Sunday 28 January 2018

Dog River Denizens - Nancy Robertson

(Wanda Dollard)

You might not realise this from reading my previous work here at Fan Corner but I am not a professional journalist. Hard to believe, I know! I am not a real writerer. Even so, I feel it is important to approach your chosen subject matter with a strong work ethic. Ethic is of course a Latin word comprised of "Eth" meaning "To Work" and "Ic" meaning "As quickly as possible before The Walking Dead is on the telly". I always have this in mind when I bring you all the latest, up to date Corner Gas news and features as accurately as humanly possible without doing any actual work and/or research. 

This is not an easy guideline to follow, there isn't a huge amount of background information out there about our favourite show and those involved in it's creation. You have to do a lot of digging. For three hours now I have been having a very heated argument with my Amazon Echo Dot. Alexa insists on giving me the directions to Oxford Circus when I have asked for biographic details on Nancy Robertson. Yet, despite having to throw out all my ethical integrity, I have persisted and discovered all sorts of information about this wonderful actress that is guaranteed 100% factual, apart from the parts that may very well not be. 

(Wanda Dollard)

Nancy seems to have always been drawn to a theatrical life, this is an assumption on my part based on the half a dozen web entries that start "Nancy Robertson studied drama at High School and graduated in 1990". Her first job as a teenager was in a salon washing hair which I would assume didn't require much acting except from maybe telling an old lady that her blue rinse looked fabulous. 

Recently, during the Pandemic, Nancy showed her salon roots don't need touching up in this video featuring her husband Brent Butt.

In the following interview, recorded during press for Season 2 of her series Hiccups, Nancy discusses her early years, parents and comedy influences.

After High School, she attended The Peter Breck Academy. Peter Breck was an American character actor who  was featured in classic TV western Maverick and is best known as starring in The Big Valley opposite Barbara Stanwyck. Mr. Breck was asked to chair a few acting lessons for young actors when he moved to Vancouver in the mid 1980's. These weekly lessons blossomed into a fully fledged acting school that he ran for ten years. 

Nancy also honed her skills at The Vancouver Arts Club Theatre Program. The Arts Club are well known for their quality productions of plays, produced by their own theatrical company which are presented across three theatres around Vancouver as well as touring around Canada. The theatre program supports young artists and develops their talents through various workshops covering all areas of theatre. 

Nancy is a world class hide and seek competitor

In her early years Nancy had jobs in a cable company call centre and a t-shirt shop before she started to earn a crust in fringe theater and as part of Vancouver TheaterSports League a pioneering improvisational comedy troupe whose other alumni include the hilarious Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie among many others. VTSL has become, since it's inception in 1980, a world leader in the craft of theatrical improvisation becoming known for it's blend of dramatic comedy that provides all the excitement of live sports. Whilst performing there she developed a reputation for being one of Vancouver's best improvisational actors. VTSL produced a short lived sketch show The 11th Hour which is best known for having the same name as roughly 37,000 other television shows and as such is afforded little or no space on the internet. 

More television and film roles followed. Nancy notably featured in The New Addams Family, as Samantha. The series was an update of the original television show adding elements of the dark humour that featured in the two popular movies that were produced in the 90's. Nancy briefly mentions the role here in which she and Brent discuss their earliest parts. 

In 2003 Nancy was cast in a starring role in mockumentary The Delicate Art of Parking.

The movie, which also features Corner Gas co-star Fred Ewanuick, tells the story of a director who embarks on making a film about corruption within the institution of parking enforcement. Whilst following an earnest traffic warden, who is very proud of the job he does, the director finds a new side to the story and soon finds himself on the verge of discovering a true conspiracy. Directed by Trent Carlson, who also co-wrote the script with Blake Corbet, The Delicate Art of Parking drew favourable reviews some comparing it to the classic mockumentaries of Christopher Guest. It was a favourite of the festival circuit and grew to develop a cult following. Nancy received a nomination for a Leo award for best female performance in a supporting role.

After many more roles, on screens large and small, in 2004 we were introduced to Wanda Dollard, sassy know it all clerk at Corner Gas. In this role Nancy would become a household name throughout Canada. During the shows run Nancy won and was nominated for Leo, Gemini and Canadian Comedy awards. 

2005 was a keynote year for Corner Gas history. Nancy married her co-star Brent Butt, a comedy match made in heaven. The hopes that this would start a trend throughout the rest of the cast were unfortunately dashed, none of the other guys married each other, not even for giggles. 

Nancy and Brent being all cute and adorable.

The same year saw the release of Season 2 of Corner Gas. It wasn't expected that the show would last past one season. No wonder Nancy and her co-stars celebrated in style. 

Nancy would continue to delight audiences with her Dog River shenanigans for another four seasons of Corner Gas. No doubt other, undocumented, trips to spa's took place during this time...but I can't prove it.

In 2010 Nancy returned to television screens in Hiccups . a new series created by her Corner Gas co-star and now husband Brent Butt. Nancy plays Millie Upton, creator of popular children's book series "The Grumpaloos" and sufferer from often disastrous anger management issues. The series follows Millie as she attempts to get to grip with her temper with the help of life coach Stan Dirko, played by Brent Butt.


Nancy stops the cast of Hiccups falling over

The series ran for two seasons and every episode showcases Nancy Robertson and her formidable comedic talents. Promotion was ramped up for season two Nancy made the press rounds, performing interviews giving great background information on the show possibly in an effort to save future bloggers lots of time having to write it up themselves. 

Millie Upton, with her occasionally volcanic temperament  could become an unlikable character if not handled correctly. Nancy delivers a performance which creates a very lovable and relatable Millie who is always hilarious to watch. Another Canadian Comedy Awards nomination was given to Nancy in 2011 for her work on Hiccups.

Here's some more chat with Nancy about Hiccups. If you haven't seen the show and are wondering what a Grumpaloo looks like Nancy has the answer for you!

The show was, unfortunately, handled badly by it's network and was cancelled after it's short run. The same fate that befell it's stable mate "Dan for Mayor" starring our own Fred Ewanuick. 
Nancy stops her drawing board from falling over

She returned to the role of Wanda for Corner Gas: The Movie in 2014. Nancy, as Wanda Dollard, provided the movie some of it's most memorable moments including the instant classic "Werewolf versus Robot" opening. The movie, filmed in the summer of 2014, was a massive success with critics and fans on release. A limited theatrical release was extended due to huge demand from the public. 

In 2016 Nancy spoke to the "What's So Funny" podcast about her life and career. The interview contains all sorts of things that are not included above. Now I could rob the information and pass it off as my own or I could copy and paste the link and save a whole bunch of time and effort. Link it is!

Due to the success of Corner Gas: The Movie the powers that be realised there was still a demand for new Corner Gas content. On discussion with Brent and his colleagues it was decided the show could come back, with a twist. 2018 saw the release of Corner Gas Animated.

The whole cast came back including everyone's diminutive know it all Wanda. The question being would Wanda be a different character when audiences return to Dog River. Nancy discusses this conundrum below.

Corner Gas Animated ran for four seasons. During the run of the animated show Nancy lent her voice to Irene Holmes, estate agent in Netflix animated feature The Willoughbys and also appeared in Disney + hit Flora and Ulysses. 

Recently the dream team of Fred Ewanuick and Nancy was bought together once again for short film "A New Leash on Life". The story tells of a magical talking dog who has to persuade his owner to not have him put down after one too many rage fuelled outbursts. Fred plays the voice of Basketball the dog and Nancy the vet who may or may not have a job to do.

Click picture to see the trailer for "A New Leash On Life"

We at Corner Gas Fan Corner always look forward to watching any project featuring the wonderful Nancy Robertson. She has more appearances planned during 2022 and beyond. Click the picture below to see all the latest additions to Nancy's filmography and further details on all the projects above and many more. 

Click picture for Nancy's full IMDb Filmography

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