Showrunner and executive producer Adam Pettle on his new series
Pettle is a writer and executive producer for ‘Saving Hope’
“I broke a few math tutors along the way,” says Adam Pettle of his time at Leaside High School. The showrunner behind hit Canadian series Saving Hope admits he wasn’t a star student but was heavily involved in extracurriculars.
“I played a lot of sports in high school. I was pretty jock-y, but I also did a lot of plays,” he says.
Though Pettle knew he wanted to be involved in the arts, he was unsure in what capacity. After graduating, he decided to pursue acting, as his older brother Jordan (now a popular actor) had, and attended Dalhousie University’s drama program. Two years into his degree, Pettle was diagnosed with cancer and forced to put his studies on hold to undergo treatment. It was during this period that he began to write profusely.
But this was not Pettle’s first foray into writing. In high school, he had participated in the Sears Drama Festival, submitting a play about a group of superheroes in an old age home.
“They were super senior citizen superheroes,” he says
Drawing on a youthful passion during this painful time, Pettle wrote to cope with what he was experiencing.
“I was writing a ton, when I was in treatment,” he says, “journaling about what I was going through.” The result was his first play, Therac 25. Named after the radiation machine used throughout his cancer treatment, this semi- autobiographical work was successfully staged at SummerWorks Performance Festival.
After finishing treatment and with his love of writing rekindled, Pettle attended the National Theatre School in Montreal to study playwriting. During his time there, he worked on a new piece called Zadie’s Shoes, which was staged after his graduation to great acclaim. Soon after, he began to dip his toes into the world of television writing.
“Playwriting was my first love, and what I knew, but I really think that playwriting is a young man or woman’s game,” he says.
Pettle set off to conquer the TV world, working as a junior story editor on Rookie Blue.
Since then, he’s moved on to become the writer and executive producer of Saving Hope, a popular supernatural medical drama. With its final season now airing, Pettle is already working on an exciting new project: he’s currently developing the North American version of the hit British detective series Scott & Bailey.
In keeping with its U.K. progenitor, this police procedural will feature all-female leads.
“It’s seen through the female lens, which is incredibly exciting,” he says. “It’s important to have shows that have a feminist point of view. Not that it’s going to be soapboxey. These women are deeply flawed as well,” he says.
With so many decisions to be made before the show begins shooting this month, Pettle will have much to do.