1 9 9 6 – 2 0 0 1 (Canada)
65 x 60 minute episodes
1 x 120 minute special
Set in the fictitious town of New Bedford. Ontario, during the Great Depression, Wind at My Back was a one-hour episodic series from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) chronicling the ups and downs of the lives of the Bailey family as they endured the hardships characteristic of rural Canada in the 1930s.
Loosely based on characters, settings, and locations created by Canadian novelist Max Braithwaite in his book Never Sleep Three on a Bed, storylines followed the relationship between the various generations of the Bailey family and the other residents of New Bedford for five seasons.
The story begins as Honey Bailey’s husband, Jack, dies suddenly, causing Honey to lose her home and the family business. Her domineering mother-in-law, May Bailey (Shirley Douglas) – the matriarch of the town’s wealthy silver mining family – is unsupportive, takes custody of Honey’s two boys, “Hub” (Hubert) and “Fat” (Henry), in the family mansion, and sees that Honey’s baby daughter, Violet, is sent to live with distant relatives.
Eventually remarrying – this time to school teacher Max Sutton (James Carroll) – Honey manages to forge a new life for herself in New Bedford, a town dominated by the influence of her late husband’s family.
The Depression-era setting provided many opportunities to celebrate family bonds and community spirit by confronting characters with difficulties that were only satisfactorily resolved with the help of kin or community.
Family crises intertwined with the presence and influence of other citizens of the town – such as Ollie Jefferson (Neil Crane), owner of Jefferson’s Garage, and Archie Attenborough (Richard Blackburn), who ran Stutts Pharmacy – and in certain instances with larger social issues.
Like The Waltons before it, Wind at My Back created a liberal-humanist view of the world in which the global financial crisis of the Depression provided a suitable backdrop of difficulty on which was painted a warm canvass of cross-generational familial and community struggle and cooperation.
A one-off reunion television movie, A Wind at My Back Christmas, was produced in 2001 and broadcast in December of that year, again on the CBC.
Cynthia Belliveau (1)
Laura Bruneau (2)
Hubert “Hub” Bailey
Henry “Fat” Bailey