THE SERIES

Based loosely on the books Never Sleep Three in a Bed and The Night We Stole the Mounties’ Car by Max Braithwaite, Wind at My Back tells the story of the Bailey family through the Great Depression. It was created by Canadian filmmaker Kevin Sullivan, who produced other programs such as Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea.

The series begins as Jack and Honey Bailey, along with their three children, lose their family hardware store and are forced to go back to Jack’s home town of New Bedford in Northern Ontario. The Bailey’s begin to settle into the mining town of New Bedford when Jack suddenly dies. After her husband’s tragic death, Honey must keep her family going with the unwanted help of Jack’s domineering mother May, who runs the town mine. The highs and lows of the time period are reflected in the difficulties in the relationship between Honey and May as they struggle to understand each other. May constantly believes she knows best and asserts her demands onto Honey. Ultimately, it is the Bailey children, Hubert, Henry and Violet that keep Honey looking to the future. May’s adult daughter Grace still lives at home with her mother and struggles to break free of her influence. The Bailey children quickly befriend kindhearted Grace and help her become more assertive with May. The family connects with each other through the trials and tribulations of the tough economic times as well as through their struggles with one another. The characters grow and develop during the series, which allows viewers to connect with the Bailey family.

The series touches on the themes of family, forgiveness, hardship and love. There are new relationships formed between Honey and Max Sutton, as well as Grace and her many suitors. Grace’s love life is filled with romance and heart break as she tries to find her true love. Although both Honey and Grace suffer heartache, they remain hopeful with their budding and developing relationships throughout the series.

Wind at My Back consists of five seasons, each containing thirteen one hour episodes. A two hour Christmas movie, simply titled A Wind at my Back Christmas, wraps up loose ends and serves as the series finale. Several guest stars, such as Gordon Pinsent, make appearances on the program. The high production value, great costumes and beautiful scenery give viewers a glimpse into the 1930’s while being entertained by this timeless and heartwarming family series.

The series begins as Jack and Honey Bailey, along with their three children, lose their family hardware store and are forced to go back to Jack’s home town of New Bedford in Northern Ontario. The Bailey’s begin to settle into the mining town of New Bedford when Jack suddenly dies. After her husband’s tragic death, Honey must keep her family going with the unwanted help of Jack’s domineering mother May, who runs the town mine. The highs and lows of the time period are reflected in the difficulties in the relationship between Honey and May as they struggle to understand each other. May constantly believes she knows best and asserts her demands onto Honey. Ultimately, it is the Bailey children, Hubert, Henry and Violet that keep Honey looking to the future. May’s adult daughter Grace still lives at home with her mother and struggles to break free of her influence. The Bailey children quickly befriend kindhearted Grace and help her become more assertive with May. The family connects with each other through the trials and tribulations of the tough economic times as well as through their struggles with one another. The characters grow and develop during the series, which allows viewers to connect with the Bailey family.

The series touches on the themes of family, forgiveness, hardship and love. There are new relationships formed between Honey and Max Sutton, as well as Grace and her many suitors. Grace’s love life is filled with romance and heart break as she tries to find her true love. Although both Honey and Grace suffer heartache, they remain hopeful with their budding and developing relationships throughout the series.

Wind at My Back consists of five seasons, each containing thirteen one hour episodes. A two hour Christmas movie, simply titled A Wind at my Back Christmas, wraps up loose ends and serves as the series finale. Several guest stars, such as Gordon Pinsent, make appearances on the program. The high production value, great costumes and beautiful scenery give viewers a glimpse into the 1930’s while being entertained by this timeless and heartwarming family series.

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A wonderful way to introduce the issues of the depression years. Join the Bailey family in New Bedford and enjoy learning of life in the "bad old days". Great for the whole family, good values convincing characters and setting, thought provoking and addictive!

joyful spirit Live the Depression

For years I avoided Canadian movies and shows but Wind At My Back shows how great many Canadian productions have become. WAMB is full of great acting, great writing, great directing and great staging all the way. There is nothing like it out there that I know of and I love the series dearly. The people in WAMB are like the family we all wanted and the town we all wanted to live in. Brillant.

Raven MadAbsolutely the best

THE EVOLUTION OF A SERIES

After the end of Road to Avonlea, Sullivan Entertainment entered an exciting new era with their dramatic and emotionally compelling series Wind at My Back. Evolving out of an idea to replace the Avonlea Series on CBC’s The Family Hour, Executive Producer Kevin Sullivan spent the summer months writing story outlines and developing the characters that form the foundation of Wind at My Back.

The goal of this series is to try to entertain an audience in an unsuspecting way, with a style of entertainment that is quite real, that has a little bit of edge to it, but that still retains some of the sensibility that Avonlea became famous for around the world. These are stories that will make you laugh, make you cry and hopefully enlighten you at the end of the day.

As the lives of the Bailey family in the town of New Bedford began to take form, a real sense of the tragedy and hope of everyday life in the Great Depression started to develop. Wind at My Back attempted to dramatize the harsh existence and often crushing despair of life in the 1930s with humour and pathos.

