Tag Archives: CBC

Set Visit: Dragons’ Den is Vikram Vij’s new baby

Peering upon the Dragons’ Den chairs is almost like looking at Canada’s equivalent to the Iron Throne. Each of the five seats belongs to some of Canada’s most successful business moguls (including Jim Treliving, Arlene Dickinson and David Chilton), armed with the bank accounts, connections and real-world experience to change the lives of the everyday entrepreneur. With that knowledge, you can almost physically feel the power radiating from each chair.

It’s no surprise then that Vikram Vij, chef, restaurant giant and one of two new dragons joining the den for Season 9 (alongside Michael Wekerle), was too nervous to sleep the night before his first day, regardless of how much prep work he put in.

“I had studied hard, I had really done my homework, I had done so much other stuff to prepare, but it’s a little bit like child bearing,” Vij says. “This experience was like I had just given birth. I needed to go through the pains and the motions of learning how things are going to happen for me.”

Vij is no virgin to television gigs, serving as a judge on Recipe to Riches, Chopped and Top Chef Canada in the past. But what Dragons’ Den is giving Vij is an opportunity to show viewers that he’s much more than just a chef and restaurateur.

“I want to get away from the stigma of people thinking I’m a food guy only,” Vij says, listing his investments in computer apps as an example of some of his other business ventures. “At the end of the day I’m a businessman. I’m looking for great deals and I’m going to put money where the great deals are.”

What Recipe to Riches did do to help Vij, however, was give him a pre-established connection to Dragons’ Den through fellow Riches judge Arlene Dickinson, a Dragon since Season 2. Although the veteran gave her friend some tips, Dickinson doesn’t seem to have a problem flexing her seniority over Vij when it comes to the Den.

“She kind of said to me very nicely, ‘Just be yourself. Be silly if you have to be, and do what you need to do and just be yourself.’ Which also meant, ‘I will take you and ring you very nicely if I have to because I am the senior person on this show,'” Vij says with a smile.

“Initially a couple of times when I’m making a pitch or asking questions she will look over at me and say, ‘Really? You asked that question? Why would you ask that question?'” he says. “She comes from the experience like you should already know this.”

After filming a handful of pitches, Vij now refers to himself as more of an underdog rather than simply a rookie. It’s something he knows will continue to change as he discovers his individual place within the show’s pre-existing puzzle.

“I find that sometimes the pitches go automatically towards Arlene because they gravitate towards her, but that’s OK” Vij says. “I’m going to make my mark and keep focused at it.”

Dragons’ Den airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.


Review: Det. Murdoch’s dark edge

The prevailing tone consuming the first two episodes of Murdoch Mysteries this season has been one of darkness. That’s a pretty odd thing to say about a TV series that deals with a murder of the week, but Murdoch Mysteries has always juxtaposed that with a pretty large dose of humour thanks to Crabtree and Higgins, and even a well-timed “Bloody hell!” courtesy of Brackenreid.

And while those two young coppers did supply a few chuckles–along with the fantastic Patrick McKenna as Inspector Hamish Slorach–much of “On the Waterfront” parts one and two showed darker sides to characters we’ve loved for eight seasons.

Leading the pack was, of course, Brackenreid. He’s always had an edge to him, a willingness to throw a few fists around in the interrogation room if it meant getting a confession. But his lone wolf act–seeking out the O’Shea brothers with nary a badge nor a care about his own well-being in their search–was very different. When those dastardly brothers ended up dead I must admit I wondered if Brackenreid had had a hand in it.

Story-wise, the tale of corruption at Toronto’s wharf took a horrible turn and delved into adult territory with the realization that overseas women were part of a human trafficking ring that was coming out of the city docks; pretty mature stuff for 8 p.m. on a Monday night.

Murdoch, rightly disgusted by the whole thing, took out his frustrations on one man by decking him. I like it when Murdoch is willing to get his hands dirty and use them instead of his intelligence, so I was more than happy to see him dole out some 10-fingered justice. That rough side came out later when Murdoch faced off with Leslie Garland, with the former telling the latter–who had just lost his job as a lawyer thanks to Julia–that if he ever showed his face around again Murdoch would take off his badge throw some punches. I’m secretly hoping Leslie drops by so I can see that happen.

