CBC cancels TV drama Arctic Air, starring Creston native Pascale Hutton

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  • Mar. 21, 2014 8:00 a.m.
Creston native Pascale Hutton in a publicity photo for Arctic Air's third season.

Creston native Pascale Hutton in a publicity photo for Arctic Air's third season.

The popular CBC drama Arctic Air is one of several television shows that has fallen victim to the public network’s loss of lucrative NHL hockey rights.

Arctic Air star Pascale Hutton, a Prince Charles Secondary School grad, said on Thursday that she was disappointed, but that the cancellation wasn’t unexpected.

“It was a surprise and it wasn’t a surprise,” she said, “because the series has been doing well but CBC losing Hockey Night in Canada has a huge financial impact.

“I had braced myself for anything that could happen — no show is really ever safe, and Arctic Air is really expensive to produce.”

Her disappointment was evident in the telephone interview, though.

“In season 3 we really hit our stride. Everything seemed to jell,” she said of the series in which she plays a pilot and co-owner of a small commercial airline based in Yellowknife. “I was really excited at the prospect of going into season 4, but not now. It wasn’t meant to happen.”

Arctic Air joins Cracked, a mental health crime series, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and The Ron James Show as series cancelled recently. CBC lost NHL rights to Rogers, and has traditionally used Hockey Night in Canada revenues to subsidize the cost of other programs.

Now, after a rare three-year gig, the Creston-born actor finds herself back on the audition trail, looking for new work.

“I’ve been kind of insulated from job hunting for a few years,” she admitted. “I’ve been very comfortable. But my agent reminded me that everything has a beginning, middle and end — that’s just part of the career I have chosen.”

Despite the show’s cancellation, Hutton hasn’t been completely free to stay at home and be a full-time mother and wife. The last filming day for Arctic Air was in January (on a snowy day on Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain) and in February she was in two episodes of Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart.

“It’s a period piece from 1910,” she said.

The series, which just wrapped up its first season, is set in a frontier town, giving Hutton a welcome chance to play a much different character than Krista Ivarson in Arctic Air.

“Period costumes, mannerisms, relationship dynamics — they were completely different for me,” she said. “I played a theatre actress from New York — over the top and very theatrical, always breaking into song and playing the piano.

“I started referring to the show as, When Calls the Heart: Where Pascale Makes an Ass of Herself! It was great fun.”

While she expects her character to return if Hallmark Channel renews the show for a second season, Hutton is also busy looking for more work.

“I’m now back to auditioning, but I have a whole new outlook and appreciation for the process,” she said. “I’m enjoying it more than ever. Life seems full of opportunities right now — I’m not entrenched on one path.”

She recommends that Arctic Air fans not give up on the series just because it won’t be returning for a fourth season.

“There are a few episodes to air before the two-part finale, which is truly, truly action-adventure like you’ve never seen in Canada before. Truly epic,” she said.

“I sent an email to writer Jon Cooksey and told him, ‘You’ve written a feature film,’ in the last two episodes.

“It’s a massive feat of visual effects, crazy locations and drama. Massive in scope and scale. I think people are going to be blown away.”

The final episodes of Artic Air run on CBC on March 25, and April 1 and 8. Previous interviews with Hutton have discussed season 1, season 2 and season 3.