Though set in the 1930s, Wind at My Back eerily reflects our modern world where many people hold on tenuously and pray that better economic times are just around the corner. “I think the stories in this production are more heartbreaking and delve into a level of poignancy that never existed in Avonlea,” states Kevin Sullivan.

Evolving out of a series of books by Canadian author Max Braithwaite,Wind at My Back chronicles the lives of the Bailey family as they struggle to survive through hard times. Although roughly based on Braithwaite’s novel Never Sleep Three in a Bed, Kevin also used stories told to him about his own family and relatives living in the thirties to create a realistic portrayal of life during the Great Depression. Out of this he built a cast of characters within which to develop a long running television series of over 65 episodes.

Kevin gives a lot of credit to his in-house writing team, “They were a very creative group and learned to work tremendously well in the context of a series when each episode has to tie into the next.” Writer Marlene Matthews loved writing the scripts. Like Kevin, she drew on experiences in her own life and combined both research and imagination in her writing. “I’ve always been attracted to the mythology and romance of the 1930s,” says Matthews. I used the Braithwaite books as a springboard and for inspiration to delve into the stories of my own family. The immediacy of the thirties is reflected in the hard times that we experience today as well.

As the lives of the Bailey family in the town of New Bedford began to take form, a real sense of the tragedy and hope of everyday life in the Great Depression started to develop. Wind at My Back attempted to dramatize the harsh existence and often crushing despair of life in the 1930s with humour and pathos.

Though set in the 1930s, Wind at My Back eerily reflects our modern world where many people hold on tenuously and pray that better economic times are just around the corner. “I think the stories in this production are more heartbreaking and delve into a level of poignancy that never existed in Avonlea,” states Kevin Sullivan.

Evolving out of a series of books by Canadian author Max Braithwaite,Wind at My Back chronicles the lives of the Bailey family as they struggle to survive through hard times. Although roughly based on Braithwaite’s novel Never Sleep Three in a Bed, Kevin also used stories told to him about his own family and relatives living in the thirties to create a realistic portrayal of life during the Great Depression. Out of this he built a cast of characters within which to develop a long running television series of over 65 episodes.

Kevin gives a lot of credit to his in-house writing team, “They were a very creative group and learned to work tremendously well in the context of a series when each episode has to tie into the next.” Writer Marlene Matthews loved writing the scripts. Like Kevin, she drew on experiences in her own life and combined both research and imagination in her writing. “I’ve always been attracted to the mythology and romance of the 1930s,” says Matthews. I used the Braithwaite books as a springboard and for inspiration to delve into the stories of my own family. The immediacy of the thirties is reflected in the hard times that we experience today as well.

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FROM BOOK TO SCREEN

Max Braithwaite (b. 1911 – d. 1995) wrote the two books that Wind at My Back are loosely based on. The books are part of a trilogy that are a humorous biographical account of Braithwaite’s upbringing in Saskatchewan.

Never Sleep Three in a Bed by Max BraithwaiteNever Sleep Three in a Bed was written in 1969 as the first installment of the trilogy. In the book, Braithwaite describes what it was like being the sixth of eight children while his parents were struggling to pay the bills. He provides a heartfelt and funny account of growing up in a large family that was extremely short on money.

The book, The Night We Stole the Mounties’ Car was written in 1971 as the third installment of the trilogy. This is an account of Braithwaite’s life during the Great Depression in Saskatchewan. The book follows Braithwaite from his early days as a teacher in 1935 through the difficult years he endured while struggling to become a writer.

Most readers find that although Wind at My Back is based loosely on Braithewaite’s books, the TV series doesn’t bear much resemblance to them. However, while reading the books, Braithwaite’s narrative feels as though he is talking directly to the reader as he describes the events of his childhood. Braithwaite’s informal writing style allows readers to feel like part of his family as his stories unfold. Braithwaite recalls his childhood in a very touching way that people can relate to making his books a great choice for setting a narrative tone for Wind at My Back. Going through the books, it’s easy to see how the concept and plot ideas came together for Wind at My Back. Characters like Aunt Grace, Hubert and Fat are all in Never Sleep Three in a Bed. However, although Aunt Grace plays a significant role in the TV series, she is just briefly mentioned in the book. Braithwaite writes about how he loved visits from Aunt Grace, since she always made things more interesting with her stories and her sleepwalking. On the other hand, characters such as Hub (who was one of Braithwaite’s brothers) and Fat (which was Braithwaite’s childhood nickname) played major roles in the books and the TV Series.

Max Braithwaite The Night We Stole the Mountie's CarThe Night We Stole the Mounties’ Car provided more ideas forWind at My Back. There are many anecdotes throughout the book that inspired elements of Wind at My Back. The development and visual detail of New Bedford was motivated by Braithwaite’s description of the town of Wannego. While the idea of the hornet attack that kills Jack was inspired by a bee attack Braithwaite faced himself. Other characters were also developed from personal experiences, for example, one of Grace’s boyfriends was developed based on Brathwaite’s friend Mike, who robbed a bank to impress the girl he wanted to be with. They did not end up together however, and Mike joined the Air Force during World War II, only to be killed in a plane crash during training. The book provided a great amount of insight for the creation of Wind at My Back.

