For the Record (Canadian TV series)

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For the Record
GenreDrama anthology
Country of originCanada
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes51
Production companyCBC Television
Original release
Release8 February 1976 (1976-02-08) –
1985 (1985)

For the Record is a Canadian television drama anthology series that aired on CBC Television from 1976 to 1985.[1] The series aired docudrama-style television films on contemporary social issues, typically airing between four and six films per year.[2]

After a nearly decade run, the series was cancelled in 1985, although the CBC opted to continue commissioning similar television films as standalone productions, beginning with 1986's Turning to Stone.[3]


For the Record was intended as a series of dramas which would take an honest look at problems in Canadian society, among them many about mental illness and "flawed social institutions".[4]

Critical assessment[edit]

Gail Henley remarked in 1985 that For the Record dramas were "information laden" when compared to their more emotional American counterparts and emphasises the importance of research and documentation for the series.[1] As Bill MacVicar put it:

Topicality is both a blessing and a bane for television. Since the time from concept to telecast can be much shorter than for movies, television appears better briefed and more up-to-date. But the voraciousness of the medium encourages clumsy or cynical abuse of topicality; all too often (as in the slack Lou Grant the mere act of raising an issue is assumed to be tantamount to solving it; in other cases, solutions are so slickly simplified that what purports to be an investigation is little more than a case of special pleading. In contrast to this frequent shortcoming, the CBC's For the Record series tends to do justice to the problems it airs.[5]



Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
1 "The Insurance Man from Ingersoll" Peter Pearson Peter Pearson, Norman Hartley Michael Magee, Charlotte Blunt, Warren Davis, Mavor Moore 8 February 1976
An opposition MPP in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario makes explosive charges of political corruption against the government.[6]
2 "A Nest of Shadows" Peter Carter Michael Mercer Louise Rinfret, Ralph Endersby 15 February 1976
3 "A Thousand Moons" Gilles Carle Mort Forer Carole Laure, Nick Mancuso, Adeline Coppaway 29 February 1976
An elderly Métis woman living in Toronto wants to return to her hometown before her death.[7]
4 "Kathy Karuks Is a Grizzly Bear" Peter Pearson Ralph L. Thomas Lesley Angus, Red Burnett, Rudi Lipp, Donnelly Rhodes, Dixie Seatle 7 March 1976
A swimmer who aspires to perform a marathon swim across Lake Ontario copes with an unscrupulous coach.[8]
5 "What We Have Here Is a People Problem" Francis Mankiewicz Michael Mercer George Waight, Heath Lamberts 1976


Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
6 "Maria" Allan King Rick Salutin Diane D'Aquila, Enzina Bertini, Jean Gascon 9 January 1977
A woman organizes a labour union.[9]
7 "Someday Soon..." Don Haldane Rudy Wiebe, Barry Pearson John Vernon 16 January 1977
Farmers in Manitoba try to resist a hydroelectric dam development that threatens to flood their land.[10]
8 "Dreamspeaker" Claude Jutra Anne Cameron Ian Tracey, George Clutesi 23 January 1977
Adaptation of Anne Cameron's novel Dreamspeaker.[11]
9 "Hank" Don Haldane Don Bailey, Ralph L. Thomas Bob Warner 30 January 1977
10 "Ada" Claude Jutra Claude Jutra, Margaret Gibson Janet Amos, Jayne Eastwood, David Fox 6 February 1977
Several women struggle in the mental health system.[12]
11 "The Tar Sands" Peter Pearson Peter Pearson, Peter Rowe, Ralph L. Thomas Kenneth Welsh, Ken Pogue 12 September 1977


Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
12 "A Matter of Choice"[13] Francis Mankiewicz Anne Cameron Michael Ironside, Roberta Maxwell, Fiona Reid, Gary Reineke 29 January 1978
After being sexually assaulted by her acquaintance David (Reineke), Carol (Maxwell) struggles with the moral and legal complexities of whether to report her assault to the police.
13 "Scoop"[14] Anthony Perris Douglas Bowie Scott Hylands, Lloyd Bochner, Deborah Templeton, Sabina Maydelle 12 February 1978
14 "Dying Hard"[15] Don Haldane Bill Gough Neil Munro, Clyde Rose, Claude Bede, Austin Davis, Estelle Wall 12 March 1978
15 "Seer Was Here"[16] Claude Jutra Claude Jutra, Don Bailey David Hemblen, Robert Forsythe 3 December 1978


Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
16 "Cementhead" Ralph L. Thomas Ralph L. Thomas, Roy MacGregor Tom Butler, Peter Dvorsky, Martin Short, Kate Lynch 18 February 1979
Bear Bernier, a minor league hockey player from Sudbury, is willing to do whatever it takes to make the National Hockey League.[17]
17 "Je me souviens / Don't Forget Me" Robin Spry Carmel Dumas 25 February 1979
18 "Homecoming" Gilles Carle Anne Cameron 4 March 1979
19 "Certain Practices" Martin Lavut Ian Sutherland Richard Monette, Alan Scarfe 11 March 1979
A young doctor challenges his hospital's chief surgeon over experimental surgeries. Winner of the Genie Award for Outstanding TV Drama Over 30 Minutes at the 1st Genie Awards in 1980.
20 "Every Person Is Guilty" Paul Almond Ralph L. Thomas, Roy MacGregor Ken Pogue, Lynne Griffin 1979
A journalist (Ken Pogue) tries to investigate a physical attack on his daughter.[18]
21 "One of Our Own" William Fruet Florrie Adelson 3 October 1979


Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
22 "The Winnings of Frankie Walls" Martin Lavut Rob Forsyth Al Waxman, Chapelle Jaffe 2 March 1980
Blue collar worker Frankie Walls (Waxman) struggles to find a new job after being laid off.
23 "Harvest" Giles Walker Rob Forsyth Jan Rubeš 9 March 1980
24 "Maintain the Right" Les Rose Tony Sheer Laurie Brown, Nicholas Campbell 16 March 1980
After political activist Jane Kohl's (Brown) apartment is robbed, RCMP officer Tom Kelby (Campbell) is forced to decide whether to stand with her in the face of evidence that his superiors may be engaging in surveillance of Jane.[19]
25 "A Question of the Sixth" Graham Parker Grahame Woods Lawrence Dane, Maureen McRae 23 March 1980
Garnet Burton (Dane), a middle-aged hog breeder, fights to be allowed to die by assisted suicide after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.[20]
26 "Lyon's Den" Graham Parker Tony Sheer Mary Bellows, James Blendick, Mogens Gander 1980


Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
27 "A Far Cry from Home" Gordon Pinsent Helen Weils, Bill Gough Mary Ann McDonald, Richard Monette 1 February 1981
28 "Snowbird" Peter Pearson Margaret Atwood Robert Christie, Jayne Eastwood, Doris Petrie 8 February 1981
29 "The Running Man" Donald Brittain Anna Sandor Chuck Shamata, Barbara Gordon, Colm Feore, Kate Trotter 22 February 1981
A married man struggles to come to terms with his homosexuality.[21]
30 "Cop" Al Waxman Grahame Woods 8 March 1981
31 "Final Edition" Peter Rowe Tony Sheer Alan Scarfe, Neil Munro, Donald Davis, Robert Clothier, Michael Hogan 22 March 1981
A media company decides to shut down its long-running flagship newspaper.[22]


Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
32 "An Honourable Member" Donald Brittain Roy MacGregor Fiona Reid, Don Francks, Eric House 28 February 1982
Trish Baldwin, a backbench Member of Parliament, is named to the Cabinet of Canada but struggles to balance her political ambitions with her personal integrity when she has to defend a major government project in her riding to which she is personally opposed.[23]
33 "By Reason of Insanity" Donald Shebib David McLaren Patricia Collins, John Wildman, Hrant Alianak 7 March 1982
Psychiatrists try to evaluate whether or not an accused murderer is insane.[24]
34 "High Card" Bill Gough Anna Sandor Chuck Shamata, Celine Lomez, Helen Hughes 14 March 1982
A photographer gets himself into financial trouble by overusing his credit cards.[25]
35 "Becoming Laura" Martin Lavut Gordon Knot Jennifer Jewison, Tom McCamus, Shelley Thompson 21 March 1982
A troubled teenager tries to establish her identity.[26]
36 "Blind Faith" John Trent, Jack Nixon-Browne Ian Sutherland Sneezy Waters, Florence Paterson, Peter MacNeill, Martha Burns 28 March 1982
Marge Aylesworth (Paterson) inherits her late husband's horse racing business.[27]


Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
37 "Ready for Slaughter" Allan King Roy MacGregor Gordon Pinsent, Diana Belshaw, Layne Coleman, Booth Savage 6 March 1983
A farmer struggles to hold onto his business despite his increasing financial debt.[28]
38 "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" Zale Dalen Nicholas Campbell, Robert Joy, John Wildman 13 March 1983
39 "Reasonable Force" Peter Rowe Brian Kit McLeod, Peter Lower Deepa Mehta, Abdul Merali, Lee Taylor 20 March 1983
An Indo-Canadian family in Vancouver struggles to deal with racism.[29]
40 "Moving Targets" John Trent Ian Sutherland Allan Royal 27 March 1983


Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
41 "Kate Morris, Vice President" Danièle J. Suissa John C. W. Saxton Kate Trotter, Scott Hylands 19 February 1984
A woman struggles to be taken seriously in her business career.[30]
42 "I Love a Man in Uniform" Don McBrearty John Frizzell Tom Butler, Denis Forest, Dan MacDonald, Stephanie Morgenstern, Dixie Seatle, Timothy Webber, Kenneth Welsh 26 February 1984
43 "Hide & Seek" René Bonnière Barry Wexler Bob Martin, Ingrid Veninger, David Patrick, Alan Scarfe 4 March 1984
Adaptation of Thomas J. Ryan's 1977 science fiction novel The Adolescence of P-1.
44 "Slim Obsession" Donald Shebib Janet Kranz, Martin Langer Susan Wright, Paul Kelman 11 March 1984
45 "Rough Justice" Peter Yalden-Thomson 25 March 1984
46 "A Change of Heart" Anne Wheeler Joy Coghill, Ken James 1 April 1984


