About the Post

Author Information

Janna is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. Born and raised in a small Ontario town, she made her move to Toronto for university and immediately fell in love with the excitement and pace of the big city. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from York University, specializing in editing and screenwriting. She currently works as an assistant editor for a television production company. Janna loves stories told in all mediums, especially film, and takes herself to the movies as much as she possibly can. She can generally be found taking a Zumba class, exploring some of Toronto’s lesser-known gems, or relaxing with her fluffy feline roommate.

The Bomb Girls Are Back!

Throughout history, women have always been fighters. We’ve fought to be educated, to go to work, and for the right to vote. So when the fate of their show was announced last spring, the ladies of Bomb Girls didn’t take their series cancellation lying down.

They fought back.

Bomb Girls is a Canadian show about women working in munitions factories in Toronto during World War II. With many of Canada’s men off to fight the Nazis, these women answered the call to help with the war effort by building bombs to be sent overseas. Beginning in 1941, the show tells the stories of four of these female factory workers and the others in their lives. Audiences get to experience the war through these women’s eyes as they deal with loss, love, and learning to value themselves in a society not quite ready to see them out of the kitchens.

Credit Muse Entertainment

On the afternoon of April 22nd, 2013, I posted an in-depth review about the show’s compelling storytelling and the diverse, relatable way its female characters were written. I’m passionate about the show, and I wanted to introduce it to as many people as I possibly could and encourage them to watch. However, on the evening of April 22nd, 2013, Bomb Girls was cancelled.

A cancellation at the end of a season tends to leave storylines unresolved, doing a great disservice to the characters and the show as a whole. Not only did the cancellation hurt the show’s stories, but it left behind a devastated fanbase. Bomb Girls has fans all over the world that relate to these characters and want to see their stories unfold. In the year since its cancellation, the fanbase has only gotten larger as deals with Netflix and television channels in Europe have expanded its viewership. Now, a year later, the call for Bomb Girls has gotten even stronger.

Thankfully, fans of Bomb Girls soon discovered that they weren’t totally out of luck. As soon as the show was cancelled, fans were up in arms asking for the show to be saved. Not long after, the network and creative team behind Bomb Girls made an exciting announcement: they were putting together a TV movie to wrap up the show’s loose ends.

“The cast knew the movie was happening before it was announced to the press,” Ali Liebert says. Liebert plays the headstrong, independent Betty McRae, who took the rap for the murder of her best friend’s father at the end of Bomb Girls’ second season.

Jodi Balfour plays Gladys Witham, a sheltered, privileged girl taking control of her own life by signing up to work the floor of the munitions factory. She agrees with Liebert. “We knew about the intention of a movie right away when Global cancelled the show. The cancellation was bittersweet, of course, but I was very grateful to know we would have an opportunity to get some closure – both for ourselves and for our fans.”

Credit Muse Entertainment

“To be completely honest, I was nervous the movie might not be made!” Charlotte Hegele tells me. Hegele plays Kate Andrews, the daughter of a preacher who runs away to escape her family’s controlling ways and start a new life on her own. “It wasn’t until I was on set, in my costume, and our director Jerry Ciccoritti yelled “Action!” that it finally felt real. And I’m so happy we got to come back one more time. It was a phenomenal experience.”

The fans are glad too. Ever since Bomb Girls announced its cancellation a year ago, fans have rallied together to show their support and love for the show. Between sending one thousand Victory Bandanas to the Global TV offices, filling out online petitions, and writing thousands of V-Mail messages praising the show, the Save Bomb Girls campaign has been out in full force ever since. The support online from fans has been vocal, and the cast and crew noticed right away.

“The fact that Bomb Girls fans have responded so strongly to these characters is both overwhelming and inspiring,” says Hegele. “I’ve only ever wanted to be honest with my work and create a performance that resonates with viewers.”

“The fans seem very excited [about the upcoming movie],” Balfour says. “They’re mostly still rather up in arms about the show being over, but I think that everyone who loved the show will enjoy the movie.”

“I’m very active on Twitter, so I’ve loved witnessing and participating in the lead-up to the movie online. The #McAndrews and #McWitham fans are out in full force!” Liebert exclaims. She’s right – Twitter is abuzz with speculation, excitement, and enthusiasm for the movie’s Thursday night Canadian premiere. “I can’t wait for the fans to see the movie, and look forward to hearing their thoughts.”

Credit Muse Entertainment

The new movie, Bomb Girls: Facing The Enemy, takes place a year after the finale of the show’s second season. Set in early 1943 as soldiers fight bravely overseas, the workers at Victory Munitions are tasked not only with building bombs, but also new secret sonar equipment. “Bomb girl” Gladys Witham has been recruited by Allied Intelligence, and she must return to the factory to sniff out the traitors suspected of lurking in their midst – all while lying to, and spying on, her best friends. We’re promised more than one surprise and plot twist during Facing The Enemy, along with the introduction of several new characters. Things are shaping up to be very thrilling, indeed, and the cast and crew are just as excited to see the finished product as the fans are.

