Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock this month, you already know the locally filmed CBC Television show Republic of Doyle has begun its first season. The debut episode hit the airwaves at 9:30pm on January 6th and the province has been a-buzz ever since.
Producer, writer and star Allan Hawco is no stranger to film, theatre and television. A graduate from Montreal’s National Theatre School, Hawco has garnered acclaim for his intense, intelligent performances in “A Whistle In The Dark”, H20 and Love & Savagery.
Adam Clarke recently caught up with Hawco to ask him about the new show.
Why a detective show?
I’m a big fan of PI shows. I watched a lot of television as a kid and detective shows were always the ones I was drawn to. Especially The Rockford Files.
So, Republic of Doyle will be styled more on older PI than the present crop of TV procedurals?
I think it’ll be more of the Rockford/Columbo sort of thing where it’s the characters that keep bringing people back.
Each week, there’ll be a different mystery, but it’s really about the characters, and it has a sense of humour about itself. None of us are taking anything too seriously, and it should be a light, fun hour of television every night.
Doyle started out as a half-hour pilot. Was it originally conceived as a half-hour program?
Funnily enough, no. The CBC had wanted to try it out and experiment with it as a half-hour drama. It had always been intended to be an hour-long comedy-drama-action-adventure show. So, when we shot the half-hour version of the pilot, the CBC had done an assessment and wanted to see it as a full hour.
The process of making that original pilot was very useful. It’s difficult when you have just 22 minutes for a mystery format.
Was there any resistance to depicting Newfoundland as something other than the standard outport drama you usually see on film and TV?
That’s something that’s come up a lot, the idea of stereotypes… But no, there was no resistance. I love outport Newfoundland, but this is really a show featuring the Newfoundland that I know and enjoy right now. St. John’s is a huge character in the show, but it’s not something we want to hit people in the head with.
Was there a specific visual style you wanted for Doyle?
Absolutely. There is a visual dialogue about what the show would look like thoroughout. Really, it’s about keeping the production values high and driving it to be the best show in the country. We want it to be competitive on an international scale.