[Hard Rock Medical] Another T.V. production shot here – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – December 10, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Think of it as St. Elsewhere meets Northern Exposure. That’s one way to describe a new English-language television series — Hard Rock Medical — that will start shooting in March and focus on the trials and tribulations of eight young medical students at a fictional Northern Ontario medical school in Greater Sudbury.

“When I was working on Meteo+ here, I would turn on the radio in the morning and the big issues were always mining and health care,” Derek Diorio, creator, writer, director and producer of the new series, said.

“I thought, ‘there’s a really good story here with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. It’s a different kind of place and environment … (And) there is a reason people live up here and stay up here. We will push the envelope, but it’s really about showing what goes on here in a meaningful way.”

Details about the show were unveiled during a press conference Friday at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s Greater Sudbury campus at Laurentian University.

St. Elsewhere was a television series in the 1980s that dealt with young doctors at the fictional St. Eligius teaching hospital in Boston. Northern Exposure, meanwhile, was a television series in the 1990s that dealt with a transplanted New York doctor in the fictional town of Cicely in Alaska.

Commissioned by TVO, Hard Rock Medical is a Canadian- Australian co-production from Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc. and Moody Street Productions. Hard Rock Medical Productions is a joint venture of Title Entertainment Inc., Distinct Features Inc. and Carte Blanche Films Inc.

Frank Taylor, president of Title Entertainment Inc., said Hard Rock Medical will tell stories about life in Northern Ontario.

“Alfred Hitchcock once said he wanted to tell stories with ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances,” said the Kirkland Lake native.

“Northern Ontario, with its jack pines and black spruce, will be the backdrop for the series — a colourful character in its own right. We’re pleased to show what’s so special about Northern Ontario to those of us who live here and show it to the rest of Ontario — the less-fortunate parts of the province. It’s also going to attract the attention of the rest of the world.”

The first season of Hard Rock Medical will consist of 13 episodes and likely air on TVO and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTV) in the summer or fall of 2013. While most of the shooting will take place in the Greater Sudbury area, some footage will be shot in Australia to fill in the backgrounds of some of the students.

“We are going to spend no time in the classroom,” Taylor later told reporters. “This is a story of students learning out in the real world.”

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