It’s ABWA Time

Posted on Oct 26, 2017

Today’s blog will start with some important stuff first –

1) There will not be a new episode this Sunday. The next new episode will air on CBC in Canada on Sunday, November 5. The episode will be the sixth episode of Heartland’s 11th season – “Strange Bedfellows,” written by Pamela Pinch and directed by Pierre Tremblay. I will go into great detail about it, with lots of photos, next Thursday.

2) Today on set: Day 5 of 14 of Block 8 is being filmed. This block has episodes 1115 and 1116, meaning there is one more block to go.

3) I am hoping next Thursday I may have the date and more information for the next "Fans as Extras" day, which will take place in November. I have no info about it now, but as soon as I know, I will post it FIRST on my next blog.

4) Only one photo today. It depicts Director Pierre Tremblay on the set of his episode - 1106 (which airs November 5 on CBC) - talking to Shaun Johnston as the crew is getting ready to film a scene between Jack and Mitch. I'm not quite sure what Kevin McGarry is doing in the background; I guess we'll have to wait 10 days.

5) ABWA stands for the American Business Women’s Association, but for our purposes on the blog it stands for ASK BLOG WHISPERER ANYTHING. And you did – last week. I’ve answered every question, ignoring where the same question was repeated.

So let’s get right down to it then, shall we? In the order they were received…

Sarah Blenkin asks: My question is: is there a way to tell when Ruby is playing Lyndy and when Emmanuella is?

A: Yes. When filming is happening we take a close look at the baby relaxing in her trailer. If it is Emmanuella then we know Ruby is the one acting at the moment. If it is Ruby in the trailer we know Emmanuella is on set. In other words – the cast and crew know, but you the audience are not supposed to.

Nancy Moore Wilson asks: Do all the actors on Heartland (those who ride horses, bulls, etc or otherwise interact with animals) have stunt doubles, or do any do these tricks themselves?

A: It depends on what the stunts are. Amber Marshall (Amy) and Alisha Newton (Georgie) do most of their own jumping. Whenever it is a physical stunt, like falling off a horse, then a double is used. For most of the rodeo stunts doubles are used, although Madison Cheeatow (Jade) did some of her own bulldogging stunts a couple of episodes ago.

Tina Enns asks: Is it Graham Wardle’s decision or the writers’ decision to not have Ty in every episode?

A: I really don’t have the details on all the negotiations between the production and the various cast members. I will say that if you have lead actors you want them all in as many episodes as possible. One of the blessings of the series is it is not one with a main lead like “Anne” or “Being Erica” or “Mr. D” where you know that one person is going to star in every episode. Heartland is an ensemble series and each member of the cast gets their chance to shine. This enables some flexibility in the episodes, allowing for a variety of interesting storylines.

Elizabeth Boerner asks, “Love the blogs! Love Heartland! But when is Season 10 coming to the U.S? The UK has already gotten S10.”

A: Atlanta-based UP aired season 10 starting last May. Right now they are broadcasting it a second time. Other networks are as well. Check around your stations; you may be surprised.

Cindy Leeds Rauscher asks: Where did Ty go????

A: Off to British Columbia, but not for long.

Susan Hawkins asks: My question would be why is the last song of this new episode not going to feature a Canadian Indy person as has been the record before? Heather has mentioned the difficulty in finding that closing song but I thought she pushed for it always to be Canadian representative and from the Indy genre.

A: My original answer online was: This song was available and fit the closing scene perfectly. It's not like Heartland has not played new Canadian talent. It's a testament to the musical talent Canada has that so many times it is a Canadian song that graces the end of an episode. Wait until you hear it in context with 1105. I’ll now add that director Ken Filewych felt that Niall’s song worked perfectly with this episode. You don’t get perfect all that often so that was why the song was chosen.

Katherine Reeves Carpenter asks: My question is similar to another I saw posted, and it's always something I've wondered about. Characters seem to be featured for a while, then they go to New York or Mongolia or France, then come back! Is this because the actors are working on other projects? It makes the storyline seem a little "forced" whenever their absence is explained -- Mallory's with Jake in Europe, Peter's working in Vancouver, etc. etc.

A: Heartland has many actors and actresses with prominent roles. They can’t all have the ‘A’ storyline in every segment but there has been a nice balance between who appears – and for how much – in each episode. Often times it is dictated by who is available. The cast are not obligated to be available 24/7 to be in Heartland. The studio system, where talent could only work for one production house, is long dead. If the series focussed on one actor or storyline it would lose the interest of fans for the other characters. The series will continue to adapt in order to tell the best stories the whole family can enjoy. Eventually, characters may leave. Jessica Amlee – who played Mallory – moved to California to further her career and education. Other than that every main cast member from season 1; Amber Marshall, Shaun Johnston, Michelle Morgan, Graham Wardle, Nathaniel Arcand and Chris Potter has stayed on the series and are all in this season 11. Believe me, that in itself is a major accomplishment that is rare in long running series.

