Jesse Stirling’s Meetings with Remarkable People celebrates a milestone
Jesse Stirling jokes that his show some shorten to MWRP has a somewhat challenging name to remember.
“I say congratulations for getting the name right whenever anybody does achieve that. It’s the hardest name to remember in the world. People I went to high school with come up to me and say, ‘you do that show, you know, conversations with interesting folks. I love it.’ Hardly anyone ever gets it right,” he opens with a good-natured chuckle.
‘still going strong’
The show, Jesse Stirling’s Meetings With Remarkable People has interesting roots. Based on a book called Meetings with Remarkable Men by a philosopher named Gurdjieff, the show is actually a Geoff Stirling original.
“My grandfather loved that book, so we just updated the title, made it more politically correct. But he actually came up with the concept after having a vision, and that was 19 years ago. I love that the show was something he envisioned and now, here it is, still going strong.”
Hearing Stirling tell the tale is pure ‘Geoff’ gold.
“My grandfather basically walked by my desk one day and said, ‘you’re gonna do a show every week. It’s called Meetings with Remarkable People.’ Believe it or not, that was 19 years ago. We are into the show’s 20th year.”
Stirling is proud to say he’s taped many amazing interviews over the years, and he’s thrilled to say that this year’s segments just might be some of his best.
“So many local Newfoundland personalities plus ones I filmed in Toronto or in India, that would bring the total up to 26, which I think is the most robust season I’ve ever done. Normally a new season is 13 or 19, and this year we just went really big.”
It’s quite an accomplishment. From powerful sit-downs with Carl English and Chief Misel Joe to eye-opening chats with NTV’s Eddie Sheerr and comedian John Sheehan, Stirling obviously has a gift, though he’s quick to pass the torch. We ask if there’s any interviews that stand out above the rest. He pauses for a moment in thought.
“I’m so proud of the strong women I’ve been blessed to interview. Sharon Snow and Toni-Marie and Lorraine Pope. Let’s just say the NTV staff’s been very kind to me,” he laughs.
Stirling moves on to another topic: hometown pride.
“I really was honoured to present this season because of its inclusiveness and because of its diversity. I really made the effort this season to have more than half of my guests female, to host many people who represented a visible minority. And I’m proud of that. It’s not just being politically correct. It’s doing something that’s right and it’s doing something that’s very timely.”
Stirling says he’s ‘‘so happy to see how Newfoundland has embraced inclusiveness and immigration.’’
He’s thrilled to demonstrate that on his show as well. “Saying I have a favourite episode is like naming your favourite children, but I had an hour and 20 minute talk with Hasan Hai that was unbelievable. He’s just such an inspirational guy and he’s got so much he’s dealt with his whole life. But the tides are turning and it feels like it’s this really exciting time to be in the province. So that’s one where I found it super hard just to edit it down to two parts.”
There’s another he mentions as well. “I’d like to give a shout out to Chief Misel Joe. For almost two decades I’ve been trying to land this interview and he’s a dear family friend, but the timing never worked out. And what a wise and inspirational leader and legend this province has in him. That was one I couldn’t wait for my viewers to see. I almost cried during the interview. Just some of the racism and some of the awful moments he’s had to deal with in his life.”
But Stirling “Remarkably” likes to focus on the positives.
“How it’s all changing and how times are advancing and how we’re headed in the right direction. And that feels really good to say as someone who loves this province.”
For more, catch Jesse Stirling on Meetings With Remarkable People on NTV each Sunday at 7:30AM & 11:30AM