A Really Big Blog

Posted on Aug 25, 2016

If you want to brew a nice cup of tea or get comfy prior to reading today’s blog it might be in your best interest, because I have a LOT of information for you.

Where to begin? How about with production, where today marks the last summer hiatus for the cast & crew. For those of you who are new to these blogs, welcome! I should explain that while production of a season of Heartland takes place from May through the middle of December, there are a few scheduled hiatuses, or breaks. These give those who do not live in Calgary an opportunity to return home and spend some time with their family and friends before coming back out and resuming production.

This hiatus for everyone will be twelve days, with production resuming on day 11 of director Dean Bennett’s block 5 (episodes 1009 and 1010) on September 6. It was originally scheduled to be a ten day hiatus, but something came up to add two extra days to the break. Someday I will be able to give you all the details on this, but not today.

Meanwhile, let us not forget that all of this production is working towards the marvelous 10th season of television’s favourite family drama – Heartland, which is going to premiere across Canada on CBC (where else?) on Sunday, October 2nd at 7:00pm everywhere except in the eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador, where the locals there will be able to watch it at 7:30pm.

October 2nd? That, my friends, is 38 days away. Oh how it is inching nearer!!!

Now the day before the national season premiere on CBC there will be a special celebration hosted by the good folks at the Calgary International Film Festival, where cast, crew and hundreds of fans and festival attendees will have a party in downtown Calgary and screen episode 1001. It is going to be a major blast and it is now completely sold out, so for those of you who have tickets, congratulations; the first day of October is going to rock.

While I am going on about the beginning of months, on the first day of the following month – November – season 9 DVDs will be available in Canada. Woo-hoo! I know many of you are looking forward to purchasing your own copy of Heartland’s most recent season, complete with bonus extras.

Now, something involving hundreds of fans that I cannot pin a specific date on it is the day of production in September when hundreds of fans are going to be needed as part of a crowd in an episode of Heartland. Originally production had targeted a date (September 13), but that has a very good chance of shifting to another day in the month. Until I am told “BW – tell the fans it is going to be September XX, and the date will not move again,” I am not mentioning any dates.

I know this means a whole bunch of you are sitting on proverbial pins and needles, wondering if you have been chosen (selection will be by the first 700 who emailed in. Way more than that have applied to be extras, so production is no longer calling for emails), so you are going to have to be patient until everything is sorted out.

Something similar happened last year, when a weather concern prompted a moving of the extras crowd day, but that was after everyone had been notified that they were accepted as extras.

Anyway, things I can’t go into have turned the selection of the day into a bit of a mess, and if it’s not, as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell says in “No Country for Old Men,” “It’ll do until the mess gets here.”

So hang tight; as soon as I know, you will all know. I will email everyone who gets accepted, and then I will post that I have done just that. If you do not receive an email with the location, instructions and release form then sorry, you were too late emailing in to register.

So that’s that. Now let’s discuss some upcoming things involving some cast members of Heartland.

1) This Saturday (August 27) Shaun Johnston (Heartland’s Jack) is doing a 2-part Meet & Greet (afternoon) and Songs & Stories (evening) in the Ottawa area. This is a rare chance for fans in the nation’s capital to get up close to a lead member of Heartland’s cast. There are still some tickets left, and proceeds are going to the Make-A- Wish-Foundation. For more info see last week’s blog, and also check out this article on the event.

2) On Saturday (September 10) Michelle Morgan has organized a fundraiser to help a Syrian refuge family in Calgary. It should be something, as Shaun and Amber Marshall will be on hand to conduct a live Q&A with fans who show up. The event will run from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Tickets are $25.00 and will start selling at 1:00pm on the day. They are available on a first come first serve basis. This event will be held at the Symons Valley Ranch in Calgary. Everyone attending will receive a custom autographed cast photo, signed by Michelle, Amber, Shaun and Alisha Newton. It should be a lot of fun. If you’ve not met Heartland cast members, this is a great opportunity for anyone in the Calgary area.

Alisha was going to be there to support Michelle with this, but a conflict arose...

3) On Sunday (September 11) CBC will be broadcasting the 2016 Canadian Country Music Awards from London, Ontario and Heartland’s own Georgie Crawley – Alisha Newton – will be there live to hand out an award. Check local times for the broadcast and watch Alisha for the first time live as herself on national television.

Now let’s talk about fundraising for another very worthy cause – a Manitoba equine rescue organization named Southwinds Horse Rescue Inc. If you go to their Facebook page you will see that they are selling raffle tickets at $10.00 apiece which gives you a chance to win a Heartland set visit and meet the cast and crew and watch filming. NOTE: Unlike Alberta, the gaming authorities in Manitoba have NO geographical restriction regarding who can buy tickets, so if you are interested in possibly winning a chance to watch filming and meet the cast of Heartland, and help a truly worthy cause (Southwinds currently has 30 horses they are rescuing and rehoming) look them up on Facebook and see if you are feeling lucky. Good luck to all who buy a ticket!

Hoo Boy is this a comprehensive blog, no?

Before I sign off and tell you about the photos posted today, I want to once again prompt y’all to ask me anything in the comments section below. Whether it is about production, broadcast or anything to do with Canada’s longest running one-hour dramatic series, if you post a question in the comments section below I will do my best to answer your questions NEXT Thursday when I post my weekly blog. So go ahead – ask me anything! If I can answer your question I will.

The photos this week are all never before seen images from episode 812, which was directed by Gail Harvey, who will be returning this year to direct block 7 (episodes 1013 and 1014). That’s Gail in the bottom two photos in the Rolling Stones Tour T-shirt, taking a selfie with Graham in the second last photo. The last photo is quite cool, for Gail took a shot (inset) that has appeared in papers across the country. I didn’t realize it until today, but Heartland’s photographer – Andrew Bako – clicked a shot of Gail at the exact moment she took that photo. That is the last photo. Way to go Andrew!

The other photos are some scenic production photos and some good portraits of Amber and Graham. I hope you enjoy them.

That’s it! That’s all! There is no more from me, other than to again remind you to ask away in the comments below and next Thursday I will respond.

Until then I remain, as we tick… tick… tick… relentlessly towards Heartland’s season 10 premiere on CBC, obediently yours.