Before he was Murdoch, Yannick Bisson was Toby McTeague

Yannick Bisson, the future star of Murdoch Mysteries, appears on CBC-TV to talk about his title role in Toby McTeague.

Teenage actor talks accomplishments and aspirations in 1986 interview

How Yannick Bisson got his start

38 years ago
Duration 1:17
Sixteen-year-old Yannick Bisson tells CBC's Midday about how he got his start in acting.

Long before he became known to audiences as Detective William Murdoch, a young actor named Yannick Bisson was playing the title role in a family movie that was to air on CBC-TV.

Back in the spring of 1986, Bisson appeared on CBC-TV's Midday to talk about Toby McTeague, a Quebec-set drama involving a single father, his two sons and the world of sled-dog racing. 

On Midday, Bisson's character was described as "an impetuous teenager who's trying to win not only the race, but also the respect of his father." 

It was a role that required Bisson to do some of his own stunts.

"We were just thrown on set... and we had to look good at it, so we just did it," Bisson told Midday co-host Valerie Pringle.

Big break in Hockey Night

Bisson, then 16, also talked about his still-developing career and what he hoped to do in future.

Before working on Toby McTeague, he'd landed a role in Hockey Night — a film in which Megan Follows had the lead role as a young woman who joined an all-boys hockey team.

Megan Follows and Yannick Bisson appeared in the 1984 film Hockey Night. (Fred Phipps/CBC Still Photo Collection)

"It was the break I'd say," Bisson, when it is suggested the Hockey Night role had been a big step forward in his career.

He also reveals that he's getting cast in commercials, as well as longer projects.

"Is this full-time now, or do you go to school, too?" Pringle asks him.

"I'm going to school also, but it's taking up most of my time," says Bisson.

'No way around it'

When asked by Pringle for tips for aspiring actors, Bisson obliges.

And it seems the teenage actor has by then already developed a keen sense of the nuts and bolts of the film-and-television industry.

Career advice from the young Yannick Bisson

38 years ago
Duration 1:08
On CBC's Midday, 16-year-old Yannick Bisson is asked to give advice to aspiring actors.

"You know, you have to have an agent," Bisson tells Pringle, matter-of-factly. 

"There's just no way around it because they're the person that's going to take care of you and is also going to, you know, hype you up — for lack of a better word — that's going to make you."

In the years ahead, Bisson would keep a busy schedule, racking up dozens of television credits before landing his long-running and much-beloved title role on Murdoch Mysteries.

Yannick Bisson has spent a decade as the star of Murdoch Mysteries. (Shane Mahood/Shaftesbury)