Montgomery, CBC, and Sunday Nights

Cast photo appearing at the world premiere of ANNE in Toronto on 16 March 2017. Photograph by Benjamin Lefebvre.

Tonight the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will air the first episode of the Northwood Entertainment series Anne, written and created by Moira Walley-Beckett. Although this series is not a remake or a reboot of earlier screen versions of Anne of Green Gables but a new adaptation of Montgomery’s book, CBC’s decision to broadcast the series on Sunday evenings acts as a return home, so to speak, connecting this to so many television adaptations of Montgomery’s books that came before it.

After all, Kevin Sullivan’s miniseries Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel, and Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story were all broadcast on the CBC starting on Sunday nights (1 December 1985, 6 December 1987, and 5 March 2000, respectively), each concluding the following night; Sullivan Entertainment’s episodic series Road to Avonlea and the first two seasons of the CINAR/Salter Street Films series Emily of New Moon aired on Sunday nights during the 7–8 p.m. “family hour” time slot for most of the 1990s. In a few cases, two Montgomery television productions were shown on Sunday evenings back to back: Sullivan’s movie Lantern Hill aired on 30 December 1990 immediately after a second-season episode of Road to Avonlea, while its follow-up reunion movie Happy Christmas, Miss King aired on 13 December 1998 immediately after a second-season episode of Emily of New Moon. These productions also re-aired several times on CBC, almost always on Sunday nights.

In a sense, then, Canadian viewers have been watching adaptations of Montgomery’s work on CBC on Sunday nights for over thirty  years. And although Anne consists of a decidedly new take on the source material, I like the sense of continuity that comes with this scheduling decision, particularly for viewers who have fond memories not only of the earlier adaptations themselves but also of the experience of watching them on CBC on Sunday nights. And I look forward to tuning in on Sundays over the next seven weeks in order to discover where this new Anne universe will take us.

Anne in the news:

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