The human organ trade, holiday specials and a tour of the Queen's palaces in TVO's December 2011 programming lineup


TORONTO, Nov. 11, 2011 /CNW/ - TVO's December 2011 programming lineup features thought-provoking new documentaries, holiday programming for kids and adults, and a collection of appointment viewing series and films offering a change of pace during the festive season.

Highlights include:

  • World premiere of the TVO-commissioned documentary The Market exposing the human organ trade
  • More new documentaries with Monty Don's Italian Gardens, In Search of Beethoven, Wildest Dream: The Conquest of Everest, and Martin Clunes: Horsepower
  • Holiday programs including Victorian Farm Christmas, Sunday Family Holiday Movies, Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece, and Joyeux Noel on Saturday Night at the Movies
  • Appointment viewing includes documentary series The Queen's Palaces, Country House Revealed, the new drama mini-series Injustice, and SNAM's Bollywood New Year's Eve

Documentary Premieres

The Market - World Broadcast Premiere
Wednesday December 7, 2011 at 9 pm ET; encore December 11 at 11 pm ET
60 minutes
Directed by Rama Rau
Produced for Storyline Entertainment in association with TVO

The Market is a compelling new documentary from Toronto filmmaker Rama Rau about the international human organ trade and the ethics around buying and selling a kidney. The film centers on two very different people. In Canada, 40-year-old Sandra Bore's kidneys are failing and she has been on a donor waiting list for five years. The statistics are not on her side - every three days a Canadian dies waiting for a new kidney. In India, Hema, a young mother of two, wants to sell her kidney for $2500 so she can pay off the crippling debts of her family. If she sells she will be the fifth member of her family to sell a kidney for an amount that represents several years' wages. Two different people. Two journeys. With one end. To find a kidney, someone has to lose one.

Monty Don's Italian Gardens - North American Premiere
Fridays December 2 to 23, 2011 at 7 pm ET
4 / 60 minutes
Produced by Blink Films

Gardener and TV presenter Monty Don (Gardener's World) journeys from the south of Italy to the north, taking us on a trip around Italy's most beautiful, impressive and historically significant gardens. It's not just a feast for the eyes but an insight into gardens from the early Renaissance, through the Baroque and the Romantic Movement, to the great Italian garden revival of the early twentieth century.

Martin Clunes: Horsepower - North American Premiere
Thursdays December 8 and 15, 2011 at 10 pm ET; encores December 11 and 18 at 7 pm
2 / 50 minutes
Produced by ITV Global and Buffalo Pictures

Actor and horse lover Martin Clunes (Doc Martin, Goodbye Mr. Chips) travels the world to unlock the secrets of a partnership which shaped the world. From remotest Mongolia to the deserts of Arabia, and from the Mustangs of Nevada to the Windsor Greys of Buckingham Palace, the two-part series explores why the horse evolved to be the way it is, why it was possible for humans to connect with it and turn it to our advantage, how horses changed the human world, and what jobs horses used to do for us and what they do today.

In Search of Beethoven - TVO Premiere
Tuesday to Thursday December 13 to 15, 2011 at 9 pm ET
3 / 50 minutes
Produced by Seventh Art Productions

Narrated by Juliet Stevenson, this in-depth and thought-provoking three-part documentary explores the life of Ludwig Van Beethoven and is told through performances and interviews from today's most admired classical musicians. The film explores the truth behind the many layers of myth and legend surrounding a man hailed not only as the world's first truly independent composer, but also the greatest of all time and one whose life story is still shrouded in myth and misunderstanding.

The Wildest Dream: The Conquest of Everest - North American Broadcast Premiere
Sunday December 18, 2011 at 9 pm ET
90 minutes
Produced by Altitude Films and Atlantic Production

Director Anthony Geffen's stunning feature documentary examines whether British explorer George Mallory became the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest during his ill-fated expedition in 1924. Mountaineer Conrad Anker, who discovered Mallory's frozen body in 1999, returns to Everest to retrace Mallory's steps in an effort to solve the enduring mystery of what happened. Narrated by Liam Neeson and featuring the voices of Natasha Richardson, Ralph Fiennes, Hugh Dancy, and Alan Rickman.

