Is­land odd­i­ties

On their new CBC show Cavendish, Pic­nic­face alums An­drew Bush and Mark Lit­tle bring their weirdo en­ergy to a small town.


Pre­mieres Tues­day, Jan­uary 8 9:30pm on CBC


goal was to piss on Cavendish and ev­ery­thing they be­lieve,” says Mark Lit­tle. “It’s gov­ern­ment-funded re­venge.”

His new sit­com Cavendish, pre­mier­ing Jan­uary 8 on CBC, stars Lit­tle and for­mer Pic­nic­face col­league An­drew Bush, also ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers. The show re­volves around the ad­ven­tures of Andy (Bush) and Mark (Lit­tle), brothers who re­turn to Cavendish, Prince Ed­ward Is­land, af­ter years of liv­ing in Toronto. Upon their homecoming, they dis­cover many strange odd­i­ties—an Anne of Green Gables cult, a 200-year-old coven—that were not part of their big-city ex­pe­ri­ence.

“The idea stemmed from me go­ing there on va­ca­tion,” says Bush. “Mark and I were work­ing on ideas for shows, and I told him some va­ca­tion sto­ries and Mark was fas­ci­nated. It’s not de­pict­ing Cavendish proper—it’s ba­si­cally tak­ing small towns and small-town su­per­sti­tions and ramp­ing it up to the nth de­gree.”

In the works since 2012, Cavendish was a part-time pur­suit for Bush and Lit­tle, who were busy jug­gling other projects: Bush worked for Funny or Die and di­rected the fea- ture Dirty 30, while Lit­tle wrote for chil­dren’s shows like Cup­cake & Dino and played Si­mon Hunt on Mr. D.

“It wasn’t in con­stant de­vel­op­ment,” Bush says. “Some­times we’d think it was dead and it would come back into our minds. The first time we thought it was re­ally go­ing to hap­pen was 2016. We rewrote two episodes on our own—it was ini­tially more of an en­sem­ble show—and fo­cused more on the brothers and the spooky el­e­ments. It piqued CBC’s in­ter­est, and pro­duc­tion com­pany Tem­ple Street came on board in 2017.” Cavendish shot around Hal­i­fax and PEI last sum­mer.

The show’s hu­mour comes from Andy and Mark’s re­ac­tion to Cavendish’s strange­ness: Andy with guarded pes­simism, Mark with glee­ful en­thu­si­asm. It’s a dy­namic honed from years of work­ing to­gether—Bush and Lit­tle col­lab­o­ra­tions date back to 2006, when Pic­nic­face reg­u­larly per­formed sold-out sketch shows at Gin­ger’s Tav­ern—but Bush says the char­ac­ters are not ex­ag­ger­ated ver­sions of their own per­son­al­i­ties.

“There are el­e­ments of us in both char­ac­ters,” he says. “The shitty qual­i­ties were given to me, while the good qual­i­ties were given to Mark.”

The cast also fea­tures some big names in the sketch and im­prov, in­clud­ing Bri­tish co­me­dian Kevin El­don ( Big Train, It’s Kevin) and Kathy Greenwood ( Whose Line Is It Any­way, Women Fully Clothed).

“Work­ing with them was amaz­ing,” says Bush. “We knew their work—Kathy from Whose Line Is It Any­way, and Kevin from im­mers­ing our­selves in cool Bri­tish sketch shows. Every­one had a live per­for­mance back­ground, so they could use the script as a skele­ton and just play around a bit.”

“We’re not giv­ing them writ­ing cred­its, though,” adds Lit­tle.

This is Lit­tle and Bush’s sec­ond time work­ing on a tele­vi­sion show to­gether—they pro­duced 13 episodes of Pic­nic­face for The Com­edy Net­work in 2011—and their first as ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers. While their prior ex­pe­ri­ence made the Cavendish ex­pe­ri­ence slightly eas­ier, star­ring in and pro­duc­ing a show brings its own set of chal­lenges.

“Cavendish was eas­ier be­cause we knew how it worked, and it was a dif­fer­ent nar­ra­tive struc­ture, in­stead of run­ning around all over the city film­ing sketches. And be­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors gave us the abil­ity to ex­e­cute our vi­sion,” says Lit­tle. “I’m not say­ing it’s a per­fect ex­e­cu­tion, but this is our show, it’s what we pic­tured more or less, and the pro­ducer role gave us the power to see if we could do it. But it was re­ally hard, a lot of work, and if it sucks it’s def­i­nitely on us.”

That said, Lit­tle and Bush agree that CBC en­dorsed their vi­sion, even if the end re­sult is dif­fer­ent from what you’d typ­i­cally ex­pect from the Mother Cor­po­ra­tion.

“Each episode is like a mini-movie, and we com­pletely swung for the fences,” says Bush. “CBC was more than sup­port­ive.”

“Some of the notes we got back were com­pletely un­ex­pected,” adds Lit­tle. “In­stead of ton­ing us down, it was like, ‘Did Andy stab the child clearly enough?’”

Cavendish’s first sea­son runs eight episodes; both Lit­tle and Bush are hope­ful that au­di­ences across the coun­try will en­joy their cre­ation. But if any Is­lan­ders take of­fense, Lit­tle isn’t pulling any punches.

“Screw you, PEI,” he says, laugh­ing. “Come across the bridge and face us if you don’t like what you see.”

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