Though everyone is excited now, there were months of long days and hard work leading up to this moment. Everyone on the cast and crew worked hard to put together something they’d be proud to show their fans. While a year may sound like a long time, there are many different steps of filmmaking that have to take place in that year – everything from writing to shooting to post-production – and that brought on a whole new challenge: time management.

When I ask Balfour about filming Bomb Girls: Facing The Enemy, it’s the first thing she mentions. “Time. We didn’t have much of it! That was the real challenge.” But she says it felt absolutely wonderful to be back on set in her 1940s-style costumes again.

Liebert agrees. “The instant I put on Betty’s clothes, her swagger comes to life – and I feel incredible when I’m wearing them. The costume designer for this film, Michael Ground, did an incredible job. He truly understood Betty.”

Credit Muse Entertainment

From what Liebert tells me, we’re going to get to see a whole new side of Betty – a tougher physical side to match her bold, brave personality!

“I did five weeks of pretty intense boxing training leading up to the filming of the movie,” she says. “Whenever I felt like I just couldn’t do another training session, I would think of Betty, and that I had to be fair to her. The discipline of boxing training actually informed the non-boxing scenes in the movie, which was unexpected.”

Doing something so physical brought on a whole new dynamic to Liebert’s work on Facing The Enemy. “When I arrived in Toronto, we had several boxing sessions with a few different coaches. We had one man who literally tried to get the other actress (the fabulous Joanna Swan) and I to punch each other in the face! I was all, ‘Uh… we just need to look like we’re hitting each other.’ I think he was trying to toughen us up, but I set him straight.”

With something so new for Betty, one can’t help but wonder what this means for her character when we see her again in Facing The Enemy. At the end of Season 2 of Bomb Girls, Betty makes a huge sacrifice: she takes the rap for the accidental death of Kate’s father. It’s a huge, life-changing moment for Betty, and fans are dying to know what comes next for her. Liebert doesn’t want to give too much away, but she does give us some idea. “Betty has been living in an even more isolated existence since we last saw her,” she says. “As always, Betty is searching for safety and a home.”

Credit Muse Entertainment

Kate, too, is wrapped up in Betty’s confession, and between that and her impending nuptials to her fiancé Ivan Buchinsky (Michael Seater), there just has to be a lot on her plate. “At the end of the second season, Kate is left with the guilt that Betty took the rap for her father’s murder. I always personally empathized with Kate’s frustration. She wanted to do the right thing and turn herself in, but instead she had to watch her best friend confess to the crime,” Hegele says. “Facing The Enemy takes place a year after that, so there’s been a lot of time to grow and reflect. I feel like she’s found her footing and she’s a lot more grounded.”

Bomb Girls has been one of Hegele’s most notable roles to date, and she cherishes being able to spend three years portraying Kate Andrews. “I like Kate’s awkwardness. I like the moments when her naivety is adorable and also painful to watch. I’ve always loved her spirit and how she’s a survivor, ready to reinvent herself and survive. She makes so many mistakes, and honestly, so do I! I love that we both sing and are both entertainers. Singing on Bomb Girls was such a unique experience; one I’ll always remember.”

But sentimental moments aren’t the only thing Hegele will take away from her time working on Bomb Girls! “Everyone on set had a really great sense of humour!” she says. “This one time, I asked Michael Seater to take a picture with me… and during the photo, he gave me a wet willy! It was pretty gross. Hilarious, but gross.”

A large storyline left hanging after the second season is Gladys’ – she’s recruited by Allied Intelligence to seek out traitors and spies. It’s quite the change for the privileged and fiery woman we’ve all come to love, and Balfour says that we’ll be seeing a whole new side of Gladys once Facing The Enemy premieres. “Gladys has had to grow up a lot. There’s no more room for playtime,” she says. “She is in a very different, very new phase of her life. As usual, she has a real sense of purpose, but the stakes are higher and she’s far more alone than ever before.”

Credit Muse Entertainment

It’s exciting to speculate on what might happen to our favourite Bomb Girls – the internet is swirling with theories. Even Hegele can’t resist teasing us a little bit. “Not everyone stays on the Blue Shift,” she hints. “That’s all I’ll say!”

Bomb Girls: Facing The Enemy has certainly been a labour of love for its creators, cast and crew. It’s building on the roots of a show unlike any other out there, and paints Toronto, women and the Second World War in a very unique light. With the premiere only hours away, everyone behind the TV movie is excited to see how it’s received.

“I’ve seen a few [finished] scenes when I did ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording), and they were very intense,” Hegele tells me. “They look wonderful! Everyone brought their A-game.”

“Our wonderful director, Jerry Ciccoritti, has created something really exciting,” Liebert agrees.

As thrilling as it is to have the beloved characters of Bomb Girls back on television once more, fans can’t help but feel a sense of loss and sadness – the anticipation of the film is drawing to a close, and the future of Bomb Girls from here on out is uncertain. For all anyone knows right now, this could very well be the end. And saying goodbye has been a little bit different for everyone.

“It’s been like a break-up,” Liebert says. “Hard in the beginning, but easier as time goes on. The great thing about Bomb Girls is that it can live on – fans can soon watch the first two seasons and the movie as often as they like.”