Holiday Programming

Victorian Farm Christmas
Sunday December 11, 2011 at 8 to 11 pm ET
3 / 60 minutes
Produced by Lion Television

Presented as a marathon of all three episodes back to back, this special holiday series brings Ruth, Peter and Alex from the hit series Victorian Farm back to the Acton Scott Estate in Shropshire to tackle an array of new farming tasks. They discover in depth how the Victorians created the celebration of Christmas as we know it today - from greetings cards and Christmas carols to the rich array of festive food they put on the table.

Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece - The Mystic Nativity
Thursday December 22, 2011 at 10 pm ET
60 minutes
Produced by Fulmar Television and Film

Scenes from Sandro Botticelli's Mystic Nativity have adorned countless holiday cards and the painting is considered a Renaissance masterpiece that embodies the spirit of Christmas. Painted in 1500 by one of the most famous artists of all time, it is a supremely beautiful vision of maternal love, earthly harmony, and heavenly ecstasy, but with hidden, darker meanings unlocked by a recent chance discovery by a scholar.

Christmas Eve with Saturday Night at the Movies Saturday December 24, beginning at 8 pm ET
Saturday Night at the Movies celebrates the holidays with two films about bringing people together, especially in extraordinary circumstances. Joyeux Noel (2005) is based on true stories of the World War I truce of Christmas Eve in 1914 and centers on the stories of French, German and Scottish soldiers who briefly put down their arms to share the spirit of the season. Oliver! (1968) is the musical adaptation of Dicken's classic story of Oliver Twist with Mark Lester in the title role and standout performances by Ron Moody as Fagin and Oliver Reed as Sikes.

Sunday Family Holiday Movies
Sunday afternoons at 2 pm in December, TVO has a great lineup of holiday-themed films for the whole family. On December 11, the animated special The Snow Queen's Revenge (1996) features the voices of Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, and Alison Steadman. Also that afternoon immediately following the main feature, The Gruffalo is a half-hour adaptation of the popular children's book with the voices of Robbie Coltrane and Helenda Bonham Carter. On December 18, Richard Thomas and Beau Bridges star in Flight of the Reindeer (2000). Then on December 25, an inventive adaptation of Dicken's Scrooge tale features the voices of Kate Winslet, Jane Horrocks, Michael Gambon, Simon Callow and Nicolas Cage in Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001).

Appointment Viewing

TVO has a number of series packed into December's lineup that will help you escape the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The programs will be presented over consecutive nights or in marathon blocks.

The Queen's Palaces - North American Premiere
Monday, December 5, 12, 19 at 10 pm ET; also a marathon encore December 25, 2011 beginning at 8 pm ET
3 / 55 minutes
Produced by BBC

Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse -  these buildings have been part of British royal history for hundreds of years. Written and presented by Fiona Bruce, The Queen's Palaces showcases the art and architecture, the interior decoration and the treasures stored inside these fabulous buildings and reveals the surprising and fascinating stories behind them.

The Country House Revealed - North American Premiere
December 18 to 23, 2011 at 8 pm ET
6 / 60 minutes
Produced by Oxford Film and Television

Architectural historian Dan Cruickshank (Adventures in Architecture) visits six of Britain's most stately country homes never before open to public view, and examines the lives of the families who lived there and the social and cultural context of their histories. Houses visited include South Wraxall Manor, Kinross House, Easton Neston, Wentworth Woodhouse, Clandeboye Estate, and Marshcourt in Stockbridge.

Injustice - North American Premiere
December 26 to 30, 2011 at 9 pm ET
5 / 60 minutes
Produced by Injustice Films Ltd.

James Purefoy (Rome) stars in this five-part psychological crime drama from writer Anthony Horowitz (Foyle's War) as defence lawyer William Travers who is famous for defending the underdog. He is recovering from a nervous breakdown after successfully defending a man he ultimately believed was guilty when an old university friend asks him to be his lawyer in a murder case. Travers finds himself plunged into a conspiracy that stretches far beyond the courtroom while fighting off the forces that may once again destroy him. Also starring Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel, The Silence) and Nathaniel Parker (Vanity Fair, Bleak House).

