School’s in again on Degrassi Street
Journal: The Halifax Daily News
September 24, 2001 pg 18
Special Features: Photograph
Publication Date: 010924
Word Count: 425
Accession Number: HD200109240023
TORONTO (CP) — The ghost of TV’s Riverdale haunts a kittycorner of the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. There you’ll find a pleasant cul de sac of solidly built fake houses, a variety store and a Degrassi Street sign.
Fans of the defunct Canadian soap will be able to recognize the street when Degrassi: The Next Generation hits CTV on Oct. 14.
Recycling being a virtue, Epitome Pictures decided to let the “street” stand, adjacent as it is to the impressive, life-size Degrassi Community School they built on their own studio lot.
“It cost a lot of money,” says Degrassi and Riverdale creator Linda Schuyler. “But it would have cost a lot of money to convert an existing school, and there’d be no guarantee we’d have it next year.”
So it is that one of the best looking schools in the city has no actual students. Of course, you wouldn’t know it from the teenage traffic in the halls. As director Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo) preps the next scene, Jake Goldsbie, who plays Toby, holds a can of Silly String and his eyes glint.
“Guys … guys … no!” says a floor director, sensing unprofessional activity in the air.
McDonald leans over and whispers something to Jake, who immediately fires a blast of Silly String into the floor director’s face.
The original Degrassi series ran on CBC from 1979-91 under the titles The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High.
In the episode shooting this particular week, Emma (Miriam McDonald), the daughter of original series character Spike, ends up wearing drawstring pants in school after having an “accident” from her first period, while Jimmy and Ashley, the school couple, seem headed for the rocks.
They’re tiny teen traumas of the kind that made the original series so popular. And all involved are hoping the new generation of kids will be given some slack (only Stefan Brogren as Snake and Amanda Stepto as Spike are back permanently).
“I was amazed at the rabid fandom that Degrassi had,” said McDonald, who has never even seen a whole episode of the original Degrassi series. “I’d be at a party or a bar and say, `Oh yeah, I’m doing this Degrassi thing.’ And … they’d freak out.”
“But nostalgia isn’t necessarily the best reason to do this. I’m prepared for a backlash by Degrassi standard-bearers, who’ll say, `How come it’s not the same as the old one?’ — `Um, ’cause it’s 10 years later?”’
Copyright The Halifax Daily News 2001 All Rights Reserved