bard’s own love life—or at least a poetic (and sexy!) version of it—through the perspective of the “Dark Lady” in this performance from the Nashville Ballet. The enigmatic Dark Lady appears in several of Shakespeare’s sonnets, but little is known of her true identity—or if she even existed beyond Shakespeare’s imagination. Her mystique has inspired numerous iterations in popular culture, from George Bernard Shaw’s The Dark Lady of the Sonnets to Doctor Who’s Season 3 episode, “The Shakespeare Code.” More recently, the Dark Lady relates her own story in Lucy Negro, Redux, a book of poetry by Caroline Randall Williams, who posits that the Dark Lady was actually Black Luce, a brothel owner in Elizabethan London, presumably of African descent. Ms. Williams also narrates the ballet performance Black Lucy and the Bard with spoken word poetry from her book, on which the ballet is based. Featuring an original score and performance by Grammy winner Rhiannon Giddens, this episode of Great Performances is a must-see!


Anything Goes 

Anything Goes

Looking for something a little more light-hearted from the Great Performances library? PBS Passport has just the ticket! Featuring literally dozens of Cole Porter’s enduring love songs like “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” and “It’s De-Lovely,” you’ll find this version of the madcap musical Anything Goes so “Easy to Love”! Starring Sutton Foster as she reprises her Tony-winning performance as evangelist-turned-nightclub-singer Reno Sweeney, the show is a romp of song and dance aboard ship with a cast of characters including a Wall Street broker, an heiress, a British nobleman, and a second-rate gangster (poorly disguised as a minister)—all with their own secrets and romantic agendas. What could possibly go awry? Take in this classic Broadway musical “All through the Night”—or any time you like—with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit!


Miss Scarlet as teenager

Miss Scarlet & the Duke—the Origins Episode

We’ve been watching Miss Scarlet & the Duke for more than three seasons now and from the start, we’ve known that their relationship began well before we met their characters in the debut episode. The charm of the show owes a great deal to the “will they, won’t they” dynamic between Eliza and William, but how exactly did their simultaneously caring and contentious relationship begin? In Season 4, William lies in a coma (I won’t spoil it for you by telling how he ended up in this life-threatening condition); as Eliza pleads for him to wake up, a flashback segment delivers us twelve years prior, where we meet teenage Eliza, recently expelled from school (once again), and young William, living by his wits as an orphan on the streets of Victorian London. Tune in with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit to find out how their paths crossed with help from Eliza’s father. Then keep watching to see where William and Eliza go from here!


Becoming Frido Kahlo

Becoming Frida Kahlo

This three-part docuseries explores the life of celebrated artist Frida Kahlo through both major personal and political events of her life, including her stormy and devoted relationship with artist Diego Rivera, whom she married not once but twice. Their true-life love story played out very differently from what the early years of their relationship might have suggested. As critic Betsy Reed writes in The Guardian, Diego “is the ‘great maestro’ and she is the ‘little wife … always in the shadows’; the irony, of course, being that we know how this story ends, and history has put Rivera in the shadows, albeit brightly lit.” Learn more about their loving, fiery, and utterly complicated relationship when you watch Becoming Frida Kahlo with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit.


Chocolate Mousse for two

Sara’s Weeknight Meals: Dinner for Two

Valentine’s Day falls on a weeknight this year, but the hubs and I are still planning to indulge in a leisurely romantic dinner, thanks to Sara's Weeknight Meals and our WTIU PBS Passport benefit. He’s in charge of the entrée, while I prepare the sides and dessert. You and your partner can create a little magic in the kitchen, too, when you follow host Sara Moulton’s tips and tricks for preparing an easy and intimate dinner for two. Learn how to prepare tantalizing dishes like Chicken Saltimbocca with Artichoke Sauce, Eggs Baked in Red Wine, and Warm Chocolate Cheesecake—a perfect combination for a romantic weeknight dinner by candlelight!


Say “Be Mine” to your Valentine when you make Sara’s special dinner for two with these romantic recipes! 

Chicken Saltimbocca with Artichoke Sauce

Eggs Baked in Red Wine

Warm Chocolate Cheesecake

Alice & Jack

Alice & Jack Official Preview

Alice & Jack is a six-episode romantic drama that explores the relationship of two people who, against the odds, fall inexorably in love. Alice, a high-strung loner who works in finance, and Jack, a shy, gentle scientist, meet by chance in a bar, go on a date and spend one night together, then go their separate ways. Despite distance and their own differences, there is an attraction that keeps bringing them back together time and again. Following the titular characters over a decade, the show poses the question: are the bonds between us stronger than the forces that would tear us apart? All six episodes of Alice & Jack hit Passport the evening of March 17th, following its broadcast premiere on WTIU.