Shaftesbury Films and Citytv welcome Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the set of their popular television series, Murdoch Mysteries

Actors Yannick Bisson and Helene Joy on the set of Shaftesbury Films' Murdoch Mysteries with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Rachel Harper, Christina Jennings (Chairman & CEO, Shaftesbury Films), Phil Lind (Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications Inc.). (CNW Group/Shaftesbury Films Inc.)

(clockwise) Rachel Harper (sitting), Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Phil Lind (Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications Inc.), and Christina Jennings (Chairman & CEO, Shaftesbury Films) enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at Shaftesbury Films' international hit series Murdoch Mysteries airing on Citytv in Canada. (CNW Group/Shaftesbury Films Inc.)

TORONTO, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Shaftesbury Films and Citytv today welcomed Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Toronto set of their popular drama series, Murdoch Mysteries. A longtime fan of Murdoch Mysteries, the Prime Minister visited the set to meet the cast and crew of the series, which is set in late 1890s Toronto and follows the adventures of a detective who pioneers forensic techniques in his quest to solve the city's crimes. Canadian production company Shaftesbury Films is currently filming season four of Murdoch Mysteries, which is broadcast on Citytv in Canada and drama channel Alibi in the UK, and has also been licensed in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide.

"Without the support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Media Fund and tax credit programs, Murdoch Mysteries would simply not exist," said Christina Jennings, Chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury Films. "Murdoch Mysteries has created more than 5000 jobs in the Canadian television industry since 2003, is enjoyed by audiences on TV and online in Canada, and has been sold to broadcasters in more than 100 countries around the world, making it a true Canadian success story."

"Murdoch Mysteries on Citytv represents some of the finest homegrown programming available to Canadian audiences," commented Leslie Sole, CEO, Rogers Media Television.  "We are extremely proud of this series heading into its impressive fourth season. Murdoch Mysteries has solidified its position as a true fan favourite keeping Citytv audiences entertained week after week."

Based on Canadian author Maureen Jennings's popular Detective Murdoch series of mystery novels set in late 1890s Toronto, Murdoch Mysteries is a one-hour drama series that explores the intriguing world of Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), who uses unusual techniques for the time - including fingerprinting, human-blood testing, surveillance and trace evidence - to solve some of the city's most gruesome murders. Murdoch's small circle of confidantes include pathologist Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), a staunch ally who shares the detective's fascination for forensic science; Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris), Murdoch's eager but sometimes naïve right-hand man; and Murdoch's reluctantly supportive boss, Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig).

Since 2003, Murdoch Mysteries has created more than 5000 jobs for actors, writers, directors, producers, crew, extras and technical and production services. Murdoch Mysteries was initially adapted for television as three made-for-TV films produced by Shaftesbury, which were broadcast in Canada in 2004 and 2005. Following the success of the three movies, the series premiered in Canada in January 2008. Shaftesbury is in production on the fourth season of Murdoch Mysteries in and around Toronto and Southern Ontario until early November, for broadcast on Citytv in Canada and Alibi in the UK in early 2011. 52 hours of the series will have been produced upon completion of season four (four seasons x 13 one-hour episodes).

Murdoch Mysteries is developed and produced by Shaftesbury, in association with Citytv, a division of Rogers Media Inc., ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment and UKTV, and with the assistance of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, the Canada Media Fund, the Bell New Media Fund and the Cogeco Production Development Fund. ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment holds worldwide distribution rights for the series (excluding Canada and the UK).

Murdoch Mysteries is executive produced by Christina Jennings and Scott Garvie for Shaftesbury, Noel Hedges for ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment, Larry Lalonde and Phil Bedard. The series is produced by Laura Harbin for Shaftesbury and Stephen Montgomery, with Peter Meyboom serving as Supervising Producer. Production executives for Citytv are Alain Strati, Vice President, OMNI Station Group, Specialty TV & Development, and Patrice Baillargeon, Director, Development and Production, Rogers Media Television. The production executive for UKTV's Alibi is Alexandra Finlay, Acquisitions Manager.

About Shaftesbury Films

Founded in 1987, Shaftesbury is one of Canada's leading creators and producers of original dramatic, children's and factual content for television and multiple platforms, with award winning programming available in more than 120 countries worldwide. Employing more than 3500 actors, directors, producers, crew and technical and production services across multiple projects each year, Shaftesbury's recent productions include Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, a mini-series for HBO Canada based on the Giller Prize-winning book by Dr. Vincent Lam; two seasons of drama series The Listener for CTV and Fox International Channels; and four seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for Citytv and UKTV's Alibi. Shaftesbury's newest series, Good Dog, is a half-hour comedy created, written and directed by Ken Finkleman (The Newsroom) that will premiere on The Movie Network and Movie Central in 2011. Shaftesbury's slate of children's programming includes the global hit series Life with Derek and the movie follow-up to the series, Vacation with Derek. Shaftesbury's divisions include Shaftesbury Factual, which is focused on non-fiction storytelling across a broad spectrum of genres; Smokebomb Entertainment, the company's digital media division responsible for the development and production of original online series and companion web experiences for Shaftesbury's slate of properties; and Shaftesbury Sales Company, which manages international sales and distribution for the company's content. For more information visit www.shaftesbury.ca.

About Citytv

Citytv™ television stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg offer viewers intensely-local, urban-oriented, culturally-diverse television programming. A distinct alternative to other conventional television stations, Citytv engages its viewers with dynamic on-air personalities and delivers an entertaining mix of news, local-interactive formats such as: Breakfast Television and CityLine; as well as local Canadian and US acquired prime time entertainment programming. Citytv is a part of Rogers Broadcasting Limited, a division of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI and NYSE: RCI), which is a diversified Canadian communications and media company. For more information on Citytv stations and programming, visit www.Citytv.com

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For further information:

Shaftesbury Films:
Katherine Wolfgang, VP, Communications, kwolfgang@shaftesbury.ca, Mobile: 416-669-2823, Office: 416-363-1411

Sue Baldaro, Director of Publicity, sbaldaro@shaftesbury.ca, Mobile: 647.802.0739, Office: 416.363.1411

Citytv:
Veronica Logue, Publicity Manager, Rogers Media Television, 416.764.3195,
veronica.logue@rci.rogers.com