September 06, 2007 13:55 ET

A Prairie Giant Comes to VisionTV

Multi-faith network to air award-winning Tommy Douglas miniseries Sept. 25 and 27

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 6, 2007) - VisionTV, Canada's multi-faith and multicultural television network, will broadcast the provocative two-part miniseries Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story.

The four-hour film, produced by Regina, Sask.-based Minds Eye Entertainment, will air as a special presentation on Tuesday, Sept. 25 and Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. and midnight ET/6 p.m. and 9 p.m. PT. This is the first time Prairie Giant has aired in Canada since its premiere on CBC-TV in March 2006.

The award-winning production recalls the life and times of fiery prairie politician Tommy Douglas, the five-time premier of Saskatchewan and leader of the federal New Democratic Party.

A Baptist minister, Douglas was spurred to enter politics by the suffering he witnessed during the Great Depression. He tirelessly championed social justice, leading the battle for reforms such as the introduction of public health care.

Douglas, who died in 1986, was as polarizing a figure in his time as he is iconic today. Generally acknowledged as the "father of Medicare," he was voted history's "Greatest Canadian" in a 2004 contest organized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Prairie Giant was directed by John N. Smith (The Boys of St. Vincent) and produced by Kevin DeWalt. Bruce M. Smith wrote the screenplay. Acclaimed stage actor Michael Therriault (best known for his Dora Award-winning performance as Gollum in the musical adaptation of The Lord of the Rings) stars as Tommy Douglas.

The distinguished cast also includes Kristin Booth as Irma Douglas, along with Nicholas Campbell, Brent Carver, Paul Gross, Andy Jones, Don McKellar and R.H. Thomson. Prairie Giant has earned numerous honours, including seven awards at the 2007 Accolade Television Competition, and received nine Gemini Award nominations, including Best Dramatic Miniseries.

Controversy erupted at the time of Prairie Giant's original broadcast, over complaints that the miniseries contained historical inaccuracies - particularly related to former Saskatchewan Premier James G. Gardiner - and a delay of broadcast date prompted by the 2006 federal election.

Mark Prasuhn, VisionTV's Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, Programming, said the network acknowledges the concerns regarding historical accuracy, but considers it important that Canadians enjoy another chance to see this internationally acclaimed production.

Said Mr. Prasuhn: "Prairie Giant's overarching theme - the struggle for social justice - is a timely one worthy of continued debate and discussion. Our viewers understand that any dramatization of past events may contain fictionalized elements, and will gauge what they see accordingly in the context of the larger issues that the program explores.

"Tommy Douglas's social activism was informed by his deep religious belief. As a multi-faith broadcaster committed to celebrating the place of spirituality in contemporary Canadian life, VisionTV sees Prairie Giant as a seamless fit with our program offering, and we are very proud to present this special airing."

To lend historical context to its presentation of Prairie Giant, VisionTV will also rebroadcast the documentary Social Gospel and the Public Good on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. This hour-long film traces the history of the "social gospel" - a movement whose emphasis on applying Christian principles for social change was an important influence on Tommy Douglas's life and work.

For more information on Prairie Giant, please visit

Contact Information

  • VisionTV
    Media Contact: David Todd
    Media Relations Manager
    (416) 368-3194, ext. 207