COMEDY SERIES 20 X HALF HOUR
Director: Alan Erlich
Starring: Rod Beattie
Writer: Don Needles
Producer: Marta Nielsen, Alan Erlich
Executive Producers: Richard Nielsen, Douglas Beattie
Based on the hugely popular one-man stage plays performed by Rod Beattie and written by Dan Needles, this television series (of 20 half-hours) stars Rod Beattie as Walt Wingfield, a stockbroker who leaves Bay Street to take up farming on a hundred acres in mythical Persephone Township (about an hour north of Toronto), and recounts his misadventures in weekly letters to the editor of the local newspaper. The series brings the plays, Letter from Wingfield Farm, Wingfield's Progress, Wingfield's Folly, and Wingfield Unbound to television.
For additional information, the official Wingfield Website is located at here.
Following in the footsteps of Thoreau, stockbroker Walt Wingfield acquires two hundred acres north of Toronto and sets out to farm “using some of the old ways.” A broken-down racehorse and a sick duck form the basis for his first misadventures.
Stockbroker-turned-farmer Walt Wingfield gets introduced to doing business Persephone-style when he sets out to buy a cord of firewood. Then neighbour Freddy and his nephews show up at Walt’s place for a surprise, late-night visit.
An early morning fire alarm at Freddy’s turns into a public embarrassment for Walt. Then the neighbours decide Walt and his horses are working too slowly to get a crop and plant his fields for him -- armed with the latest technology.
Fed up with his horses, Mortgage and Feedbin, Walt goes in search of an older, wiser animal at Freddy’s. When he meets an ancient draft horse named King, it’s love at first sight. And borrowing a manure spreader from next door turns into an all-day excursion.
Walt faces the prospect of sending his pigs to the slaughter-house, Walt and Jimmy almost come to grief trying to break in Walt’s team of horses, and, as the February snow flies and the bills mount, Walt contemplates returning to work part-time at the brokerage firm.
Freddy and Maggie get spooked when Walt and Jimmy show up at the farm one winter night, escorted by the police, and Walt’s hackles are raised when he discovers survey stakes for a condominium development in the field across the road.
Walt gets snagged by the police while "practicing" fishing, nearly comes to grief while fixing the barn roof with Freddy and Jimmy, and takes on Township Council over a condominium development proposal.
Walt's new geese turn out to be a problem, and his campaign to run for Township council hits a bump, but he does score a small victory in the fund-raising department.
Don helps Walt deal with a hen-house predator, Walt tries a door-knocking campaign in his bid for a seat on Township council, and the boys reflect on what country living might have to offer a city dweller.
Walt and his neighbours stage a devastating display of farming-at-its-messiest to discourage prospective clients of the
condominium development across the road.
Once again in winter's grip, Walt looks after chores at Don's, risks life and limb trying to get his horses out of the barn, and acquires an "enforcer", Mrs. Pankhurst, the goat.
Freddy declares that Walt's newly acquired but ancient tractor needs a "tune-up" and takes it to pieces in his front yard. Meanwhile Maggie helps Walt deliver a new lamb back at the farm.
Walt discovers the secret to working with his old draft horse, King, prints his own currency and persuades his neighbours to join him in a closed economy on The Seventh Line. Then disaster strikes at the turkey shed.
Walt's currency scheme hits a snag when Dry Cry starts counterfeiting the "Walt". Freddy and Don organize a "work party" to deal with the problem at Dry Cry's store after dark.
Walt gets in a fight with Maggie over an old boyfriend who is trying to swindle her and determines to sell out and move back to the city. Freddy is hired as auctioneer.
Freddy and Walt try to duplicate the recipe after it appears Spike the hound has eaten the casserole Maggie made for the Institute. The Squire's memory-loss prompts Walt to look for a museum site to protect local heritage.
Walt and Freddy play vet to a stiff sheep and Walt buys a fine new ram for the flock which no one else seems to want. It isn't long before Walt finds out why.
When Walt takes his museum proposal to Township council he gets an enthusiastic response - until he tells them he wants to house it in the Hollyhock Mill. Back at Freddy's, Walt hears the story of the Miller's Curse!
Walt is pressured into helping Willy and Dave out of a jam over a cattle pyramid scheme and attempts to haul the haunted millstone out of the stream at Hollyhock - with near fatal results.
Walt and Maggie's farm is the only one on The Seventh Line hit with a violent wind storm, then The Squire accompanies Walt to the mill stream at Hollyhock where Walt has yet another narrow escape.
A veteran of the Stratford Festival, Rod Beattie has become one of the most respected and versatile actors in Canadian theatre. Stratford audiences remember his Piston in Henry V, Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream and many other Shakespearean roles. His extensive credits include radio, television, film and live performance across Canada. Rod was most recently seen on stage in the newest Wingfield play, Wingfield Unbound, at the 1997 Stratford Festival, and in the Ontario tour of Love Letters (seen at Markham Theatre last November) with his wife Martha Henry.
For the past ten years Rod's name has become synonymous with the Wingfield Series which has brought him acting awards, rave reviews and sold-out houses in Toronto, London, Markham, Stratford, Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Ottawa, Fredericton and a host of communities across Canada. Rod and Walt made their American debuts to great acclaim at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in January, 1994. Rod is the winner of the 1991-92 Dora Mayor Moore Award (Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role) for his performance in the first three Wingfield plays.
CBC/ BRAVO / VISION 1998 2001