Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Debra McGrath Discusses The Show’s Final Season
McGrath discusses her response to the show’s cancellation as well as the mood which was present amongst the show’s cast throughout the final weeks .We also extensively discuss some of the challenges involved with Mayor Popowicx‘s serious romantic relationship this season as well as how the pursuit such a serious relationship speaks to how the Mayor has developed over the course of the show. With Sarah Hammoudi’s divorce, also being a key element in the final season, we learn how the two’s friendship is impacted as Ann tries to support her best friend.
The actress also further reflects on her final experiences with the show, explaining why she thinks viewers will find the series finale satisfying as well as how she thinks both Little Mosque and the character of Mayor Popowicx will be remembered. McGrath also gives us an update on a spinoff series which she has been working on with Little Mosque’s Sheila McCarthy as well as some of her other recent acting projects.
Take a read through our complete interview, below!
Abbas Karimjee:Since we last connected, it was announced that Little Mosque on the Prairie will end upon the conclusion of its upcoming sixth season. What was your initial reaction when you learned of this and what are your thoughts on the factors which led to the show’s cancellation?
Debra McGrath:I was never sad to hear it.We all believed that season five was going to be the end which made season six such a bonus, which it certainly turned out to be.
AK: Could you please describe the atmosphere and mood which was present on set, amongst the show’s cast and crew throughout the final weeks of production?
DM:The last weeks of this show were the finest I have known on a set. Everyone was emotional, more emotional than we expected I think. This cast and crew has been through lots together, births and deaths alike. We bonded over this time and we knew that the end would take us in different directions and that we would miss seeing one another at “Mosque camp”. We had our own wonderful farewell celebrations, large and small, on and off the set. The mood was high and sweet. I will never forget it.
AK: In the upcoming sixth season, Mayor Popowicz will find love with Charles Thorne [Peter Keleghan], who is Reverend William Thorne’s younger brother. Could you please give us an idea of the circumstances and factors which draw Mayor Popowicz and Charles together?
DM:Like all good love stories, they start out despising each other and then find themselves dealing with a very strong sexual attraction. I don’t want to give too much away because the way in which they come together is fraught with twists and turns.
AK: Could you please give us an idea of some of the challenges which the two will face over the course of their relationship?
DM:I will say one thing without giving too much away. The biggest challenge they face is the fact that Charles is engaged to be married to someone else. Always a bit of a stumbling block for a new relationship wouldn’t you say?
AK: When we last connected, you mentioned that one of your potential aspirations for the character of Mayor Popowicz would be that she leaves her position as mayor of Mercy for love. Does the Mayor’s discovery of true love influence her performance on the job or make her reconsider her desire to run as mayor of Mercy?
DM:Nope. In fact much to Charles chagrin, she remains very much a career gal.I could not have been happier that they gave her a true love. Better than leaving office methinks.
AK: Mayor Popowicz is a character who has been known for engaging in casual relationships. How do you think being involved in a real, serious relationship speaks to the character’s development over the course of the show? In what other ways do you think the character has also developed?
DM:Oh yeah the Mayor has done her share of dabbling!!! And the beauty of her relationship with Charles is that it has the best of both worlds, it was an affair and true love both! I think we have seen the softer side of Ann these last two seasons and what I have loved is that we have been able to see her true love for Sarah. The relationship between Ann and Sarah has been such a happy thing for both Sheila and myself. These characters had such a funny odd relationship and it became more and more layered as the years went on. When Yasir left, we were able to tap into that more. But don’t get me wrong, we really missed Carlo.
AK: Peter Keleghan recently mentioned that you two have been real life friends for over 25 years. How do you think you think a preexisting friendship enhanced the portrayal of Mayor Popowicz’ relationship with Charles?
DM:I think Peter and I had a built in rapport so that was great. But I did blog about the fact that it is hard when old friends have to make out on camera. I called it “Comedians. Don’t. Kiss.”
AK: According to a press release issued by CBC, Sarah and Yasser finalize their divorce in the sixth season. How does Sarah’s divorce impact the two’s friendship, in terms of the level of support Ann provides her with?
AK:Could you please give us an idea of what else is in store for Ann Popowicz in the show’s final season, both in terms of her role as mayor of Mercy and as a member of the community?
DM:Without giving too much away, she saves the day in a big way towards Mercy having it’s own mosque and I think that becomes her greatest and ONLY unselfish act as Mayor. Mind you, I am sure she has wrestled with the idea of them naming it Mayor Ann Mosque!
AK: In general, what else is in store for Little Mosque’s sixth and final season? How do you think this season will serve as a satisfactory ending to the six seasons of the show?
DM:I am speaking the truth when I tell you that the show is tied up in such a beautiful way. The end is true to the intention and a wonderful gift to the fans and more importantly to the tone and message of the show. I could not be prouder of the way it wraps up.
AK: How do you think both Little Mosque and the character of Mayor Popowicx, in particular will be remembered as?
DM:Little Mosque will be remembered I hope, as a groundbreaking CANADIAN show that dared to be humane, that tried to be inclusive and dispelled stereotypes. I think the mayor will remembered as that sassy little sarcastic gal who was often drunk, frankly.
AK. Sheila McCarthy has been working with you on writing a spinoff. Are there any details regarding the concept of this spinoff, which you are able to reveal? What progress has been made to date on its development?
DM:Sheila and I are working hard to get another series going for she and I to partner in. It has strayed from the spinoff formula. Right now we have many ideas we are working on. We are throwing all our balls up in the air and seeing what lands.
AK: With Little Mosque coming to an end, is there a final message which you have for fans of the series?
DM:I would first say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the fans, many of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years. And then I would say that they are lucky to see the show they loved have a proper and beautiful ending. Many times you find out your show has been cancelled between seasons and you never have that joy of finishing, really finishing. I have many TV shows in my life that have meant so much to me. And to those who have loved Mosque, I say you will love this final season.
AK: With both Little Mosque and your recent series on Showcase,Single White Spenny having concluded, are there any other projects which you have been involved in?
DM:Yes, my writing partner, my husband and myself are developing something and working hard at that. Right now my husband and I are together shooting Stephen Leacock’s “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town” and it is just a charming project filled with the Who’s Who of Canadian Comedy world.
Thanks so much for allowing me to say a farewell in this article. I will miss my Mosque. Already do.