Credit Muse Entertainment

Balfour takes much of the same approach as Liebert when it comes to leaving these characters behind. “I try to spin it all into gratitude. It’s been one of the greatest gifts of my life: the show, the people I’ve gotten to work with, spend time with and collaborate with, and the stories we have been able to tell.”

However, all hope isn’t completely lost – Hegele herself says she can’t help but hold out a little bit for more. “I don’t know if I ever did [say goodbye to Bomb Girls]. Part of me hopes we’ll come back,” she admits. “The cast and crew became a bit of a family. Knowing that I wouldn’t be seeing them again, all together like that, was the hardest thing.”

Even show runner Adrienne Mitchell is hoping to extend the life of Bomb Girls in any possible way. In a recent interview with TV Guide Canada, she mentions the hope that Global will be interested in creating two more movies – one for 1944, and one for 1945, to mark the end of the war. However, if the broadcaster decides to drop the rights, Mitchell has no qualms about pursuing other avenues like Netflix to allow Bomb Girls to live on.

“We’ll approach them; we’re going to do everything we can,” Mitchell promises.

But fans have to wonder: if Bomb Girls does live on, will the cast come back?

Hegele has no doubt about it. “I’d be there in a heartbeat,” she says. “Adrienne knows that. She doesn’t even have to ask!”

Credit Muse Entertainment

Liebert feels the same way. “I would play Betty McRae for the rest of my life,” she tells me. And it’s that kind of devotion, that kind of passion that attracts fans and makes Bomb Girls stand out – the cast and crew are passionate about the characters they’ve created, and that passion comes through in every scene of the show. It’s rare to see such a wide range of female characters that audiences can relate to and identify with. It’s something special, and those working behind the scenes feel it just as much as their fans do.

“Having a show that features not one, but several dynamic, layered women is the true strength of Bomb Girls,” Liebert says.

Balfour agrees. “The women Bomb Girls portrays are brilliant. All of them are so diverse, three-dimensional and interesting. I think as actresses we’re very aware of how rare that is. I feel lucky to have played Gladys for three years now.”

As beloved as these characters are by fans and cast alike, all good things must come to an end. If this is indeed the end of Bomb Girls as we know it, fans can take solace in the fact that they won’t need to look far to find these talented actresses involved in a myriad of exciting projects.

“The exciting part of this business is that you’re always moving forward to something new. I’ve heard everyone has been busy with new projects!” Hegele says. Hegele herself is on a new Hallmark Original series called What Calls The Heart, a period drama set in 1910 in a small prairie town called Coal Valley.

Credit Muse Entertainment

“It was so much fun to work on – I got to ride horses and wear corsets!” she says excitedly. “The storylines are a mix of action and romance. It’s a perfect show for families.”

Balfour too has been busy – she was recently a part of the CBC mini-series The Best Laid Plans, which just finished airing in Canada, and will be embarking upon the festival circuit this year in a film about Eadweard Muybridge.

“It’s currently being called the Untitled Eadweard Muybridge Project, but that will soon change, no doubt!” she says.

Yet Balfour isn’t ready to cut loose from all her Bomb Girls ties. She’s also a cast member of the film Afterparty, produced by Ali Liebert herself! Afterparty is the flagship feature film of Liebert’s production company Sociable Films, and it’s been incredibly well-received at both the Canadian Film Festival in Toronto and the Whistler Film Festival back in December. The film is directed by Michelle Ouellet and stars Nicholas Carella, Erica Carroll, Peter Benson, as well as Jodi Balfour and Ali Liebert herself.

“Right now, my production company is my focus,” Liebert reveals.

No one can truly say what’s going to happen to the future of Bomb Girls, though this show, with its relatable characters and compelling storylines, was given two excellent seasons and the chance to tie up loose ends with a TV movie. Not every show has been so lucky. Whether Bomb Girls lives on or takes its final bow tonight on Global remains to be seen. But for now, fans get to return to Victory Munitions one more time to revisit the stories of their favourite “bomb girls” – and that’s something every fan is grateful for.

Bomb Girls: Facing The Enemy airs Thursday, March 27th at 8pm ET on Global TV in Canada. It will air on Reelz Channel in the United States on Monday, May 26th at 9pm ET.

Charlotte Hegele’s new show, What Calls The Heart, airs in the US on The Hallmark Channel Saturdays at 9/8c and will air in Canada on The Super Channel later this spring.

Visit Sociable Films’ official website for updates on Ali Liebert and Jodi Balfour’s film Afterparty.

You can follow Jodi Balfour (@JodiAnneBalfour), Ali Liebert (@AliLiebert), Charlotte Hegele (@CharlotteHegele), as well as Bomb Girls (@BombGirls) on Twitter. To join the Save Bomb Girls campaign, follow them on Twitter (@SaveBombGirls) or visit them at their campaign website.

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One Comment on “The Bomb Girls Are Back!”

  1. Lis August 6, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

    I loved this show until Rosie O’DONNELL showed up in it, I couldn’t finish watching it knowing she is a disease to America..
    Thank you for all the shows leading up to season 2 episode 9, unfortunately I couldn’t force myself to watch anymore..sad really, because this show made my heart proud.

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