Some people driving by the Langley Seniors Centre in the beginning of October may have done a double-take when they saw what appeared to be ballot boxes for an American election, complete with the Stars and Stripes, and a new sign suggesting the facility had become a retirement home.
A quick look to the right of the main entrance would have revealed the reason, with piles of television production equipment and crew members at work.
It was one of two television productions to rent the centre since the coronovirus pandemic forced a shutdown of most programs at the seniors centre located at 20605 51B Ave. in Langley City.
The two shows couldn’t have been more different, with one telling the story of a small group of people desperately trying to survive the beginning of a zombie outbreak, while the other focused on a doctor making an important life choice.
Day of the Dead” is a 10-episode series commissioned by the SyFy channel.
Inspired by the George A. Romero zombie movie, the series tells the story of six strangers trying to survive the first 24 hours of an undead invasion.
It is described as an ode to Romero’s famous flesh-eaters “that reminds us that sometimes all it takes to bring people together is a horde of hungry zombies trying to rip them apart” as an article in Variety put it.
“The Christmas Doctor,” which is set to premier on the Hallmark channel in November, stars Holly Robinson Peete and Adrian Holmes.
The production log line sums up the plot as “a doctor must decide between a job far from home and the revelations of a mysterious man from her past.”
Centre executive director Paul Goldberg said while seniors at the Langley centre would normally have some reservations about filming because they are in a high-risk group, “the movie companies that came in were being quite careful as we watched the significant COVID protocols being implemented by the crew.”
Goldberg issued a public thank-you to the production companies, saying the additional revenue brought in by the filming “will help replace lost income from a lack of recreational programs, catering business and general donations to the centre.”
After months of shutdowns due to the pandemic, the B.C. film and television production industry has resumed under “phase three” safety protocols that include a mandatory 14-day quarantine for any U.S. actors brought in to perform.