Number Title Director Writer Cast Date
47 "The Boy Next Door" John Hunter John Hunter Chris Owens, Chapelle Jaffe, Michael Hogan 10 February 1985
A mother struggles to cope with the behaviour of her troubled teenage son.[31]
48 "Where the Heart Is" Carol Moore Ede Suzette Couture Margo Kane, Gary Farmer, Tantoo Cardinal, Tom Jackson 23 February 1985
After divorcing from her white husband, an indigenous woman discovers that she has lost her First Nations status.[31]
49 "The Front Line" Douglas Jackson Ken Mitchell Brent Carver, Monique Mercure 3 March 1985
An activist priest encourages his congregation to protest a local factory which is manufacturing parts for military equipment.[31]
50 "Tools of the Devil" Peter Yalden-Thomson Don Truckey Marc Strange, Heath Lamberts 10 March 1985
A journalist (Strange) tries to investigate the secret agenda of a politician (Lamberts).[32]
51 "The Exile" Gordon Pinsent Michael Mercer, Peter Lower Denis Akiyama, Robert Ito, Hiroshi Nakashimi, Jim McLarty 15 September 1985
Three generations of a Japanese Canadian family deal with the ongoing consequences of the Japanese Canadian internment in World War II.[33]


  1. ^ a b c Henley, Gail (April 1985). "On the record: For the Record's 10 distinctive years". Cinema Canada: 18–21. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Lightyears ahead". Cinema Canada, March 1977.
  3. ^ Sid Adilman, "Movie dramatizes horrors of prison". Toronto Star, February 21, 1986.
  4. ^ Collins, Richard (1990). "National culture; or, Where is here?". Culture, Communication and National Identity: The Case of Canadian Television. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802027334. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  5. ^ MacVicar, Bill (1 March 1982). "Reach for the topical". Maclean's. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Everything but reality in TV show". The Globe and Mail, 5 February 1976.
  7. ^ "Important' CBC drama still dreary". The Globe and Mail, 27 February 1976.
  8. ^ "Dynamo filmmaker with a patriot's passion: For Peter Pearson the only word is win". The Globe and Mail, 13 March 1976.
  9. ^ "TV drama explores union organizing". Toronto Star, 4 January 1977.
  10. ^ "Docu-dramas: reality meets fiction". The Globe and Mail, 15 January 1977.
  11. ^ "TV choice". Toronto Star, 22 January 1977.
  12. ^ "Jutra brings warmth, humanity to mental hospital drama". The Globe and Mail, 5 February 1977.
  13. ^ "Reality of rape in CBC drama". The Globe and Mail, 28 January 1978.
  14. ^ "CBC's slick journalistic drama carries a Hollywood trademark". The Globe and Mail, 11 February 1978.
  15. ^ "Has docu-drama gone too far?". The Globe and Mail, 11 March 1978.
  16. ^ "Prison show deserves at least a life sentence". The Globe and Mail, 3 December 1978.
  17. ^ "Cementhead is minor league". The Globe and Mail, 17 February 1979.
  18. ^ "Tangled tale tedious". The Globe and Mail, 17 March 1979.
  19. ^ Betty Swimmings, "RCMP drama misses mark". Ottawa Citizen, March 14, 1980.
  20. ^ Stephen Gauer, "Mercy killing as high drama". Ottawa Journal, March 22, 1980.
  21. ^ "Shamata to play in CBC TV drama". The Globe and Mail, 16 July 1980.
  22. ^ Gerald Pratley, A Century of Canadian Cinema. Lynx Images, 2003. ISBN 1-894073-21-5. p. 164.
  23. ^ "Fiona Reid enters the political arena". The Globe and Mail, 27 February 1982.
  24. ^ "Trained shrinks sent in to score for the defence: Does insanity excuse murder?". The Globe and Mail, 6 March 1982.
  25. ^ "Failure of comic touches deals High Card a fatal blow". The Globe and Mail, 13 March 1982.
  26. ^ "Torturers and the tortured go on record in TV special". The Globe and Mail, 20 March 1982.
  27. ^ "Sneezy Waters won't let success go to his head". The Globe and Mail, 26 November 1983.
  28. ^ "Pinsent's past helped with role in farm drama". Broadcast Week, 5 March 1983.
  29. ^ Carlo Coppola, "Reviewed Work: "Reasonable Force". Television drama for the series "For the Record," by BRIAN KIT MCLEOD, PETER LOWER". Journal of South Asian Literature Vol. 21, No. 1, SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN WRITERS: THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE (Winter, Spring 1986), pp. 181-185.
  30. ^ "In black and white". The Globe and Mail, 18 February 1984.
  31. ^ a b c "Record shows rare gems, many duds". The Globe and Mail, 23 February 1985.
  32. ^ "Producer knows how to use 'tools' of trade". The Globe and Mail, 9 March 1985.
  33. ^ "Pinsent proves again that he can do it all". Broadcast Week, 7 September 1985.

External links[edit]