Tag Archives: Bruno & Boots

YTV jumps into horse-based family drama with charming Ride

Jonny Gray has established himself as a bona fide star for YTV. He leapt onto the network as co-lead on Max & Shred and most recently became Bruno in the Bruno & Boots franchise. Now he’s utilizing his real-life horse-riding skills as Josh Luders in the channel’s newest series, Ride.

But Ride, debuting its first episode of 20 half-hours this Monday on YTV, isn’t all about Gray. Instead, he’s part of an ensemble in the equine-themed family drama about Katherine “Kit” Bridges (Kendra Timmins, Wingin’ It), a young lady who swaps Canada for England when her father, Rudy (Mike Shara), accepts a gig as an equestrian supervisor at Covington Academy, an elite riding school. The Canada-England co-production, between Breakthrough Entertainment and Buccaneer Media in the UK, was created by writers Jill Girling (Life with Derek) and Lori Mather-Welch (Queer As Folk) and has a direct lineage to series like Heartland and Anne of Green Gables.


Like Heartland, there are horses and a lot of time is spent on them. It’s a horse riding boarding school after all, so that makes sense, and the beautiful beasts are certainly celebrated. Director Stefan Scaini, a stalwart of Canadian TV from Heartland and Odd Squad to Avonlea and Wind at My Back, spends several moments capturing their movement in Monday’s debut.

But Ride feels more to me like an update of Anne of Green Gables. Kit has a flowing, unruly mane of reddish hair, bursts with enthusiasm and energy, and thinks nothing but the best of people. That, of course, causes her to run afoul of uppity rider Elaine (Alana Boden) and school marm Lady Covington (Sara Botsford). Kit does make a friend rather quickly: a wild and unpredictable horse named TK everyone is afraid of.

There’s a lot to like in Ride. Aside from strong writing—in the first 60 seconds of the debut we know why Kit and Rudy are in England, how they feel about it and their reservations—and the performances (Timmins, in particular, is fantastic), there’s the setting: rolling green English countryside, gnarled tree branches and moss-covered castles.

Check Ride out and let me know what you think.

Ride airs Monday to Thursday at 7 p.m. ET/PT on YTV.

Cast image courtesy of Corus.


YTV prepares for more mischief and mayhem with two new Bruno & Boots TV movies from Gordon Korman’s Macdonald Hall series

From a media release:

YTV gets ready for more pranks from the infamous troublemakers at Macdonald Hall Boys’ School with the start of production on two new original television movies –  Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening At Macdonald Hall and Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War. Based on the much-loved Macdonald Hall series by best-selling young adult author Gordon Korman, the movies are produced by Aircraft Pictures and filmed in Hamilton, Ontario. Reprising their starring roles from Bruno & Boots: Go Jump in the Pool are Jonny Gray (Max & Shred, Ride) and Callan Potter (The Other Kingdom), Peter Keleghan (18 To Life, Murdoch Mysteries) and Caroline Rhea (Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Phineas and Ferb).

In This Can’t be Happing at Macdonald Hall, Headmaster Sturgeon has had enough. In an attempt to put an end to Bruno and Boots’ high jinks, he declares that they are to be separated; no shared classes and, most certainly, no shared dorm room. This punishment is worse than anything the boys could have imagined. However, if Bruno and Boots can alienate every boy in Dormitory 3, Sturgeon will be forced to re-unite them. The plot almost succeeds, but one misstep forces the girls from the Scrimmage Academy for Education and Awakening to move into Macdonald Hall, leaving Bruno and Boots back where they started.

In The Wizzle War, the Boards of Directors launch an experimental educational program, introducing authoritarian Assistant Headmaster Mr. Wizzle to the boys of Macdonald Hall and the miserable Assistant Headmistress Ms. Peabody to whip the girls of the Scrimmage Academy into shape. With new dress codes, psychological testing, and early-morning wake-up calls with track laps as punishment, the boys and girls decide Wizzle and Peabody have to go. But how? As they pull out all the stops, they ultimately turn to the theory that “love conquers all” to oust the pair once and for all.

