PBS Announces US Premiere for Mr. Bates vs the Post Office

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Last Updated on January 29, 2024 by Stefanie Hutson

It may seem an unlikely hit, but the Toby Jones-led drama Mr. Bates vs the Post Office is one of the UK's hottest recent shows – and US fans won't have to wait much longer to see why.

What's Mr. Bates vs the Post Office About?

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Toby Jones stars in Mr. Bates vs the Post Office

Part of the reason this four-part drama has been so popular is because it's based on the true story of real people who were wrongly prosecuted due to a computer error. Back in the early 2000s, hundreds of subpostmasters – often working class owners of small shops – were accused of theft, false accounting, and fraud. 

Despite the fact that it was happening repeatedly all over the country, the company behind the faulty system, Horizon, insisted there was nothing wrong with the software. Postmasters were forced to come up with their own money to cover the software glitch, and many went to prison, lost their jobs, and saw their marriages and families fall apart. Several even committed suicide.

It was only very recently that some of the people started to get some form of compensation, and many died while waiting to see the situation put right. Much has been written about it (and in far more depth than we could offer in a single article), but it's easily one of the biggest scandals in recent UK history. For more reading on the topic, check out:

Mr. Bates vs the Post Office is a dramatisation of the scandal, and it stars the enormously talented Toby Jones (Detectorists, Don't Forget the Driver) as Alan Bates, the man who campaigned tirelessly to get justice for the people who were victimised by Horizon and a system that just wouldn't listen to them.

Of the series, Executive Producer Patrick Spence said:

Our ambition in telling this story was simply that the Subpostmasters felt heard. We were so angry on their behalf, we wanted others to feel it too. And they did: the whole country is angry now! They rose up to stand beside the Subpostmasters with such determination and such rage that the Prime Minister had no choice but to act within days. They certainly feel heard now.'

While you wait, you can watch a fantastic interview star Toby Jones did with Graham Norton on the subject.

When Will Mr. Bates vs the Post Office Air in the US?

Ever since the series premiered in the UK as ITV's biggest new drama launch in more than a decade, we've been getting a barrage of questions about when it would be available for American audiences. The good news is that it's coming to PBS – but the bad news is that you'll have to wait just a little bit longer. 

Mr. Bates vs. the Post Office will premiere this spring on MASTERPIECE on PBS on Sunday, April 7th.

Who's in the Cast of Mr. Bates vs the Post Office?

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Julie Hesmondhalgh and Toby Jones

Where this is one case where the cast is very much secondary to the greater purpose of the drama, that doesn't mean it's not worth mentioning the great actors who took on the project. Alongside lead Toby Jones as Alan Bates it includes Julie Hesmondhalgh as Suzanne Sercombe, Monica Dolan as Jo Hamilton, Will Mellor as Lee Castleton, Amy Nuttall as Lisa Castleton, Lesley Nicol as Pam Stubbs, Ian Hart as Bob Rutherford, and Alex Jennings as James Arbuthnot.

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