This year’s Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award winners will be announced on April 22. We’ve been catching up with many of the writers nominated in the comedy and drama categories. Saving Hope‘s Esta Spalding was nominated for her episode “Bea, Again”.
Can you describe the episode “Bea, Again” and how it fit into the Saving Hope season?
The episode “Bea, Again” was the episode of Saving Hope that came after the three week break the series had taken so that CTV could air the Olympics. Right before the break, in episode 8, there was a very big cliffhanger: Charlie (a lead character who has been in a coma since the first episode and has been walking around the hospital as a ghost) is unplugged from life support. Alex, his fiancee, is devastated. In my episode, Charlie has to survive this process. The plug is pulled in episode 8, but he needs to be hanging between life and death and only declared alive at the end of episode 9. Now, in real life, once the plug is pulled you either live or die. So the challenge was to make that process last for a TV-hour without having it last for an actual hour. I also knew that dramatically Alex needed to be with Charlie, at his bedside, but that the show’s mandate was for her to have a high-stakes medical case each week. How could I do both things? It was such a strange, challenging crossword puzzle. Maybe because of my background as a poet, I found all of the limitations really energizing and I came up with a very fun structure and story.
What does this recognition mean to you?
This recognition means so much to me. There’s no higher honor than to be honored by your peers — your fellow writers in the trenches. I am thrilled to have been nominated.
If there was one Canadian show that is no longer on the air that you could see honored at this year’s awards, what would it be? (If you have a specific episode, even better).
I’ve been watching Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom show on HBO and thinking how much better Semi Chellas’s Eleventh Hour was. There was always great critical acclaim for that show, but I wish that show had found a larger audience while it was on the air. It’s a show I’d still be happy to be writing for, all these years later.
Saving Hope season one airs Saturday nights on CTV Two. Season two is slated to air this summer.