Returning cast also includes Hannah Vandenbygaart (Make it Pop), Kiana Madeira (Really Me, My Babysitter’s a Vampire), Joshua Kilimnik (Backstage, Odd Squad), Drew Haytaoglu (Anne of Green Gables), Isiah Lea (The Stanley Dynamic), Jayne Eastwood (Little Mosque On The Prairie) and Scott Thompson (Kids In The Hall).  Joining the cast for the first time in Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War are Kathleen Phillips (Mr. D, Sunnyside) as Ms. Peabody and Matt Baram (Make It Pop, Seed) as Mr. Wizzle.

As part of Corus Entertainment’s commitment to creating premium kids content, Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening At Macdonald Hall and Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War join more than 350 hours of new and returning original programming airing across Corus’ suite of leading Kids networks in 2017. The movies are also produced with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund and Shaw Rocket Fund.

Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening At Macdonald Hall and Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War are produced by Anthony Leo and Andrew Rosen of Aircraft Pictures (Raising Expectations, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil) and directed by Vivieno Caldinelli (Bruno & Boots: Go Jump In The Pool, This Hour has 22 Minutes). The screenplay forThis Can’t Be Happening At Macdonald Hall was written by Adam Barken and Mike McPhaden and the screenplay for The Wizzle War was written by Mike McPhaden.


Potter and Gray cook up laughs in YTV’s Bruno & Boots TV-movie

Like many Canadians, Callan Potter grew up reading Gordon Korman’s adventures about two buddies, Bruno and Boots, their friends and the prep school they attended. Little did he know he’d end up portraying one of them.

“When I heard about the audition, I was excited because it was going to be a Bruno & Boots TV-movie,” Potter says. “That was before I even auditioned for the role.” But audition he did, landing the two-season Stratford Festival performer his first-ever television gig as Melvin “Boots” O’Neal in YTV’s Bruno & Boots: Go Jump in the Pool project airing Friday, April 1, on YTV. Based on Korman’s novel of the same name, Max & Shred‘s Jonny Gray plays Boots’ best bud, Bruno Walton; the pair hatch a plan to score money to build a swimming pool for their prestigious Macdonald Hall after some parents consider moving their sons to rival institution York Academy where there is a pool. The challenge? Coming up with creative fundraising projects to get the cash under the watchful eye of Headmaster William “The Fish” Sturgeon (Peter Keleghan).

What makes Bruno and Boots so appealing in the books is their chemistry. Yes, they constantly tease each other, their friends and prank everyone in sight, but they’re fiercely loyal to each other and their school. That bond is also evident on-screen between Potter and Gray, and began during their first screen test.


“We hit it off right away,” Gray says. “We have so many similar interests.” Admittedly, it is a bit jarring to see fictional characters brought to life in a television series or movie. After creating an image of them in my head while reading the books, it took a few minutes to adjust, especially The Fish, who I pictured as a thin, bald man. Peter Keleghan couldn’t be further from that, but brings an energy—and physical comedy—to Go Jump in the Pool that not only will cause viewers to laugh, but his co-stars during filming as well.

“I was in a scene with Peter and Scott [Thompson, who plays York Academy’s Headmaster Hartley], and I was just watching them, thinking, ‘This guy is a genius,’ and I missed my cue,” Gray admits. The physical laughs don’t just come from Keleghan, however. Gray and Potter, along with co-stars Hannah Vandenbygaart, Kiana Madeira, Joshua Kilimnik, Drew Haytaoglu and Isiah Lea, all participated in a cooking competition fundraiser that turned into a massive food fight.

“It was a free-for-all, it was ridiculous,” recalls Gray. “You’d have cupcakes and frosting mashed into a ball and smashed into someone’s face. We had flour and chocolate chips dumped on us.”

“We had to shower and shoot two scenes after that,” Potter says. “I had cake in my ears.”

Bruno & Boots: Go Jump in the Pool airs Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on YTV.


Video: Bruno & Boots: Go Jump in the Pool premieres April 1 on YTV

Determined to prevent his best friend Boots O’Neal from being transferred to a boarding school with better athletic facilities, mischief-maker Bruno Walton rallies the boys of Macdonald Hall and the girls of Scrimmage Academy in an epic quest to raise enough money to build Macdonald Hall its own swimming pool. The original movie based on the much-loved Macdonald Hall book series by best-selling young adult author Gordon Korman. Premiers Friday, April 1 at 7:30p.m. ET/PT on YTV