After readers finish Max Braithwaite’s trilogy of books, they are often left wanting more. Many fans felt the same way whenWind at My Back ended and that is why A Wind at my Back Christmas is such a wonderful companion piece to the TV series. The Christmas movie ties up loose ends and allows viewers to see what happened to their favourite characters after the last episode of the fifth and final season.  The books take you into the world of Max Braithwaite, just as Wind at My Back makes you feel like you are a resident of New Bedford.

Although they are far from identical, Braithwaite’s books provided a great stepping stone toward the development and creation of Wind at My Back. Any fan of the TV Series is encouraged to read Never Sleep Three in a Bed and The Night We Stole the Mounties’ Car and fall in love with them the same way the creators of Wind at my Back did.

Never Sleep Three in a Bed by Max BraithwaiteNever Sleep Three in a Bed was written in 1969 as the first installment of the trilogy. In the book, Braithwaite describes what it was like being the sixth of eight children while his parents were struggling to pay the bills. He provides a heartfelt and funny account of growing up in a large family that was extremely short on money.

The book, The Night We Stole the Mounties’ Car was written in 1971 as the third installment of the trilogy. This is an account of Braithwaite’s life during the Great Depression in Saskatchewan. The book follows Braithwaite from his early days as a teacher in 1935 through the difficult years he endured while struggling to become a writer.

Most readers find that although Wind at My Back is based loosely on Braithewaite’s books, the TV series doesn’t bear much resemblance to them. However, while reading the books, Braithwaite’s narrative feels as though he is talking directly to the reader as he describes the events of his childhood. Braithwaite’s informal writing style allows readers to feel like part of his family as his stories unfold. Braithwaite recalls his childhood in a very touching way that people can relate to making his books a great choice for setting a narrative tone for Wind at My Back. Going through the books, it’s easy to see how the concept and plot ideas came together for Wind at My Back. Characters like Aunt Grace, Hubert and Fat are all in Never Sleep Three in a Bed. However, although Aunt Grace plays a significant role in the TV series, she is just briefly mentioned in the book. Braithwaite writes about how he loved visits from Aunt Grace, since she always made things more interesting with her stories and her sleepwalking. On the other hand, characters such as Hub (who was one of Braithwaite’s brothers) and Fat (which was Braithwaite’s childhood nickname) played major roles in the books and the TV Series.

Max Braithwaite The Night We Stole the Mountie's CarThe Night We Stole the Mounties’ Car provided more ideas forWind at My Back. There are many anecdotes throughout the book that inspired elements of Wind at My Back. The development and visual detail of New Bedford was motivated by Braithwaite’s description of the town of Wannego. While the idea of the hornet attack that kills Jack was inspired by a bee attack Braithwaite faced himself. Other characters were also developed from personal experiences, for example, one of Grace’s boyfriends was developed based on Brathwaite’s friend Mike, who robbed a bank to impress the girl he wanted to be with. They did not end up together however, and Mike joined the Air Force during World War II, only to be killed in a plane crash during training. The book provided a great amount of insight for the creation of Wind at My Back.

After readers finish Max Braithwaite’s trilogy of books, they are often left wanting more. Many fans felt the same way whenWind at My Back ended and that is why A Wind at my Back Christmas is such a wonderful companion piece to the TV series. The Christmas movie ties up loose ends and allows viewers to see what happened to their favourite characters after the last episode of the fifth and final season.  The books take you into the world of Max Braithwaite, just as Wind at My Back makes you feel like you are a resident of New Bedford.

Although they are far from identical, Braithwaite’s books provided a great stepping stone toward the development and creation of Wind at My Back. Any fan of the TV Series is encouraged to read Never Sleep Three in a Bed and The Night We Stole the Mounties’ Car and fall in love with them the same way the creators of Wind at my Back did.

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Definitely a family-friendly and captivating story for all ages! "Wind At My Back" has all the ingredients that make it a must-see series. We viewed portions of the series on CBC a few years ago and were thrilled to find it complete and available on DVD. It is a treat to view something that contains no violence, sexually-explicit scenes, or bad language ... just wish there were more movies like this these days! It would make viewing a true pleasure, and watching TV movies possible without having to constantly change channels to avoid evocative images and messages in both programs and commercials. Recommended as a series that can be seen over and over!

D. FarquharDynamic Depression-era DVD

The Wind at My Back (WAMB) series ran for five seasons in the 1990's and gained a large audience in Canada, where it was produced. WAMB is superb entertainment, centering on a town in northern Ontario in the 1930's. The stories are fast-paced and engaging and are suitable for the whole family. Be prepared to be left 'hanging' at the end of the fifth season. For some reason, the series was ended before the loose ends were tied up.

Jerry JensenExcellent entertainment