Articles - Quentin Durgens, M.P. (Series) (1965-1969)

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Quentin Durgens, M.P.

From CBC Times - Mar 15, 1968

Quentin Durgens, MP Stars In The Road To Chaldaea

QUENTIN Durgens, MP is embroiled in the conflicts and power struggles of a federal party leadership convention in a Quentin Durgens Special: The Road to Chaldaea, a two-hour dramatic production in color, to be seen on the CBC television network on Wednesday, March 27, at 9:30 p.m., pre-empting Festival.

Starring Gordon Pinsent in the title role, the drama features Jean Louis Roux as Forget, the suave diplomat and strongest leadership candidate; William Needles as Harriott, the likeable Cabinet Minister who is backed by Quent; Ovila Legare as the crusty House leader, Letourneau; Stevie Wise as Forget's wife, whose interest in Durgens has nothing to do with politics; and Cec Linder as Sherwin, the shrewd, ambitious Minister who'll stop at (almost) nothing to become Prime Minister.

Written by George Robertson, who has conceived more than two dozen Durgens scripts, The Road to Chaldaea is directed by Daryl Duke. Series producer of the Durgens dramas is John Trent. Executive producer is Ronald Weyman.

"This timely drama, we hope, will cast some light on the behind-the-scenes mechanism of party politics," says executive producer Weyman, under whose guidance both the Quentin Durgens, MP and Wojeck series were developed. "The character of Durgens has really caught on with the Canadian people, and we think this particular drama has a validity and excitement, on its own terms."

In the story, originally planned as a two-part drama to be telecast in the regular Durgens series next fall, Quent Durgens is the prime mover among the politicians who persuade Cabinet Minister Rupert Harriott to run for the federal party leadership. He thereby earns the enmity of another Cabinet member, Alexander Sherwin, known to be obsessed with an ambition to become Prime Minister.

As the incumbent PM announces his impending retirement, Durgens is trying to thwart a bill Sherwin is railroading through the House of Commons without reference to committee study. Durgens is caught in the high-tension leadership race, and is further harrassed by the romantic aspirations of the wife of a highly respected French - Canadian colleague, the front runner among the leadership candidates.

This Durgens Special was filmed last summer and fall at Lakeshore Studios, where a meticulously detailed replica of the House of Commons chamber was designed by Murray Laufer; and at Toronto locations, including the King Edward Hotel, used for scenes of the leadership convention. Harry Makin, one of Canada's finest cinematographers, was chief cameraman. First assistant director was Frank Phillips.

The huge cast of more than 300, many of them extras, also includes Joe Crysdale, Lucy Warner, Jean Brousseau, Paul Kligman, Hugh Webster, Sandy Webster, William Lynn, Bill Kemp, the late Herb May (his last appearance in a drama), William Thourlby, Andrew Allen, Jack Creley, Lawrence Beattie, Don McGill and Tommy Tweed (the voice of the Prime Minister).

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For an in-depth look at CBC programs (1952-82),
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