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Telescope: The Clarksons

The Story

He's a political science professor active in the fight against Toronto's proposed Spadina Expressway. She's a television personality who writes novels on the side. Together, Adrienne and Stephen Clarkson epitomize their politically engaged, artistically exuberant times. In strategy meetings at the university, protests at Nathan Phillips Square and behind the scenes at CBC Television's Take 30, this episode of Telescope parachutes into the glamorous life of the Clarksons for an intimate glimpse at one of Toronto's hippest young duos. 

Medium: Television
Program: Telescope
Broadcast Date: Dec. 22, 1970
Guest(s): Adrienne Clarkson, Stephen Clarkson
Host: Ken Cavanagh
Duration: 22:55

Did You know?

• Adrienne Poy and Stephen Clarkson met at Trinity College at the University of Toronto. They married in 1963 and had three daughters. After one child died in infancy, the marriage began to unravel, culminating in a bitter divorce in 1975. Stephen Clarkson retained custody of their two daughters, who were estranged from their mother for many years. • A Rhodes Scholar who earned his doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris, Stephen Clarkson began teaching political science at the University of Toronto in mid-1960s. As seen in this program, he was extremely active in municipal politics, including the campaign against the Spadina Expressway. He ran for mayor of Toronto in 1969, but came in third. Stephen Clarkson has written several books, including Uncle Sam and Us: Globalization, Neoconservatism and the Canadian State, Canada and the Reagan Challenge and co-authored Trudeau and Our Times. He currently teaches political economy at U of T.


• Adrienne Clarkson began her journalism career at the CBC and rose quickly to become one of Canada's most prominent broadcasters. Starting in 1965 she hosted CBC Television's popular daytime current affairs program Take 30 for 10 years. Subsequently, she moved to hard journalism as host of The Fifth Estate, and later still had her own cultural affairs program called Adrienne Clarkson Presents.


• In October 1999 she was appointed Governor-General of Canada and she served in that post until September 2005. In 2006, Clarkson published her autobiography, Heart Matters. She lives in Toronto with her husband John Ralston Saul. 



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