More Appointment Viewing:

Goodbye Frost Marathon - December 4, 2011 beginning at 7 pm ET
TVO presents a special evening for A Touch of Frost fans with the retrospective documentary Touched by Frost: Goodbye Jack, which looks at how the show began, revisits favourite moments, and talks to its star David Jason to hear why he decided it was time to go. Following the documentary, TVO will air both parts of the series finale, A Touch of Frost: If Dogs Run Free - with alternate endings available at

The Story of the Costume Drama - December 26 to 30, 2011 at 8 pm ET
This five-part series, narrated by Keeley Hawes, examines how the genre of the costume, or period, drama has evolved over the decades - from The Forsyte Saga to Upstairs, Downstairs, Brideshead Revisited and Lost in Austen to Pride and Prejudice and Hornblower.

Saturday Night at the Movies Bollywood New Year's Eve - December 31, 2011 beginning at 8 pm ET
TVO's film anthology series rings in the New Year Bollywood style with three films that promise a night of music, dance and drama. In between the films, The Interviews explores the popularity, misconceptions, vast storytelling style and international influence of the Bollywood genre. The night begins with the Bollywood masterpiece, Ramesh Sippy's action classic Sholay (1975), continues with Ayan Mukherjee's song-filled rom-com Wake Up Sid (2009), and concludes with Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding (2001).

About TVO
TVO is Ontario's public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO's vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit

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Video with caption: "Video: The Market". Video available at:

Video with caption: "Video: Monty Don's Italian Gardens ". Video available at:

Video with caption: "Video: Martin Clunes Horsepower". Video available at:

Video with caption: "Video: In Search of Beethoven". Video available at:

Video with caption: "Video: The Wildest Dream: The Conquest of Everest". Video available at:

Video with caption: "Video: The Queen's Palaces". Video available at:

Video with caption: "Video: The Country House Revealed". Video available at:

Video with caption: "Video: Injustice". Video available at:

Video with caption: "Video: Victorian Farm Christmas". Video available at:

Video with caption: "Video: Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece - The Mystic Nativity". Video available at:

Image with caption: "The Market - Kidney donors/sellers from Chennai, India in director Rama Rau's documentary The Market. (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Monty Don's Italian Gardens - Presenter Monty Don. (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Martin Clunes: Horsepower - Presenter Martin Clunes. © Copyright ITV plc (ITV Global Entertainment Ltd). (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "In Search of Beethoven - Ronald Brautigam plays Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto with the Norkopping Orchestra in Sweden. © Seventh Art Productions. (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "The Wildest Dream: The Conquest of Everest - Conrad Anker and Leo Houlding on Everest in 1920s climbing gear. © Altitude Films Ltd. (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Victorian Farm Christmas - Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn celebrate Christmas in Acton Scott Hall. © Lion TV. (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece - The Mystic Nativity - Performers recreate a scene from Botticelli's The Mystic Nativity. © Fulmar TV Limited (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) - (Left to Right) Guillame Canet, Daniel Brühl and Alex Ferns. © CPT Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved. (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Flight of the Reindeer - Beau Bridges (left) as Santa Claus and Richard Thomas as scientist Jerry McNeal. (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Christmas Carol: The Movie © 2001 ILLUMINATED FILMS LTD/THE FILM CONSORTIUM/MBP. (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "The Queen's Palaces - Presenter Fiona Bruce standing in Windsor Castle's Grand Reception Room. © BBC/ Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "The Country House Revealed - Dan Cruickshank at the South Wraxall Manor pond. © Oxford Film and Television (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Injustice - James Purefoy as defence lawyer William Travers in the five-part psychological crime drama from writer Anthony Horowitz. © Travers Productions/ITV (CNW Group/TVO)". Image available at:


For further information:

Media Contact:

Paul Ginis
TVO Communications and Marketing
416.484.2600 x 2445


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