Backbencher (radio drama)

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Backbencher is a Canadian radio drama on CBC Radio One. The series was created by Wendy Lill,[1] and is primarily written by Lill, Ed Thomason and Dave Carley. It ran for two seasons (20 episodes) in 2010 and 2011. The series won a Bronze award in the Best Regularly Scheduled Drama Program (Entertainment)Category at the New York Festivals Radio Program and Promotion Awards on June 20, 2011.[2]


The series featured the trials of Nellie Gordon, a single mother paramedic who was elected against popular expectations in a federal by-election as the Member of Parliament for East Nova for the New Democratic Party of Canada. As a new backbencher MP, she has to learn the Byzantine intricacies of federal Canadian politics, which is complicated with her frank outspoken Maritime perspective. Furthermore, her family life is a further hurdle, with her son and mother reluctant to accept her government responsibilities. However, she finds an unexpected friend in Herb Proctor, a Conservative backbencher from an Alberta riding who is often one of Nellie's most supportive allies in Ottawa despite their differing party allegiances and occasional conflicts.

Wendy Lill served as a two-term MP for Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, although she says that the series was not literally based on her own experience.


The show's cast includes Joanne Miller as Nellie Gordon, Louise Renault as Nellie's parliamentary assistant Renée LeBlanc, Cory Bowles as Nellie's constituency assistant Sean Higgins, Deborah Allen as Nellie's mother Catherine, Jacob Robertson as Nellie's son Ben, Nigel Bennett as NDP leader Charlie Dunn and Lee J. Campbell as Herb Proctor.


The first season ran from April 8 to May 27, 2010, airing Thursdays at 11:31 am and 11:05 pm local time (3:31pm and 11:35pm NT). This eight-episode season was rerun from January 3 to February 28, 2011, followed by a twelve-episode second season which ran from March 3 to May 16, 2011.[3]

Downloadable audio files of the episodes have been made available via iTunes; links to the episodes are provided on the show's official website.


External links

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