David Shaw asks: Heartland on CBC then call them (Fjord horses portraying Mongolian Przewalski horses) what they are, is there such a big need to write about Mongolia ?

A: Actually there is, as you will find out in upcoming episodes.

Christine Ellen asks: Can Scott and Lou PLEASE get together!?

A: Ah yes – Team Mitch, Team Peter and Team Scott. There will not be a democratic vote and to tell you the honest truth, Lou’s endgame is not known yet. It depends on several factors. That’s what makes it so much fun, no?

Shelagh Lynne Supeene observes: I just started to watch this show. I thought it was Canadian, but in the most recent episode Amy says "huh" when talking to her daughter, as Americans do.

A: Heartland is 100% Canadian, and don’t forget it, huh? I mean eh!

Sabrina Langner asks: Heartland on CBC when will the blog about the Fan Extras Day be posted? Would love to go again!

A: I answered it at the top of this post. Watch next Thursday’s BW Blog post right here for an update.

Al Weber asks: The question I have goes back to the Heartland Christmas Special. I found a movie called "The Horses of MacBride. It is a true story that happen at MacBride B.C around 2008, about a couple of horses that an outfitter form Edmonton lost in the mountains and were found by some skidooers from MacBride. The story line is almost the same as the Christmas Special where Amy, Ty, Jack, Tim and the people of Pike River rescue those horses. I was wondering if that is where the writers got there idea for the Christmas Special

A: From the story yes, not from the book. The story was broadcast on the news and printed in newspapers long before the script of “A Heartland Christmas” or the book were written.

Kristen Claydon writes: I know we can't have spoilers, but please just tell me that Ty won't be gone for long! He just became a father, and I've really been enjoying seeing him and Amy TOGETHER as parents! Plus he already went to Mongolia for 4 months last season! I admire that he wants to help endangered wildlife, but he already did that when he was in Mongolia! He needs to be home with his wife and daughter! Please tell me this won't be for long!

A: Okay. This won’t be for long, in the grand scheme of things.

Clearie Lewis observes: Heartland on CBC in the afternoon has wound back to the beginning and I realised that there is no other TV series that I can happily watch over and over without tiring of it <3 (and I am not a TV addict by any stretch) Thank you from Edmonton <3

A: You are more than welcome. The series seems to have that effect on many people, which just makes everyone involved in its creation… well, blush!

Lauryl McKnight asks: I would love to know who does all the cooking for the family dinner scenes. It all looks delicious.

A: It does, doesn’t it? That would be the props department, who supply every prop appearing on the show.

While I am on that topic, I have something to report. The one question that keeps getting asked over and over again by fans (though not this week) is where Heartland got those green mugs that the cast uses. I ran into Heartland’s Props Master – Johnny Jones – and asked him. His answer – “No idea.” He went on to say, “No one can remember where they were first bought in season 1, but if anyone out there knows, let us know, so we can get some. After a decade we’ve lost a few of them.”

Andreas Constantinou asks: BW - My question is; How are the characters on the show getting paid? Is it yearly or by the episode?

A: It’s pretty much like real life. If you are working on a day you get paid. If you are not working you don’t get paid. It’s a fair concept, no?

Richard Elizondo poses the following: Wyatt is cool and calm....I hope he hooks up with Casey's sister in law...Lou is too weird to

A: Do you mean Mitch? Because Wyatt is Casey’s sister-in-law’s step son. Yow!

Kimberly R. Wilson asks: Curious, What did Lou & Katie do while waiting for this week’s episode, I mean in real life? Curious, what will Ty be doing during his absence, once again I mean in real life. I know that is 2 questions but they could be reported in one answer. Thanks BW.

A: There is no longer a studio system where the production company owns the stable of actor and actresses who appear in its productions. So, if an actor or actress is not working on set they can pretty well do whatever they want, and they do not have to report any of it to the bosses.

Miroslav Horvat observes: Interesting in 1 block of Heartland filming finishes 2 episodes, and I see on production tweets they are finishing block 7 now That would mean they have done 14 episodes already. Can this be right? It goes pretty fast.

A: Yes it does. In fact, while I wrote this blog one entire additional day has been filmed. To tell you the truth it seems to go by faster every year. The production office opens in April, filming starts in May and wraps at the end of November. Yow!!!

Susan Mitchell asks: Because I'm in US, I haven't seen any of Season 11 yet but I'm sad that it sounds like Ty and Amy are not as close in this season, is he going to leave the show? Really hope not, Ty and Amy are my favourite characters!

A: I wouldn’t be too concerned. In fact, trust me on this and don’t be concerned at all.

Barry-Dawn Bouillion asks: Will Amy sing again?

A: I certainly hope so. We’ll have to watch and see.

