Tag Archives: Raoul Bhaneja

Production underway on the all-new Crave original comedy, The Trades

From a media release:

Crave, in association with Rollercoaster Entertainment and Blink49 Studios, announced today that production is underway in Nova Scotia on the Crave Original comedy series, THE TRADES. From the producers of TRAILER PARK BOYS, THE TRADES is an eight-part, 30-minute, comedy set in a working-class community, where the stress and high risks of working in a refinery are balanced by the comedic, high-wire antics of the plant workers. The series will be available in English and French.

“From the moment I first read the pilot two years ago, I was immediately drawn to Ryan J. Lindsay’s vision for the series,” said Robb Wells, star and producer, THE TRADES. “I love all of the colourful characters, the backdrop, and especially, the different types of humour associated with each trade. It’s amazing to see the team come together, including an unbelievably talented cast and crew. It’s going to be so much fun, and I am very excited.”

THE TRADES centres around Todd Stool (Robb Wells, TRAILER PARK BOYS), a pipefitter who is proud of his working-class background, and collection of big boy toys. His sister, and roommate, Audrey (Anastasia Phillips, MOONSHINE), decides to follow in her big brother’s footsteps and pursue a career in the trades as a carpenter, just like their father Rod (Patrick McKenna, THE RED GREEN SHOW). While Todd loves his life, he dreams of climbing the corporate ladder and becoming site manager at Conch Industries – which isn’t so far-fetched, given the current site manager Bennett’s, (Tom Green, THE TOM GREEN SHOW) lifestyle. But Todd’s future, that of the plant—and the town, are thrown into question when Chelsea (Jennifer Spence, YOU ME HER), an ambitious young executive sent from head office, announces she is the new site manager, and vows to make some changes.

Rounding out Todd’s rag-tag crew are: Jimi (Enrico Colantoni, VERONICA MARS); Dewey (Jason Daley, TRAILER PARK BOYS); Homer (Jesse Camacho, LOCKE & KEY); Backwoods (Daniel Petronijevic, LETTERKENNY); Taser (Brandon Oakes, DIGGSTOWN); Medhi, the Chief Engineer (Raoul Bhaneja, BLINDSPOT); and Steph the Safety Chick (Susan Kent, THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES). Together, they balance the high risks of working in an oil refinery with bawdy nicknames, elaborate pranks, and jokes to amuse and enrage one another – but must work together if they want to save their livelihood and protect their community.

THE TRADES is co-produced by Trailer Park Boys Inc. and Kontent House Inc. in association with Bell Media’s Crave, with the participation of the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund, and the assistance of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and Ontario Creates. The series is distributed by Rollercoaster Entertainment and Blink49 is the exclusive U.S. sales agent. Ryan J. Lindsay is creator, writer, and executive producer; Shelley Eriksen is writer and executive producer; Warren Sonoda is director; Gary Howsam is executive producer; and Jonathan A. Walker and Robb Wells are producers. John Morayniss and Virginia Rankin are executive producers for Blink49 Studios. Co-executive producers are Andrew McMichael, Angelo Paletta, Ross Mrazek, and Ben Rappaport.


Can Train 48 get back on track in Canada?

Steve Levitan is trying to get Train 48 back on track, and now seems like the perfect time to do it.

“The format that, at the time, I thought was innovative today is even more strategically smart,” Levitan says.

For those who don’t recall, Train 48 was an anomaly on the Canadian TV landscape. Broadcast on Global from 2003 until 2005 and based on the Australian series Going Home, the soapy series followed the daytime commute of a small group of characters from Toronto to Burlington, Ont. Before cell phones became the norm, folks would travel on the train and talk about the day’s events, often amongst the same four people sitting together. Levitan and his writers mirrored that for Train 48, mapping rough conversations and then letting the cast go, free forming the discussions to make them more real. Among the cast on Train 48 were Krista Sutton, Paul Braunstein, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Joe Dinicol, Raoul Bhaneja, Amy Price-Francis and Lisa Merchant, who filmed an episode every weekday for two years.


“I sort of vaguely remember getting up at 4:30 a.m. to drive into the set,” Merchant, who played Brenda Murphy, recalls. “We’d get into costume and have a meeting with the producer, have breakfast, and then it was time to get rolling. We’d be finished by 2:30 p.m. and then would do it all over again the next day.”

“Even though those of us who did it have done a lot of things in our careers, we’ve haven’t done anything like it again,” Bhaneja, who portrayed Pete Subramani, says. “It was such a unique journey. We’d be picked up in a van convoy, climb into our fake GO Train set, film and then what we did would be on TV that night. It was crazy.”

As a daily commuter into Toronto myself at the time, I totally got what Train 48 was all about. Aside from being tonally different from what was on television at the time, Train 48 broke new technological ground as well. Levitan recalls how Global wanted to drive traffic to its fledgling Canada.com website; the show placed Pete on the phone his bookie betting on that night’s Toronto Blue Jays-New York Yankees game. Viewers were urged to visit the website to vote who they thought would win the game; Canada.com crashed for days.

So, why the attention for Train 48 after 13 years? Because episodes are rolling out on the show’s YouTube channel. The show’s distributor, Syndicado (a deal structured through Farrago Media Inc.), suggested they be posted online and Levitan said yes. Train 48 certainly works airing on YouTube, but it would be a perfect fit for Canada’s streaming channels CraveTV and shomi. Levitan thinks so too, but no broadcaster has been interested. He also believes the format is the perfect formula for television today. Levitan points to Orphan Black, which attracts 250,000 viewers for Space every week at a cost of millions per episode versus his show, which attracted 250,000 viewers or more every night of the week at a cost of $40,000 per instalment. The model, he says, still works today.

“There are lots of ways to keep doing Train 48,” Levitan says. “And there are lots of ways to update or change the creative focus of that format, depending on who your network or audience is.”

Check out all of Train 48’s episodes as they roll out on YouTube.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail