Man in the Shadows is Gordon Henderson’s first novel. In fact, it is his first book since the publication of Sandy Mackenzie Why Look So Glum in 1979 — a children’s book of political rhymes about Canadian prime ministers.
Henderson’s career has been spent in television – images on the screen, not words on paper. He has been a parliamentary correspondent, a senior current affairs field producer and, since 1987, the owner of a documentary production company. Documentaries produced by his company 90th Parallel Productions have aired around the world and won many national and international awards.
History is Gordon Henderson’s first love. He won a Gemini Award for his work as a senior series producer of the celebrated CBC series Canada: A People’s History. 90th Parallel Productions also produced a four part series on the building of the CPR for History Television and Underground Railroad: The William Still Story starring Dion Johnston, which ran nationally in the United States on PBS.
90th has produced many science-based documentaries including The Norse: An Arctic Mystery about first contact and the Vikings, Wind Rush about the controversy over wind turbines, Journey to the Disaster Zone: Japan 3/11 with David Suzuki which ran on both CBC and NHK, Geologic Journey II, a five part co-production with CBC, which also aired on Discovery Science and National Geographic International and two films about neuroplasticity based on the best selling book The Brain That Changes Itself by Dr Norman Doidge, which have aired around the world.
Henderson and 90th have also produced a range of documentaries. Sports: two films for TSN and CTV to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup and two documentaries for the Olympic Consortium about the Vancouver /Whistler Olympics. And the arts: Henderson won a Gemini Award for a film about rock and roll legend Ronnie Hawkins and has recently directed 90th’s fourth film with the fabulous Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.
90th Parallel Productions produced four films on the war in Afghanistan including We Will Remember Them, a two-hour special about Canada’s fallen soldiers, which ran on the CBC without commercial breaks. In 2006 Henderson spent a month with Canadian troops in Afghanistan writing and directing The Crazy Eights which The Globe and Mail called “must see TV.”
90th has worked with most of Canada’s leading news and current affairs personalities, including Lloyd Robertson, Kevin Newman, Gord Martineau, Bill Cameron, Seamus O’Regan, Marla Shapiro and Valerie Pringle, and produced two feature documentaries with The National Film Board of Canada.
Recent productions include an investigation of crime rates and incarceration, a POV film about identical twins, another about twins and the science of epigenetics, a film about gut bacteria and obesity, a feature documentary about a man’s journey to heal his bi-polar symptoms and a film about American attitudes toward Canada.
Mom and Me, a story about a teenager’s search for her crack-addicted mother on the inner city streets of Toronto, premiered at the Hot Docs Festival and recently aired on TVO.
90th Parallel Productions was part of the team producing a documentary on the discovery of one of Sir John Franklin’s lost ships, The Erebus. The co-production with Lion TV out of the UK ran on CBC’s The Nature of Things, Découverte on Radio-Canada, NOVA on PBS, Arte in France and Germany and Channel 4 in the UK.
Recent and upcoming productions include The Tea Explorer about ancient tea routes in China, First 150 following a family of new Canadians, The Brain’s Way of Healing, Think Like an Animal, Into the Fire and Secrets from the Ice for CBC’s The Nature of Things and Skinhead for POV.
90th is developing, with TMN and The National Film Board of Canada, a documentary based on Thomas King’s best-selling book The Inconvenient Indian and producing a film about The Little Prince with the same director who made The Skin We’re In for CBC.
For more than a decade Gordon Henderson taught in the Journalism department at Toronto’s Ryerson University. He is past president of the board of Dixon Hall, a community service agency in downtown Toronto and is now is on the board of Face The Future, a medical missions foundation. He can’t hold a tune but he has also been on the board of Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Choir and Opera Atelier.
Henderson was profiled in the Ryerson Review of Journalism. www.rrj.ca/keeping-it-reel/
He lives in Toronto with his wife, Pam. They have three grown children.