Emily Fairchild asks: So BW, is there an explanation from you/the writers as to why Norwegian Fjord horses were used instead of actual Mongolian horses for us fans? I imagine it's because it's probably next to impossible to get an actual Mongolian horse but it would be nice to mention something in a post about the breed differences for maybe those Heartland fans that aren't up to par on their horse knowledge. :)

A: The script called for Attila to be one of the last truly wild breeds in the world, the Przelwalski's horse, which was at one time extinct in the wild. It has been reintroduced but is still endangered. It was indeed impossible to obtain any to film, so Heartland’s head wrangler – Jesse Thomson – was taxed with finding a breed of horse that could pass for the Mongolian breed. After extensive research he settled on Norwegian Fjord horses, some of which were almost identical to certain Przelwalski’s horses he was able to observe. Both breeds are small, strong and agile. Both contain the dun gene, which affects the black and red pigments in the breed’s horse colour. Both also have dorsal stripes down the centre of the back along the spine.

The story of Attila will continue later in the season. I will talk more about the horses then. 

Penn Ashe asks: Any chance of hearing some Gordon Lightfoot music on the best show on tv?

A: If a song is deemed perfect for an episode, and if it can be obtained for a price that falls within the episode’s budget, any song could be used. Personally I’d like to see a new character introduced by the name of Edmund Fitzgerald who has a drinking problem and gets wrecked and… oh, never mind.

Johnny Reyes observes: For the past eleven seasons some of the cast take off for one or more episodes for personal reasons. And for all those seasons Amber Marshall is always present in all episodes on all the eleven seasons. And yet fans never heard of any issues or hints or complaints from her. Not many actresses would have such dedications and loyalty. I tip my hat to her for accomplishment.

A: Good observation Johnny. Someday I will write a book about this series and I will sing her praises.

Sheila English asks: This is probably an old question that you’ve answered before but can you tell me if CDs have been made of Heartland music?

A: I can. They have not. The series purchases the songs to be used in the episodes only. It would cost more to obtain the rights to put them on a record. Heartland is first and foremost a television series. However, there is a place (if you are in Canada) where you can listen to all of the songs - right here on this site: Heartland Music.

Barb Mckenney asks: I own a fjord and missed the show that they were on, will that show be aired again

A: Yes Barb. All the episodes do eventually air again on CBC. You can watch the episode now on the CBC Player, as long as you are in Canada.

Pauline Jourdain is curious to know what Amber found easier, playing a pregnant Amy in season 10 or playing a mother in season 11.

A: Pauline – if we shipped you the ever-growing pregnancy belly prosthetic Amber had to wear during last season I am sure you would agree that being a mom is easier.

Dave Min Chang asks: Will Mitch and Lou get back together?

A: I guess I am a little late with this answer, aren’t I?

Leona Murrell asks, What happened to Ty's hair?

A: It has changed a lot over the seasons, hasn’t it?

Jack Rhodes states and requests: We Love this show, it is so family friendly and awesomely filled with horses-in-action scenes. Please keep on filming forever!

A: Nice words; Thanks! Forever is a long time, but why not go for it???

Peter Clout muses: I love a bet. Should run a book. 1) Ty left ep 113, came back bashed in 201. 2) Left again 318, came back 401 with another sheila. 3) Left 1004, came back 1017 with leprosy or whatever disease. Now 4) left 1104, comes back 11?? with ????. What sort of market can we put up??.

A: Peter! Behave! It’s a family show. Besides, you are not going to see this one coming. Hee Hee!

Martha Olver asks: Beautiful episodes so far ... love the storylines ... the scenery ... all of it. Two related questions: somewhere it's been mentioned that someone from season two is coming back ... is that character a person or an animal and was that character in other seasons or just in season two?

A: Martha, I am not known for spoilers, but I will tell you that the answer to your questions will be evident on episode 1106, when it is broadcast on Sunday, November 5.

Judy Hils asks: What happened with Sugar foot? Love heartland.

A: Little Chief (That’s his name) is fine. He just hasn’t had a reason to be on the series lately.

Soile Virtanen asks: Any chance you could share the missing episode titles? :)

A: For you? Anything! Here we go …

HEARTLAND SEASON 11 Episode Titles

  • 1101: Baby on Board
  • 1102: Highs and Lows
  • 1103: Decision Time  
  • 1104: How to Say Goodbye
  • 1105: Measuring Up
  • 1106: Strange Bedfellows
  • 1107: Ours Sons and Daughters
  • 1108: Truth be Told
  • 1109: Challenges
  • 1110: A Fine Balance
  • 1111: Somewhere in Between
  • 1112: Out of the Shadows
  • 1113: Reunion
  • 1114: Past Imperfect
  • 1115: Strength of Bonds
  • 1116: A Place of Your Own *
  • 1117: Doubt
  • 1118: Naming Day *

* Please note that these are working titles and are subject to change.

So that's it for another "Ask the Blog Whisperer Anything." We'll do it again sometime, but next week I'll be back to expand on upcoming 1106 (airs November 5).

Until then I remain, as always, obediently yours.