VisionTV to present panel debate on controversial Tommy Douglas miniseries



    Hour-long special to be streamed prior to broadcast on VisionTV Web site

    TORONTO, Sept. 20 /CNW/ - VisionTV, Canada's multi-faith and
multicultural television network, has produced a one-hour panel discussion
program to accompany its broadcast of the controversial two-part miniseries
Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story.
    Hosted and moderated by acclaimed broadcaster Valerie Pringle, Prairie
Giant: Beyond the Controversy will air on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 11 p.m. ET/8
p.m. PT and will repeat at 2 a.m. ET/11 p.m. PT, immediately following part
one of VisionTV's Prairie Giant broadcast.
    VisionTV will also stream the discussion panel on its Web site,
www.visiontv.ca, prior to broadcast. This is the first time that the network
has pre-released a program online.
    The four-hour Prairie Giant miniseries, produced by Regina, Sask.-based
Minds Eye Entertainment, makes its VisionTV premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 25 and
Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. and midnight ET/6 p.m. and 9 p.m. PT.
    The award-winning production recalls the life and times of fiery prairie
politician Tommy Douglas (played by Michael Therriault): former premier of
Saskatchewan, leader of the federal New Democratic Party, father of Canadian
medicare, and the man voted the "Greatest Canadian" in a nationwide contest in
2004.
    Controversy erupted at the time of Prairie Giant's original broadcast on
CBC-TV in March 2006, over complaints that the miniseries contained historical
inaccuracies - particularly related to the portrayal of former Saskatchewan
Premier James G. Gardiner.

    Prairie Giant: Beyond the Controversy explores the debate over the
production and the larger question of historical accuracy in the fictional
portrayal of past events. The program features commentary and insight from
four expert panelists:

    

    -   Randy Burton, political columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix

    -   Alan Gordon, associate professor of history at the University of
        Guelph

    -   Christopher Moore, a Toronto-based historian, author and broadcaster

    -   Filmmaker John N. Smith, the director of Prairie Giant
    

    Said Mark Prasuhn, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President,
Programming for VisionTV: "The question of creative license within the context
of historical dramatization is a challenging one. Creators must weigh the
importance of fidelity to the historical record against the demands of
dramatic storytelling. By opening up the question of historical accuracy in
the Prairie Giant production to wider debate on our network and our Web site,
we hope to get people thinking and talking about the miniseries and the issues
that it raises."
    For more information on VisionTV, Prairie Giant, and the network's other
drama programming, please visit www.visiontv.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: David Todd, Media Relations
Manager, VisionTV, Phone: (416) 368-3194, ext. 207, Email: dtodd@s-vox.com

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