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'Wolf Hall,' acclaimed BBC miniseries, arriving early April

British actor Mark Rylance, who plays Thomas Cromwell

British actor Mark Rylance, who plays Thomas Cromwell in the Wolf Hall television series, poses for a portrait after speaking in a press conference in London, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015. Credit: AP

The BBC's acclaimed miniseries, "Wolf Hall" -- starring Mark Rylance and Damian Lewis — has an official start date on PBS: April 5.

 That's the good news. Now the bad: "Mad Men" will also return that night for the first of the final seven episodes, and at exactly the same time: 10 p.m.

 "Wolf Hall," based on the Hilary Mantel novels, is possibly the single most important series to arrive on PBS in 2015. Public television is expecting a big turnout for this — if not quite of the "Downton Abbey' scale, not all that far behind. The critical buzz will be deafening. 

 "Wolf Hall," about Thomas Cromwell (Rylance), chief minister to Henry VIII, has already aired on BBC 2. Here's the brief announcement, which arrived earlier this afternoon: 

Tony Award-winning actor Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night), Emmy and Golden Globes Award-winner Damian Lewis (Homeland), and Claire Foy (Masterpiece "Little Dorrit") star in this six-hour television miniseries adapted from Hilary Mantel's bestselling Booker Prize-winning novels, "Wolf Hall," and its sequel, "Bring Up the Bodies." Directed by BAFTA-winner Peter Kosminsky, this television event presents an intimate and provocative portrait of Thomas Cromwell, the brilliant enigmatic consigliere to King Henry VIII, as he maneuvers the corridors of power at the Tudor court.

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