When Hotel Portofino was initially announced in the spring of 2022 as coming to PBS, it was billed as a sort of Downton Abbey on the Italian coast, with an upper-class British family escaping the dreary post-World War I landscape up north to open a luxury hotel in the series' titular town of Portofino for the upper-class family on holiday. It was also the first original live-action series from Eagle Eye Drama, the outfit behind the English language remakes that stream via PBS Passport under the Walter Presents banner. However, post-Season 1, despite a Season 2 renewal, there was no sign that it would be coming to America.
That omission became more pronounced after Season 2 aired/streamed in the U.K. on Sky in January 2023. So far, the Season 2 adventures of the dysfunctional Ainsworth family and those who have the misfortune to stay at their hotel have aired almost entirely around the globe, debuting around Europe and even as far as Australia's Foxtel over the spring of 2023. However, finally, that has been rectified, as PBS announced that Hotel Portofino will have a return engagement for PBS viewers beginning Sunday, October 15, 2023.
Like many of PBS' period dramas, the show will advance a year per season, with viewers heading back to see how Bella is handling the growing fascist regime in Italy in the summer of 1927. The interwar set series will kick off a night of fan favorites returning for second seasons after time away, debuting the same night as the 1940s-set World on Fire Season 2 and the contemporary mystery-of-the-week series Annika Season 2. The three will air their second seasons as a set with Hotel Portofino at 8 p.m. ET, World on Fire at 9 p.m. ET and Annika at 10 p.m. ET.
Set in the breathtakingly beautiful Italian seaside town of Portofino during the “Roaring 20s,” Season 2 begins in the summer of 1927 as Bella Ainsworth is still devoting all her energy into making Hotel Portofino a success. Having overcome earlier blackmailing threats from a local politician, the hotel is finally starting to prosper. Aside from her hotel duties, Bella is also concerned for her children — Lucian, whose marriage to Rose might be facing trouble, and Alice, who needs a break from her responsibilities at the hotel. Bella’s husband, Cecil, has not been seen since returning to England at the end of the previous summer. With Cecil’s unannounced return to Portofino, the messy private lives of her children, and an imminent visit from a travel guide that could make or break the hotel’s future, Bella has her work cut out to keep all the plates spinning.
Season 2 will once again star Natascha McElhone (The Crown) as Bella Ainsworth, with the returns of Mark Umbers (Home Fires) as her husband Cecil, Olivia Morris (RRR) as her widowed daughter Alice, Oliver Dench (Domina) as her son Lucian, and Claude Scott-Mitchell (The Dry) as Lucian's fiance, Rose. Other cast returns from Season 1 include Assad Zaman (Interview with the Vampire), Elizabeth Carling (Agatha Raisin), Louis Healy (The Pact), Pasquale Esposito (Ripley), Daniele Pecci (The Tourist), Lily Frazer (Sex Education), Lucy Akhurst (A Spy Among Friends), Rocco Fasano (SKAM Italia), Carolina Gonnelli (Amici Per La Pelle), and Louisa Binder.
All six episodes of Hotel Portofino were written by series creator Matt Baker (Suspect) and with director Adam Wimpenny (The Investigator: A British Crime Story) returning to helm all episodes. The series is an Eagle Eye Production and executive produced by Jo McGrath and Walter Iuzzolino of Walter Presents.
Hotel Portofino Season 2 debuts on Sunday, October 15, at 8 p.m. ET on most PBS stations and airs as a weekly release through the end of November 2023. All six episodes will be available for members to stream starting on premiere day on PBS Passport. As always, check your local listings.