Creston woman back for the third season of CBC’s Arctic Air

A publicity shot of Creston-raised Pascale Hutton, who stars in CBC’s Arctic Air, now in its third season.  - Photo CBC
A publicity shot of Creston-raised Pascale Hutton, who stars in CBC’s Arctic Air, now in its third season.
— image credit: Photo CBC

In the final episode of Arctic Air’s second season, Krista, angered at having been left out of the loop in a kidnapping, is last seen heading for a plane to Bali. She’s just told her business partner and off-and-on love interest, Bobby (played by heartthrob actor Adam Beach), that she doesn’t know when she’ll be back. The implication is that she just might not return.

Fans of the CBC-TV drama can rest easy. Krista came back in the Jan. 7 season premiere, returning “on a mission” to make some changes to the airline she co-owns with Bobby and her father, Mel.

“I’m still in the show and I’m not just appearing via Skype from Bali,” Pascale Hutton, a Prince Charles Secondary School grad and star of Arctic Air, said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. “I guess that’s not a spoiler alert!

“Krista comes back and a bunch of drama ensues. Her and Bobby and Mel try and sort out the dynamic of the airline and also the dynamic of their relationships. Krista comes back with a lot of new ideas about what she wants to do with the airline. That kind of ruffles a bunch of feathers and everybody has to kind of get on board because she’s a woman on a mission!”

Hutton, who studied drama at the University of Alberta (where she met her husband, Danny Dorosh), is the daughter of retired teachers Elizabeth and Ian Hutton. Thank goodness for moms, she said. Elizabeth visits Vancouver, helping to care for her grandson, Ryu.

When Hutton signed on for the first year of Arctic Air, she also had recurring roles in a couple of other series. Now she has only one job, but it’s an all-consuming one for seven months a year.

“We have my mom and a nanny living with us right now so that’s a huge help,” she said. “Then my mother-in-law is going to come for the last month of filming to help. We call in all the troops. We definitely can’t do it alone. “

Dorosh is a member of the Vancouver Police Department, but the stress of juggling professional and home life is worth it, she said.

“I’ve never seen him happier than he is. He’s got a great squad and he’s in a district that he really wants to be in. He’s just so fulfilled and invigorated — it’s really nice.”

For the star of television and movies, Pascale’s balance at home comes in large chunks, not in the daily routines of parents with more regular routines.

“I had a quieter first half of the year where I was just kind of focused on being at home,” she said. “And then once we started filming it has ramped up to lightning speed in our house. It’s really crazy. The show is really busy this year for me, and it’s fantastic. I love what’s happening on the show and I really think this is our best season. But it definitely makes for a busy household, that’s for sure.”

Shooting the third season of Arctic Air (which airs Tuesdays on CBC) started in July and continued into December.

“We did it a little bit differently this year. We started here in Vancouver and filmed in the studio for a while. Near the end of August, because of what those episodes required in terms of environment, we ended up going to Winnipeg instead of Yellowknife, only because the episode revolves around a dam and we couldn’t get access to any dams around Yellowknife.

“Then we went up to Yellowknife near the end of September. If you’re going to go to Yellowknife, that’s the time to go. It’s really spectacular — the leaves are all turning and the weather is warm but not hot. It was a beautiful, beautiful time for us to go up there and capture that on film.”

She is clearly pleased with the way the hit series is progressing.

“I really think this season the storytelling is head and shoulders above where we were in seasons one and two. It’s always hard when you’re starting a series and you’re trying to sort out what works and what doesn’t work, what people respond to and what they don’t respond to. I just feel like our creator, Ian Weir, and one of our new head writers, John Cooksy, the two of them put their heads together — went back to basics and wanted to refine what the show was — keep all the good stuff that was happening in the first seasons and make it more concise. It’s more of the emotional journey of the characters with the action-adventure journeys. There’s a marriage between the two. One informs the other and vice versa.

“I don’t want to say anything about our mid-season episode (number 6), but when I first read that script my heart was beating — it was so intense and so alive with what was happening with my character and Bobby’s. The intensity of the situation they’re in — it’s really life and death — and they deal with that head-on. It amps up the drama of the show to a whole new level.”

While Hutton describes the cast and crew as “just like a family”, the familiarity brings its own challenges.

“It’s funny, John Reardon and I always joke because in the first season — I think it was the second episode — he and I had to do this, like, nude scene together. We barely knew each other and it was really awkward and uncomfortable. But now we know each other so well, and we’re quite good buddies, we are always debating about if they were to write us a scene like that again, whether it would be more awkward now! Or was it more awkward when we didn’t know each other? It’s hard to say!”

The camaraderie that has grown among on- and off-screen personnel makes life easier, she said. Most filming days are scheduled for 12 hours, and she has to allow 90 minutes for hair and makeup before shooting starts. Add in the commute and it makes for a long day.

“You put your head down and you just do it — you do the best you can,” she laughed.

Hutton remains firmly grounded despite the success that has made her a nationally recognized TV star.

“Any time I go back to Creston or even up the lake I always feel that the community that I was a part of when I was growing up, and that I’m still connected to through my parents, really, really supported me and informed where I’m at now,” she said. “I feel that from them — that there is this true investment in me as a person and where I’m at now.”

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