Arnold Pinnock welcomes viewers to step back in time 100 years with The Porter. The historical drama premieres Monday, February 21 on CBC and CBC Gem (and later this year on BET).
Based on true events, this is a little-known slice of Canadian history. This tale of Black porters working out of Montreal in the 1920s and battling to form their own union is a passion project for Pinnock. He learned about it several years ago while working on another project near Montreal's Little Burgundy neighbourhood. That area of predominantly Black settlement was home to pianist Oscar Peterson, whose father was a porter.
Pinnock teamed with Bruce Ramsay and Sienna Films to bring these stories to life. They pulled together a wonderful cast, which includes Ami Ameen, Ronnie Rowe Jr., Mouna Traore and Alfre Woodard, among others. Vintage trains stationed in Winnipeg, where production was based, add a great deal of authenticity to the narrative.
Pinnock himself has a history worth celebrating. Canada's first Black member of the Second City improv troupe, his comedy resume includes credits on The Royal Canadian Air Farce and Baroness von Sketch Show. In series work, Pinnock has appeared on Life with Derek, Combat Hospital, The Listener, Travelers, Cardinal and Hudson & Rex. In movies, he has starred opposite Chris Rock and Liam Neeson.
All aboard the Pinnock podcast express, the best way to arrive at The Porter.