And while the boys were getting physical, Murdoch’s girls were fighting with their minds. Things looked bleak after their arrest for staging a protest in support of the Suffragette movement and Emily’s assault charged hinted she’d be spending time behind bars. That was until Clara Brett Martin entered the fray. Murdoch Mysteries’ latest real-life historical figure, played by Patricia Fagan, is the first female lawyer in the British Empire. Her spunk, willingness to play the legal game–and use a little blackmail supplied by Julia–got all of the charges against the accused dropped. (I was hoping Leslie’s little game of scaring Julia into thinking James Gillies was still alive would come back to haunt him.) Clara, another high-ranking female in Toronto’s circles will no doubt inspire Julia and Emily to push women’s rights even further this season and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on CBC.


Video: 15 things you didn’t know about Murdoch’s Yannick Bisson

Kudos to the CBC and Yannick Bisson’s daughter, Mikaela, for sitting down and revealing some top-secret info about her dad. Sure we know that his television alter ego–Detective William Murdoch–is Roman Catholic and loves Dr. Julia Ogden. But what about the man who plays him? What is his favourite food? Is he a dog or cat person? What does he wear when he’s not dressed up like Toronto’s best turn-of-the-century detective?

Here are 15, actually 17, facts about Yannick Bisson, including how to pronounce his name.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.


Heartland’s Amber Marshall riding high in Season 8

Life is complicated for Amy Fleming. The beloved Heartland character has a lot on her plate so far in Season 8, including a rich Prince who keeps sending her presents, a fiancé who’s struggling to make ends meet in his first business venture and a girl whose vision of Amy has been shattered.

For actress Amber Marshall, having her character go through these struggles represents the natural evolution of Amy, a gifted horse trainer who isn’t without her flaws. Georgie (Alisha Newton) was crushed after viewing an online video of Prince Ahmed (Jade Hasounné) kissing Amy during a farewell party for his European Equestrian team. Now Amy is feeling the effects of tumbling off the pedestal Georgie put her on.

“The fans may not agree with it right now, but there has to be a moment when the characters that you’ve seen as heroic people need to fall,” Marshall says. “They need somewhere to climb back up to. If you just have your characters going on this nice, mellow journey where they’re the hero of the show … what is interesting in that? There is no real life. There are no lessons to be learned. I was so happy when the writers took Amy and threw her down to basically starting from scratch.”

Marshall has literally grown up on the set of CBC’s Sunday night stalwart and she’s gained an immense amount of knowledge since filming the pilot episode when she was 19. And, unlike shows such as Degrassi, where the setting is high school and the characters have to be kept in a certain age group, Heartland‘s young folks have gotten older, matured and moved on to new stages in their lives.

Marshall has evolved too, adding the title of consulting producer to her list of responsibilities on the family drama. The London, Ont., born actress explains she was already on the set and involved outside of her acting role anyway. An experienced horse person, she was there to help the show’s writers tweak scenes that dealt with those four-legged co-stars; a discussion with Heartland‘s producers led to the additional credit. When she’s not on-set filming, Marshall educates herself on all aspects of production, an easy thing to do when you’re surrounded by folks you’ve been working with for years. Can executive producing or showrunning her own project be in Marshall’s future? Not until she learns more.

In the meantime, Amy is getting an education in the dangers of the Internet and her naiveté when it comes to Prince Ahmed. His peck on her lips not only has driven a wedge between Amy and Georgie, but Amy and Lou (Michelle Morgan) too. It all comes to a head this Sunday when Amy is forced to make a tough decision that affects her relationship with not only the Prince but Ty (Graham Wardle) as well.

“There is some very interesting conflict coming up,” she teases. “It’s going to have a huge impact on the whole Heartland family, not just Amy and Ty.”

Heartland airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC.

Do you think Amy should tell Ty about her kiss with Prince Ahmed?

  • Yes, it's better to get it out in the open now. (93%, 154 Votes)
  • No way, he'll get upset and possibly break up with her. (7%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 166

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Video: 22 Minutes turns 22 years old

Happy 22nd birthday This Hour Has 22 Minutes!

The CBC satire show kicks off another season of skewering with current co-hosts Mark Critch, Shaun Majumder, Susan Kent and Cathy Jones; a special retrospective episode is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 16, offering a look back at the series launch in 1993 with Jones, Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey and Mary Walsh and highlights from the last two-plus decades of laughs.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at a couple of bits featured on tonight’s return, including a unique take on the CRTC’s proposed Pick and Pay cable bundling idea.

22 Minutes airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBC.