MVP London shots fleeting

Jan 8th 2008

But watch closely, and you may see such familiar sites as Richmond Row, Robinson Hall and -- of course -- the JLC dressing room.

by Kathy Rumleski

London Free Press

Hoping to score MVP shows some flash

If you're tuning in to CBC's hot new drama MVP, which debuts tomorrow night, you'll have to keep your eyes peeled to see shots of London.

The much-hyped show about the off-ice shenanigans of hockey players was filmed in London, Hamilton and Toronto, with 80 per cent of the episodes done in the Forest City.

There is an extended shot of the Toronto skyline in the first episode, with the CN tower clearly seen, so most viewers will assume the series was filmed in Toronto.

While there are some obvious London scenes, such as the JLC, others are not so easy to spot.

It's filmed in such as way that the setting could be any Canadian city with an NHL team.

The show's co-creator and executive producer, Mary Young Leckie, said most London scenes made it.

"We can't afford to be shooting a lot of extra stuff."

The series features homes in Arva and Wortley Village. A swimming pool scene was shot at the Delta Armouries Hotel. The Auberge du Petit Prince restaurant, Robinson Hall, Richmond Hotel, which is seen at the beginning of the third show, Richmond Row and the Michael Gibson Gallery were also some of the London locales used by show creators.

Exterior and interior filming was done in Arva at the Avalon mansion and at the Michael Gibson Gallery.

Scenes from the gallery air in episode seven.

"The concept was that the wives/girlfriends of the hockey players needed to raise money for the team and decided to put together a calendar as a fundraiser," said gallery assistant Jennie Kraehling.

"The gallery was used as a photography studio for the calendar photo shoot. It was a very fun event for us all."

Of course, the John Labatt Centre figures prominently with scenes in the dressing room and the wings of the building.

While it may be fun to look for London-area spots, the show is not material you'll want your kids to see.

It has drawn some early criticism for being too smutty and a complaint to the CRTC was lodged.

MVP's provocative ads, which were shown on a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, resulted in the complaint.

The CBC changed the ad right away, Young Leckie said. "CBC took the prudent course and decided . . . pre-9 p.m. to show another ad."

Young Leckie said people may be surprised to see this show on the CBC, but they shouldn't be.

"It's provocative for the CBC only because they haven't done this before. The old CBC was the CBC of our mothers and our grandmothers and a time when we were a careful, conservative country. Canada has become a much more bold, exciting place to live and to be creative."

She added that while lots of body parts are seen, MVP isn't "sleazy."

"When it's appropriate to the story, you will see bare bums and you . . . may see the odd nipple, but it's not gratuitous."

Currently Young Leckie and her writing crew are working on season two, although they won't likely know for a couple of months if the CBC will pick it up.

It's all based on ratings, she said.

The Hollywood writers' strike means her show could receive more attention from viewers.

"The fact there is nothing new on the air means we have a better shot at finding an audience. It's a very fortuitous event."

She isn't sure if any season two filming will be done in London.

"It certainly was a fabulous experience. The only difficulty with London is that it's a bit of travel for people who live in Toronto."

GLIMPSES OF LONDON

See if you can spot these locations in the 10-show series.

- The JLC

- Robinson Hall

- Richmond Row

- Michael Gibson Gallery

- The Auberge du Petit Prince restaurant

- Avalon mansion in Arva

- Delta Armouries pool

- Richmond Hotel


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