Anne Scheduling Changes

During the broadcast of the first episode of Anne last Sunday evening on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, several commercials announced what had to be a bold move for the broadcaster: while the CBC announced plans to air the first episode of another new show, Canada: The Story of Us, the following week (March 26), Anne would return on Sunday, April 2, with a rebroadcast of the first two-hour episode (“Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny”) immediately preceding the initial broadcast of the second episode (“I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me”). This in spite of the fact that the first episode can now be watched on the CBC website (at least within Canada) and can be downloaded for free on iTunes.

Just yesterday morning, I came across the following tweet from the show’s official Twitter account:

Now, according to my PVR machine this morning, here is what’s scheduled to happen next: this Sunday, March 26, CBC will air episode two, “I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me,” in the series regular time slot of 8:00 p.m. (8:30 in Newfoundland). And then on Sunday, April 2, CBC will rebroadcast, in a four-hour block, the two-hour-long episode one and episode two, followed by the initial broadcast of episode three, “But What Is So Headstrong as Youth?

Check your local listings for updates: who knows how this schedule might change again!

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:

Responses to New Anne Television Series

Anne of Green Gables Meets Breaking Bad?
Anne of Green Gables Meets Breaking Bad? Source: Unknown.

As I reported yesterday, news broke this week that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had ordered an eight-episode limited series based on L.M. Montgomery’s novel Anne of Green Gables from producer Moira Walley-Beckett, whose past writing credits include the television series Breaking Bad. The news received rather mixed comments, judging by the comments left on various news sites and even on the Facebook page for L.M. Montgomery Online: for some commentators, Sullivan Entertainment’s 1985 miniseries is of such high quality that any attempt to remake it is pointless (for several fans, no one but Megan Follows can ever play Anne), whereas others voiced concern about the decision to hire Walley-Beckett to helm the project, given not only her past writing credits but also the statement that the series would “chart new territory” by depicting “new adventures reflecting timeless issues, including themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.”

In the midst of this mixed reaction, several additional articles were released in the last few days, emphasizing why a new take on L.M. Montgomery’s 108-year-old novel is not only understandable but absolutely necessary:

As for me, I’m thrilled that a talented writer/producer wants to interpret Montgomery’s best-known novel and ever-appealing protagonist for the twenty-first century, just as I am always fascinated by adaptations of Anne of Green Gables and its sequels for stage and screen, from a 1934 Hollywood “talkie” and Kevin Sullivan’s work to the recent hit play Anne and Gilbert and Breakthrough Entertainment’s upcoming telefilm. Given how meaningful the character Anne Shirley is to so many readers worldwide, surely there is room for a new take on this ever-popular character.

The Blythes Are Quoted on CBC’s “Year in Books”

The publication of The Blythes Are Quoted has been selected as one of the “10 biggest publishing stories of 2009” on a CBC.ca news story:

Fans of the precocious, freckle-faced redhead from P.E.I. had reason to rejoice this year when an amended version of the final Anne Shirley stories was released under a new title, The Blythes Are Quoted. But the book’s additional 100 pages revealed a darker story – complete with references to adultery and suicide. Novelist Jane Urquhart ably provided a context for these bleak scenes in her comprehensive, unflinching biography of Anne’s author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne’s banner year ended with a triumphant Sotheby’s auction—proof that great CanLit never goes out of fashion.

Interview on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today

I will be interviewed on Ontario Today on Monday, 14 December 2009, sometime between 12:00 and 12:30, on CBC Radio One:

L.M. Montgomery’s last manuscript, The Blythes Are Quoted, has just been published for the first time in its entirety. The manuscript was submitted to Montgomery’s publisher the day she died. It’s the ninth volume in the Anne series. The editor who re-discovered the typescript will be our guest on Ontario Today. And of course Ed Lawrence will join us as well.

Radio Interview and Roundtable

I will be interviewed by Line Boily on her radio show Les arts et les autres on Monday, 2 June 2008, at 1:05 EST, on Radio-Canada 1 (French-language CBC). The topic is Anne of Green Gables and I will be commenting on its origins, its continued international popularity in the centenary year, and its success in adaptations such as movies, musicals, and tourist sites in Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Since I am presently in Vancouver attending Congress, I will be speaking to her from Studio C at CBC Vancouver.

Les arts et les autres is broadcast across Ontario; to find your local frequency, click here. You can also listen to it live through the Radio-Canada website. On the homepage for Ontario, click on “Écoutez en direct—Première chaine” and choose your nearest location.

Also, today I am participating at a one-day symposium on Anne of Green Gables at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia. In addition to co-chairing an ACCUTE panel on “Anne of Green Gables: New Directions at 100,” I will be one of seven participants in a roundtable called “Anne of Green Gables: A Literary Icon at 100: Canadian Scholars and Critics Reflect on Anne of Green Gables in the Centenary Year,” chaired by Irene Gammel:

This round table of leading Canadian critics and scholars takes stock of Canada’s most famous literary icon, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, at its centenary anniversary. What is behind the popularity of the novel? What is its global value and status? What is its future in Canada and the world? We also invite the public to submit questions to our panel of experts via email: Anne100@mlc.ryerson.ca.

My five-minute paper is titled “Confessions of a Male Montgomery Scholar” and will include a discussion of my Green Gables toenail clippers. I am also presenting a paper as part of the ACCUTE conference on the fiction of Joy Kogawa.

Je serai l’invité de Line Boily à l’émission de radio Les arts et les autres ce lundi, 2 juin 2008, à 13h05 (heure normale de l’est), à Radio-Canada (première chaine). L’entrevue porte sur le roman Anne… La Maison aux pignons verts : ses origines, sa popularité internationale continue pendant l’année de son centième anniversaire, et son succès dans les médias connexes, telles que le petit écran, la comédie musicale, et le site touristique en Ontario et à l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard. Étant donné que je suis présentement à Vancouver pour assister au Congrès des sciences humaines, je lui parlerai du Studio C à Radio-Canada Vancouver.

L’émission est diffusée à travers l’Ontario; vous trouverez votre fréquence locale ici. Vous pouvez également écouter à l’émission au site web de Radio-Canada. Une fois rendus à la page pour l’Ontario, choisissez la rubrique « Écoutez en direct » ainsi que votre région.