Background (TV series)

Background was a Canadian journalistic television series which aired on CBC Television from 1959 to 1962.

Country of originCanada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
ProducerCliff Solway
Running time20-30 minutes
Original networkCBC Television
Original release5 July 1959 (1959-07-05) –
1 January 1962 (1962-01-01)


The series was an in-depth review of current news items. It replaced CBC's previous Sunday night journalistic series This Week. It looked at the week's stories in more detail and was a forerunner to This Hour Has Seven Days.[1] Its first season was hosted by University of Saskatchewan political science professor Rick Hart. Hart, however, was inexperienced in broadcasting and left the series after the first season. The series was led in following seasons by a selection of journalists and analysts who included Arnold Beichman, Alistair Cooke, Philip Deane, Robert Fulford, Robert McKenzie, Michael Maclear and Malcolm Muggeridge.[2]

Documentaries featured on Background included features on various world regions, the United Nations, and "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William L. Shirer. Douglas Leiterman produced "The Critical Years", a series within the Background series, for the final 1961–1962 seasons of the series.[3]


Background was produced by Cliff Solway, who complained of difficulty finding guests who could provide a sufficiently forceful presentation for the show.[4]


For its first season, the series aired Sundays at 11:15 p.m. in a 25-minute time slot from 5 July 1959 to 26 June 1960. The next season, this was adjusted to a 20-minute time slot starting at 11:20 p.m. from 9 October 1960 to 1 January 1961. Background expanded to a 30-minute time slot at 10:00 p.m. Sundays from 19 February to 25 June 1961. In 1962, the series was randomly scheduled.


  1. ^ Gallagher, Danny (10 September 2009). "He was there when the CBC introduced TV to Canadians". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  2. ^ Corcelli, John (May 2005). "Background". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  3. ^ Rutherford, Paul (1990). When Television Was Young: Primetime Canada 1952-1967. University of Toronto Press. p. 407. ISBN 0-8020-5830-2.
  4. ^ Rutherford, Paul (1990). When Television Was Young: Primetime Canada 1952-1967. University of Toronto Press. p. 171. ISBN 0-8020-5830-2.

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